Friday, September 21, 2012

A Journey

We've been on quite the journey with this little boy over the years, all though he'd probably be very put out to hear me calling him a little boy, but that's completely beside the point. Since the day Morgan could speak he's had a high ambition in life: to get a library card & read all the books in the library.

When we lived in America he wasn't permitted a card at our local library until he was 5. The highlight of his fifth birthday was getting his very first library card, & honestly when you're battling pink eye & the restaurant you've been dying to go to turns out to be as horrible as your parents warned you it would be, I suppose a library card really is an amazing thing.

It was the same year we started working on basic phonics & learning to read. It was a slow process from the start for him, because while he knew what each letter was on it's own & the sound they made putting them together in words was much harder for him. We really thought it was immaturity & just kept chugging along the best we could.

Throw in an international move two new reading curriculums & a couple of years & Morgan made some progress but was still not reading at grade level. For his second grade year we fully focused on reading to help him along. He now had basic three letter words reasonably under control, but throw a new word into the ranks & he struggled terribly with it. Slow & steady was starting to become slow & slower.

We played lots & lots of phonics games, sang lots & lots of songs, & plays games that encouraged blending skills. Something seemed to click for him & we climbed over our current hurdle & made reasonable progress until we got to long vowel sounds. Things came to a screeching halt again & while we eventually cleared that hurdle we seemed stuck after that.

There were a lot of tears on both sides of the line & at one point I told Mr S that I didn't really look forward to teaching the next one to read. In fact, I intentionally put Jayden off far longer then I would have normally due to the struggles I was having with Morgan. I ended up putting Jayden off so long that he was reading simple BOB books well before we'd had any official phonics lessons.  In the mean time Morgan was dutifully working his way through memorizing list after list of Dolch words which I hoped would help spur his reading along.

We noticed Morgan doing a lot of squinting one day & decided it might be time to get his eyes checked. Three appointments later we'd managed to turn up that something was going on but our Eye Dr had no idea what it was. Morgan was annoyed with the appointments, & we were frustrated that we weren't really helping him.

One day while reading about Vision Therapy I was on a website that had 3 second videos of what children might see happening on a page if Vision Therapy could be beneficial for them. One of the videos showed a sentence jump forward & backwards. Morgan happened to walk by while I was reading the website, pointed to the video & said, "Is that a video? That's what happens when I read." It was so matter of fact when he said it that I was completely taken aback!

I spent a few days doing more research & asking questions everywhere I could think to ask them. I was given so much information that I couldn't even fathom where to start. Several people suggested I start with an Irlens specialist because it would be the quickest to rule out. For me, it was also the only specialist in Tasmania on my list of people to seek help from. What a blessing!

We emailed the Dr & waited to see what would happen. A week later we heard back from her husband telling us that Dr F was in America & wouldn't be back until September. He'd have her get in touch with us then & if we'd like he could mail us some information. You have no idea how this house laughed at hearing that the one Dr we wanted to see was America!

It took a while, but we finally connected directly with the Dr & had an appointment to go see her this week. We had to make a "really, really, really, if this drive is any longer my legs might start running on the floor of this car Mom" kinda drive. The boys were absolute troopers, but the three and a half hour drive nearly did them in. Mind you, I think most of that was because they were really eager to view the city we were driving to.

Dr F is a wonderfully sweet Dr who helped Morgan feel at ease straight away. Before long they were chatting like old friends, & he was laughing about the things her grandsons {who happen to live in America} did while she was visiting, & he was telling her what he hopes to do when he grows up. They got down to business fairly quickly which normally involves a lot of questions being asked & reports being read.

Morgan was blessed that his mother is also his teacher because I could give a first hand report of when & where things started going awry for him. I could tell her what studies he excels at & which ones he struggles with. When his reading is best & when it's not. You're getting the point now right? We'd also sent in a completed questionare beforehand so that helped speed a few things up too, which is good because showing up early we still went over our allotted time!

Morgan tried out using something called overlays which are simply colored bits of plastic that you lay on a page to see how the colors help make things clear for your eyes. He whittled down the pile really quickly & then moved on to trying out colored lenses. While they say colored the lenses are actually only tinted so when you read the print & page are not actually green, all though there may be a green tint to them.

It was a much slower process for the colored lenses as he had 48 different shades to work though. He was completely worn out by the time we had it narrowed down to a reasonable amount of colors & his eyes were very tired. Dr F gave Morgan a nifty pair of dark green tinted glasses to wear to get use to how his own glasses will work for him. His tint will be different then the tint he's using as his colors seem to be a combination of colors, but what he's borrowed has all ready made a huge difference.

We'd popped into a library before our appointment & Morgan was well stocked with books. When we got to our cabin for the evening & he pulled out the robot {above picture} to make I quietly said, "If you are working on anything that requires reading don't forget you have the classes Dr F let you borrow." He put them on, but only for a short time. It wasn't until he was reading his library books & things started to blur & jump around on him that he grabbed the glasses. I was all read in bed at this point, but heard him exclaim to his little brother, "WOW! I knew these glasses would work because I didn't think Dr F would lie to me about it, but I had no idea they'd work this quickly!"

1 comment:

Butterfly said...

That's absolutely BRILLIANT!!