Tuesday, October 29, 2013

learning sight words

We have had really great success with using these sight word cards called SnapWords. 

(SnapWord cards on the left, homemade on the right.)  :)

Each card has a picture on the front with the word embedded into it.  On the back, there is a motion and a little story to tell along with the word as well as the word written in print only. 

When he is working with the cards, I will often just have to start the motion and he can say the word.  Other times, he tells the story aloud to himself and then can remember the word. 

Many of the words, he can read without the picture at this point.  This is the most he's ever been able to do.  Now we are working on transferring this sight word knowledge to when he's reading a book. 

This part of our homework time is easy - Ben is moving and talking and it works.  :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

so we are not giving up {guest post}

Jeannett at Life Rearranged has a wonderful blog and a beautiful family. 

I found her blog when Ben was really sick and I am always so encouraged by her authenticity.

The truth behind this statement was so profound.  I first read it when we didn't have Ben's seizures under control.  Some days I had to remind myself that God's goodness didn't depend on Ben's seizure control.  God is good - always - even when I can't understand my situation.

Jeannett asked me to write a guest post about our experience with epilepsy.  Her daughter, Jilly is struggling to beat epilepsy.  Click over to Life Rearranged and see how you can help #teamjilly

Monday, October 14, 2013

So long, depakote!

So long, Depakote!
Ben has been on Depakote since September 2011.
Wow, that seems so long ago!
Now that this med is gone, it means that Ben has finally returned to where we were in the spring of 2011.  We only have to use one medication to control his seizures.  In a few weeks, we will go back for more blood work.  We will visit the neuro in January sometime.  I'm thrilled for his progress! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

21 months!

21 months
without seizure activity feels like a miracle - because that's what it is. 

Have you ever met Jeannett over at Life Rearranged?  She does a beautiful job raising awareness about a lot of different topics.  Her current series is about epilepsy!  Her sweet little one, Jilly has epilepsy.  This month she is hosting a fundraiser and you can be involved.  Click here to find how you can support #teamjilly.  There are only a few days left so be sure to check it out soon!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

help with handwriting

Writing and drawing are challenging for Ben.  This is one area that I think was directly affected by Doose.  When he was three, he was in preschool and was writing and drawing appropriately.  He was having occasional seizures at that time, but the worst had not yet happened.  It's as if his development in this area just stopped altogether. 

So here are a few things that we are doing to help in this area.  For starters, he has qualified for occupational therapy at school.  I'm very thankful for this intervention and we know that it will make a difference.

At home, we have started using PenAgain's Twist and Write pencils.  We love these pencils!  They are also available at amazon.  This pencil does not address the bigger issue Ben has with hand eye coordination when writing.  (I'm sure there isn't a pencil in the world that could do that.)  But it does eliminate the confusion in regards to grip.  It's also small enough that his hand doesn't get tired from holding the longer pencil.  There are two built in erasers on the handles so it works just perfectly for him.

We also are using a handwriting program called Handwriting Without Tears.  I can't say enough good things about this company's approach.  They use large muscle movements with 'sky writing'.  There is a music component as well that really helps the kids connect their learning.  I also love the 'verbal path' - we use the same language every time when writing a letter.  (For example, when making the letter E, I will say, "big line.  frog jump. little line.  little line.  little line.")  This will help when he's trying to recall which letter to write.  If I begin to say the verbal path, the hope is that his brain and hand will work together to correctly form the letters.  The pages in the workbooks look very simple and almost boring, but they are perfect for kids who struggle with visual stimulation.  I could go on and on about this program.  I use it in my classroom and have seen great results with it there as well.

One last tip I have for working on letter formation is an app called Letter School.  This app is definitely worth the small price for your mobile device.  It's a favorite around here for sure!  In the settings, you can even choose HWT as the model so it works perfectly as a reinforcement. 

The bigger issue is getting his hand to do what his mind wants him to do.  I'm still looking for more ideas and would love to hear suggestions in the comments section.