An off topic quicky!

Please go and support Clusterfook!  She is now in hospice care, and is still amazing me!

Published in: on 02/02/2009 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Assistive Technology-Yeah or Nay?

I keep going back and forth about giving Amy the use of assistive technology.
The cons: She may get too used to depending on it, and not progress in her skills for reading/spelling; Many types that are recommended to us are expensive, and we would have to buy not only the technology, but a laptop just for Amy (who is now 10); the school doesn’t want her to become dependent on technology

Pros: it would give Amy a way to write without being hindered by her spelling; there is a way for her to read along, while listening to the words, so that she can not only comprehend what she is reading, but also reinforce reading fluency; it will enable her to tackle more challenging reading material as she gets older; it will take away that “wall” that she faces while doing schoolwork (poor reading comprehension, difficulty spelling, reading fluency etc).

To me, the pro’s totally outweight the cons. We are still waiting for the IT guys at school to install the one program that her teachers were able to get approved for her to use. (it is called Co-Writer). I don’t have any experience or knowledge about it, but, am still anxiously awaiting for her to be able to use it, and see how it helps. If it does, I may get it for home use.

I still want her to experience the traditional way of reading/writing, and feel it is neccessary, in order for her to continue to progress. But, there are times, when her productivity could be improved, if she didn’t have to struggle with the reading/writing.

All in all, I do think that eventually, we will have to really depend on technology, to get through high school and college. She will benefit from the technology in a much more positive way, and make learning much easier and more fun for her.

Published in: on 02/02/2009 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy New Year! Conflicts, still arise…but, it is better…

A year ago, tomorrow, the school psychologist, decided that she could test my 3rd grader.  Yep, the day the kids came back from winter break, and just one day after new years. 

We stay up until midnight, on New Year’s eve.  My kid was tired on Jan 2, in school.   Her psych test didn’t go well, because of it, and I totally disputed many of the “observations” in the report. 

Luckily, the educational consultant had tested her earlier, in December, and had a complete, actual and accurate picture of my daughter.

BUT, the final answer wasn’t there…they just diagnosed her with a specific learning disability.  For years, I had suspected that she was dyslexic. 

Finally, in February, after taking her to an outside of the school source, she was tested, and accurately diagnosed with moderate to severe dyslexia.  I am not a parent who wants to lable my kids, but, to me, that diagnosis, was concrete evidence of how we are to attack her education, FOREVER.  Her way of learning, reading and understanding are totally different.  Her needs are so different from her peers.  Her consistency in school is poor.

She is finding school easier.  But, unfortunately, her grades cannot show that. 
Since she is a full year behind in reading level, she must be graded, accordingly, so, she gets a 2 out of 4, meaning, does not meet grade level expectations.  Even though she tries.  Do you remember how excited you were, when you came home with a report card, and your grades were good.  Imagine, coming home, failing reading and math…because your reading comprehension holds you back.  And, despite all your efforts, all the extra help from your teachers, and your parents, you are still failing, and your grades don’t do your total intelligence justice.  Would you willingly and happily hand your parent that report card? 

Amy, handed me her report card, very reluctantly, a few weeks ago.  She knew that the grades were not good.  She felt horrible.  This is the first time, that she actually got it, got how the grades are reflective of her performance (but, not of her knowledge).  How she was so disappointed.  She probably works harder than 99% of her her peers, for what?  To FAIL…because, at our school, no matter what your IEP says, you are still graded according to STANDARDS…to children who can learn EASILY, who do not have a learning disability. 

We are only in 4th grade.  Next year, she is going to be changing classes more often.  How can I cocoon her, into a safe learning envirionment, if she has different teachers, who cannot get to know her as well as her current teachers.  What is going to happen in Junior and Senior High? 

I am going to research colleges, starting now.  Find those that open their arms, and their knowledge to students who have dyslexia.  Those that understand that these students are very bright, and can learn in thier own special ways. 

Why do I have to go through this, as a parent?  Learning was always easy for me.  It just isn’t fair, is it?  Why should my almost 10 year old, have to learn these life lessons, so young.  Remember how hard it is to be different in some way from your peers, especially in 4th grade?  and 5th grade? and junior and senior high school? 

My hands are tied.  She will never be on reading level, and will never get a grade reflective of the true learning that she has demonstrated.  Why can’t the stupid school test her against herself?  It is totally irresponsible of them to bring a students grades down, just so that they can compare them to the NORMAL student…the one who has been reading fluently since kindergarten…the one who knew their alphabet in preschool.  the one who was able to get their addition/subtraction/multiplication facts down pat on the first try- not the 100th or millionth.  I wish we had an alternative for her, that we could send her to, now.  The closest school is 2 hours away, and I cannot send her there to room and board.  She is my child, who needs her parents, daily, not on weekend visitations. 

Meanwhile, her sister who is in kindergarten, is reading way above and beyond where Amy started in First grade…

How can I be so happy for my kindergartner, who can read, easily, when, my fourth grader, who finally can read independently (just in the past year) continues to struggle daily, with her reading.  How can I be happy for my kindergartner, who can write as well as my 4th grader wrote (as in spelling phonemically) in the 3rd grade?  

I ask these questions daily of both my K- and 4th graders teachers.  Who are both wonderful resources.  The kindergarten teacher, has the very same struggles with her one child, who is also struggling with reading…and Amy’s special ed teacher sees both my girls on a regular basis outside of school, and knows (I think) how upsetting this is to me, as a parent. 

When my kindergartner brought home her perfect report card, I couldn’t be excited around Amy…I don’t want her to feel badly.  She did bring home a wonderful, for her, report card.  Her grades for effort, and all the little sub sections in math and reading, were very good.  It is just that final, total grade…Ugh!

I think that I am going to start out the new year, for Amy, by requesting that the school counselor (who has always had her back) talk to her, and see how she really is doing, social emotionally.  She may hide her feelings, from us, to protect us.  Maybe if someone, who is there for HER and her feelings, someone to talk to, to get throught the rough patches, can help her build her confidence…then, maybe she will not give up fighting this struggle, this battle she has been handed. 

I also plan on setting up a team meeting, to discuss her IEP, and the classroom accomodations, that I don’t think are working as well as they could.  I want her to have more one on one time in reading and math and spelling.  That is how she learns…she is a poor group learner. 

I am starting 2009 fighting, just as I started out 2008.  I hope that one New Years, I can wake up, and be at peace with my daughters education.  That I can send her to school, and know that she is comfortable, and learning and not struggling.  And, that I don’t look like super b**** when I walk into that child study team office.  I am not happy with her education, right now.  I don’t think her IEP is supporting her.  I love her teachers, but, they can only do so much.  I want her to have more one on one….I want her to get more help… I want her to succeed…

Published in: on 01/02/2009 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  

Two months into the school year! Aka, sorry I have been absent!

So,  Amy has spent the past 3 months in the team teaching classroom, and this is by far the best start to the school year that she has had.  There are several reasons why:

1.  Amy is finally getting the support that she needs for reading.  This includes:  one on one help with spelling, daily, for 10 minutes; the availability of a special education teacher all day, since the teacher is in the classroom, with the general ed teacher; utilization of the provisions in her IEP (such as, allowing her to only be responsible for the spelling words of the week, and not ones from past weeks).  So, if she is in social studies, and needs help reading or writing, the special education teacher is there, to help.

2.  She moved up an entire reading level, after spending six weeks in Extended School Year this summer.

3.  It was the first time that she started a school year, with the appropriate help, and an IEP.

4.  She has 2 fantastic teachers! 

It is like a weight  has been lifted from my shoulders.  I know that Amy is succeeding.  She just brought home 3 tests from last week,  and all were 4/4 or higher (4/4 is the best, you can get a 4+ for a completely perfect paper).  Amy had a 4+ on her (drumroll please!) SPELLING DICTATION  test!!!  NO mistakes!!!  She also had a 4 on a very long math test, and a social studies test!!!!!  I am so super proud of her! 

This is the first year, where she is able to read more on her own, too.  I think that is also making a huge difference.  She comes home and tells me word for word what she had learned that day in science or social studies.  She is so bright, and I am so happy that it is finally showing in her grades.  Like her teacher says, if she never had to write anything down, at all, you would never guess that she has a learning disability.

So, all is going well in school! 

I am so sorry if I have been absent, it has been crazy around here!  Then, I tried to post on election day of all days, and the site was super slow!  I need to come up with more to write about, but, today the creative juices are not flowing.

If you get a chance, send some condolences to Kandy had a really hard pregnancy, with really bad news about Ruby Mae, and Kandy, too.  She is on the mend, but, grieving for her loss, as we all are. 

And, if you have any questions, for me, regarding the school year, you might help jump start my creativity! 

Otherwise, you may have to listen to me post about all my scrap-booking adventures!!!! 

Until next time!




Published in: on 11/18/2008 at 12:18 am  Leave a Comment  

This year we get to experience “Team Teaching”

This school year, (which starts next week!!!), I will have all three children in the local public schools!!!  My 3, almost 4 year old son, is starting his second year of “preschool disabled” for his oral motor dyspraxia (layman terms, he has difficulty forming the words with his mouth).  My 5, almost 6 year old daughter, starts kindergarten!!!  And, Amy starts the fourth grade, at a new school, and in a new classroom setting for her.

Amy and the little dude, are both going to be in a Team Teaching classroom.  That means, that there is a general ed teacher and a special ed teacher in the class at all times, all day long!  (in little dude’s class, the teachers are actually both special ed, but, one will be considered gen ed).  Anyway, since we had Amy diagnosed earlier this year, she was pulled out of class during language literacy arts (or reading), for 44 minutes a day.  There was nothing bad about this, as she really progressed, during that one on one time, and was taught utilizing an Orton Gillingham based method of teaching reading.  She is now able to read first and second grade level books on her own.  So, when we sat down during her end of the year IEP meeting, I brought up if placing her in the Team Teaching class would be beneficial.  I felt it would be, since all the other parts of the school day require reading, and she isn’t a strong reader and struggles, and I thought, it would be perfect to have that person available to her all day long.  Well, I thought that the team (notice, I feel out of the team, as they never listen to my suggestions) threw that idea out, and suggested placing a special ed teacher in with her only during the 88 minutes of Language Literacy Arts, daily, and then allow her to muddle through the rest of the day.  Ok, this really didn’t make much sense to me, but, I was just happy that they were giving her services, and if a problem arose during the year, I could definitely fight for more assistance in the classroom.

Well, when the class lists came out last week, I immediately came home and pulled up the teachers web site.  All our teachers have an e-board.  Well, I noticed that there was also a welcome note from Amy’s special ed teacher from the end of 3rd grade, and started to put 2 and 2 together, and realized that she WAS placed in the team teaching class!!!  I know, that CST should have told me their decision, and I plan on calling them and also changing her case worker, as she is nasty and has poor communication skills with all the parents that I have spoken to, including me.  I spoke to this Special Ed teacher, and yes, I was so happy to find out that Amy will have access to special education ALL DAY LONG!!!!  She is one of 7 students that this teacher has, and I am thrilled!  I have been trying to get her into that Team Teaching class since first grade, after realizing her struggles in kindergarten, but, because she needed other assistance that wasn’t generally provided in that class, she was never placed in there, until this year.  So, I am really hoping for some wonderful improvements this year. 

AND THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR, SINCE KINDERGARTEN THAT AMY IS EXCITED TO GO TO SCHOOL!  Yes, she is almost 10, and is starting to worry more about what to wear, she wants her hair perfect, and cannot stop talking about going to school.  I am just so relieved that she is finally interested in the entire school thing, as she knows that she won’t be lost anymore, or very little. 

As for Little Dude, well, this is his “PRE K” year, and even though he is 2 years younger than his sister, he technically could go to kindy next year.  I don’t see him going to kindy, but, then again, it is at the same school he goes to now, and I can always have him do kindy 2x, right?  He will most definitely need speech for a couple more years anyway, so, why not?  And, him being in a TT class with up to 16 students only, is only going to prepare him more, and they know the curriculum, and what the kids need to know for kindy.  So, this is an exciting year for him, too!

My kindergartner was fortunate enough to get a very animated, energetic and loving teacher.  I have known her teacher for 5 years, and am absolutely thrilled that she is in this class.  She is reading some sight words, and knows her letters and their sounds and numbers.  She can count over 100 and is doing simple addition and subtraction.  I know that she will be challenged this year, and if there were a gifted and talented program in our school, she would probably be there.  But, I know that they use small group instruction for reading and this year, they are doing so for math, too, and she will be able to work at a faster pace if need be. 

So, Team Teaching and a new school year here we come!  I hope it is as successful as I am hoping it to be!

Published in: on 08/28/2008 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our summer library trips

I have been doing everything possible to encourage Amy to want to read, this summer.  She is finally able to read a beginner reading- maybe up to second grade level book.  She has been spending alot of time in the American Girl Doll section, and finds those books easy to read.  So, I thought, when I was in second grade, I inhaled the entire “Little House” series.  So, we got the first book, and it was too hard for her.

It is trial and error, finding something, that doesn’t look like a “baby” book, one that has chapters, and is “cool” enough for a soon to be 4th grader to read.  There are only so many AG Doll books.  I hope that her next teacher can help us find something.  We also tried the Hank Zipster series.  These are books written by Henry Winkler (aka “the Fonz”), and based on his reading struggles in school.  (he is dyslexic)  Too hard.  I thought that it would be something that she could relate to.  We do have books that I bought, and if we read them together, we can both help her through it.  They are “Lily and the Mixed Up Letters”, “Thank you Mr. Falker” and a book for kids, about a kid “It’s called Dyslexia”.  Yes, I want Amy to really understand that she has been given this gift, that she is smart, and that her brain is special.  I want her to know, that she will be able to read more easily, but, it is going to be a lot of work to get there.

It used to make me sad.  I was reading on my second day in kindergarten.  On my first day, I saw that 2 or 3 girls could already read, and I wanted to be able to read.  I went home, and told my mom, an elementary teacher, that I wanted to read just like those girls.  She sat down with me, and we opened up the infamous “Dick and Jane” books, and I was off and reading almost immediately.  I have to put some thanks out to Sesame Street- seriously, I am first generation Sesame Street, and I am proud to say, I am a mere 6 months older than that show!  I learned all my letters, their sounds and numbers and how to count watching Cookie, Bert, Ernie, Big Birt, Oscar and the gang.  We didn’t have Elmo, we had Mr. Hooper!  So, all tv isn’t bad!  But, I was upset, when my own daughter, couldn’t even understand the concept of letters and numbers, at the age of 5, while watching Sesame Street with me.  Even back then, I knew that this was a learning disability.

Our middle child, is entering Kindergarten this year.  She is doing fantastically, with her numbers, and letters, even adding 1 and 2 to numbers.  She can count way over 100.  (she is going to be bored stiff this year, this is all first grade work!)  She is even starting to read.  She will pick out certain words, in a sign or an ad and tell me that one word.  For example, and Ad can say:  Good Enough for you, but, made for your dog.  she will point out and say dog.  It just blows my mind, that she is doing this, and we really haven’t sat down, and worked on reading.  (she kind of refuses- but, I am not worried, she will be reading very soon)  She just knows!  She asks how to spell things, and writed them down.  I missed all of this with her sister.  We didn’t go through this seek and discover phase of learning.  It was always a struggle, a brick wall was always in our path.

When we get books out, my kindergartner to be, gets the same series as her sister, the AG Doll books, and will sit, and look at that one picture on the page, and then she pretends to read.  She really isn’t, but, she sits there and pretends to!  It is very cute!  I suspect that by December, she will be actually trying to read those words, and not just pretend. 

I know that you shouldn’t sit and compare one child to another.   I hope I am not really doing that, I hope that I am pointing out to the differences, that I have seen.  I am also super relieved, that I won’t have to fight the school to get special ed services for this one.  Though, we don’t have a gifted and talented program, I am hoping that the reading system that they use, will allow her to be challenged and learn at her pace, and not be slowed down by her peers.  I hope that she is challenged in Math, I do know that she will have to work on pace with her peers, there…I hope that her teachers realize her potential, and offer her chances to challenge herself, and not to be bored.  So, now, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum!  I will know by Friday of this week, whom they both have for school (the class lists come out that day).  I will then be able to contact her kindergarten teacher and ask her to challenge her. 

Amy’s summer special ed teacher, just told us on Thursday (her last day of summer school- oh, sorry ESY), that she took a position at another school.  She lives over 30 miles from our town, and I don’t blame her, with the travel time, and the cost of gas.  I was hoping she would be Amy’s teacher, as she knows her well, now.  I hope that they get someone in there, that is certified in the Linda MoodBell Lips program that Amy has been learning.  She is doing well with this method, and I don’t want to change things around, and she needs to have someone who is CERTIFIED teaching it.  So, I will be on top of that, as the new school year approaches, too.

Published in: on 08/16/2008 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

My summer enrichment, part 2

Ok, so, I have been slacking, and if I do have any faithful readers out there, I am so sorry!  This has truly been a crazy summer.  I have 2 kids in “ESY” or Extended School Year.  My 3 year old (almost 4 yo) son, gets on his bus at 7:35 am.  That is pretty darn early!  Five days a week, for 6 weeks!

Amy goes 3 days a week, for 45 minutes, from 8:15-9 am.  I am very lucky.  My husband drops her off on the way to work, and a neighbor (whose son is in her reading group) brings her home 2 days a week.  I pick her up, just once a week.  So, that works out. 

But, I am a creature of habit.  I feel like I waste my day, by not showering and getting dressed, so, I wake myself up at 6 am, to do so.  I will have about 2 1/2 weeks of reprieve (minus the one day a week that I work).  So, this is not a restfull summer!  And, when I do nap, my lovely 3 year old son pokes me, and tells me, “Mommy, WAKE UP!”  Darn kid!  And, I must say, that I have been known to stay up too late.  (hobbies, you know, scrapbooking and my new one, well, I only went once, Basketmaking- how sad is that?  I am trying to get started on playing golf, too)

Anyway, I digress, as I sit here, drinking coffee at 3 pm, as I am going to another class tonight, discussing Dyslexia, symptoms and solutions.  But, here is the rest of my first summer enrichment, and in a few weeks, we can go off topic and discuss Wine Appreciation, for beginners….(needed it to counteract the Orton Gillingham stuff)

The second part of the class continued to cover the different types of syllables in words.  There are 6 types.  And, apparently not all teacher education programs in colleges, even teach this to aspiring teachers.  They belong in this “CLOVER”.  Once you know the different types of syllables, you can pretty much help a dyslexic person, break down the word to read it, or to help them spell.  I am not going over all of these right now, but, if there is any interest, I can write about it.

(I asked our instructor, why the teachers don’t even learn about this in school, as it would seem appropriate for them to learn, in order to teach reading…she had no idea, as she never had it until after she became a teacher, and agreed that it was silly that it wasn’t taught in all programs)

We worked on syllabication, too.  How to break words apart into their syllables, and yes, there are many different patterns, that good readers can do with out difficulty.  So, then we learned how to teach this to our children/students.

Then, we got to watch a pretend “Texas Scottish Rite” OG based lesson.  And, it is systematic, and builds upon what was learned already, to what needs to be taught.  And, it really works. 

We also played some card games that our instructor brought.  They were so much fun!  Quibbler, and My Word.  I am going to definitley look for them. 

I am sorry that this is not as detailed as my last post, but, I did want to say, how great it was to really be able to learn how to carry over some techniques used in school, and gives me great strategies to use at home, to help Amy! 

If I learn anything exciting tonight, I will let you all know!

Published in: on 07/30/2008 at 7:15 pm  Comments (1)  

My summer enrichment

The english language, is very complex.  And, the teachers that must teach children, with learning disabilities how to read, really have their hands full! 

To better understand how to help my daughter, and to understand the “teacher speak”, I enrolled in a 2 day, 8 hour total course, that discusses the Orton-Gillingham approach, to teaching reading.  We started this past Saturday.  In the class, are 4 students.  Two are teachers, and two of us are parents.  The other parent, though, is also a teacher’s aide in a special education classroom.  So, I am the only Non teacher!  Our instructor is wonderful!  I know that she is a great teacher, because she is able to clearly explain all this information to us. 

I am learning so much.  There are things that I did know.  For example, the Orton-Gillingham method, has many different programs that utilize the methodology.  The methodology includes: visual stimulation; tactile means; kinesthetic (large body movements) means; and auditory means of teaching and learning.  We have been doing this since the first grade, when we first started with our tutor.  We also discussed that dyslexia involves not only difficulty “decoding” what is written on the paper, but, a person with dyslexia has difficulty processing words phonologically.  Or, according to Sally Shaywitz:  “Dyslexia is and unexpected inability to read.”

So, to help teach a child or even an adult with dyslexia, you utilize various sensory methods.   By doing this, you teach the child in various methods, so that you repeat what you are teaching, and so that the information is processed in various methods through the sensorineural system.  Everyone is stronger in learning by certain techniques (visual, auditory are the two big groupings used). 

Tactile:  There are special flashcards that you can buy, with the letters made out of a sandpaper feeling paper, then you can trace that letter with the child, and name it.  While they look at it, and when they close their eyes.  You can make your own flashcards- by writing on index cards with a dark marker (letters, or letter blends), poke through the back with a push pin.  Let the kids do this, it is fun!  Turn the card over, and you now have a tactile learning experience.  Other messy suggestions (and these are coming from my line of work, as and Early Interventionist)- writing in shaving cream in the tub/shower, finger writing in the sand or dirt or grass, writing and spelling in pudding, on the carpet, etc.  I am sure that there are many other suggestions out there, and feel free to share them!

Kinesthetic learning, is learning, by moving the body in large movements.  Did you know that large motor movement is the strongest learning modality?  I never really thought about this, and, I am the gross motor person (a Physical Therapist).  But, as I look back, our motor development, and the way our body develops those skills is the foundation for how we visualize our envirionment, then, how we learn to support our heads, and learn how to eat and speak.  We must first develop head and neck control, then, as we strengthen, we develop shoulder and upper body strength.  As this progresses, we are able to swipe for toys, then start to use finer motor movements to manipulate our toys.   As we work on our upper arm movements, we start to strengthen our trunks, and learn to sit up.  And, then our hips get stronger, and we push up onto hands and knees, then, we get up into tall kneeling, then we stand then we walk.  So, the ability for us to stand up and walk, is not the first thing that we must look at, we need to look at how strong the body is.  And, we experience learning, by moving our body in big body movements. 

So, off my PT stepstool!  How do we encourage kinesthetic learning?  Write large letters in the air.  Work on refining those letters.  Say the name as you write it.  Progress to syllables, then to whole words.  Have your child close their eyes, and say the word as they write it.  Don’t ask them to spell it, but, to write it and say it.  When we sit down with a book, we don’t spell the words in our heads, we actually say the word.  Makes sense, right? 

Orton-Gillingham programs, include many versions.  They are Orton-Gillingham based.  They all follow the basic teaching strategies set forth by Orton and Gillingham. 

These programs include:  Project Read; Wilson System; Lindamood; Reading Assist; Stevenson; Alphabetic Phonics; Language Tool Kit; Slingerland; and Texas Scottish Rite.  They are all multisensory reading teaching methods.  You can ask your school if they have a teacher/teachers who are certified to teach in any of these methods.  If your child has a diagnosis of dyslexia, you can have a recommendation from that diagnostician that your child be taught in a “multisensory” approach.  Then, the teacher can use any method that they are certified to use.  They are all structured.  You want your child to learn in a less challenging way, review what they have already learned, and expand upon that, then at the end, they learn something new. 

Hopefully, your child can start to become confident in their own abilities.  They can have a new set of “tools” to help them to learn.  And, they will want to learn!  I know that this is just an overview and I am not an expert by any means.  I want to learn how to help my child, so that together, we can open the doors to reading!

Keep an open line of communication with your childs’ teacher.  Ask them what method they are using.  See if they can sit down with you, and show you how they utilize it, and what it includes.  By understanding how your child is learning in school, you can help apply those same methods at home, to be consistent and to provide positive carryover of skills. 

And, you can join the International Dyslexia Association- the link is in my sidebar.  Each state has their own chapter.  There are meetings annually, and each chapter may have their own annual conventions.  It can provide you with the knowledge, and the ability to understand all that Teacher Speak.

Published in: on 07/22/2008 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Thank you, for The American Girl Doll Books!


 Kit Kittredge

Our plan this summer, is to go to our library, weekly, or almost every week.  All three kids, yes, there are 3 of them (9 year old Amy, 5 year old Anna, and 3 year old Andrew), have signed up for the summer reading program at the local library. 

Amy surprised me, by signing up to read 11 (eleven) books by the end of the summer.  I don’t think that is a plausible goal, but, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, and left her to her own goals.  So, for the past 10 days (we didn’t get a chance to go back this past week), she has been reading EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Amy found a series of books, that she can read, and that interest her.  She has decided to tackle the American Girl Doll series, this summer.  Of course, she had to start with Meet Kit Kittredge, because of the movie that just came out. 

She will read, and then, stop and tell me all about what she had read so far!  She is so excited about reading.  You do not know how big this is for us.  This is a child who has struggled so long, with reading, that, I had almost given up hope of her knowing that joy, when you open a book, and become absorped into that world in between the pages.  Knowing, that you should have turned the light out hours ago, but, you just want to read one more chapter, then, hours later, you only have a few to go, so, you want to finish the book, even though it is almost 3 am.  Finally, having that ability to be able to read those funny characters in that book, by herself, has opened up that door!

So, thank you, Kit, and your American Girl Doll friends!  I hope that we learn all about each of you!  I hope that Amy picks up the Little House on the Praire books, and gets to read all of them, and The Boxcar Children are more than welcome anytime.  Later, Nancy Drew, are you still around?  Maybe even one day, she can read the Harry Potter books that I totally devoured over the past winter.  And, Heidi, oh, I hope she can read all about you, too!

Reading is more than being able to get through school, it is a neccessary part of life.  And, it can be a wonderful recreational, relaxing activity.  I have so many wonderful memories, of all the books that I read as a child, and as an adult.  I can get lost in a book.  I hope that Amy will continue this wonderful new adventure!

Published in: on 07/06/2008 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

I am going off topic, today, for Lisa at Clusterfook

Update:  On this same day, I posted, Lisa was able to get an appointment at Sloan Kettering!  Yeah Lisa!!!!  I am so happy for her!  I hope that this is the beginning of many opportunities for her, to get the appropriate and neccessary care that she needs!


I have been reading Clusterfook for several months.  I started, when, another friends blog had a link to this auction, to help Lisa at Clusterfook be able to take her family to Disney.  You see, Lisa was recently diagnosed with cancer for the THIRD time in several years.  This most recent diagnosis, was on March 31, 2008.  She didn’t start chemo until a few weeks ago, and now has had 2 rounds.  BUT, what makes this entirely crazy, are the following:

1.  She has a rare cancer, with out a name, in her abdomen

2.  She is now fighting the insurance company.  Apparently, they closed her cancer case, on 4/18/2008, even before she got treatment for it.  Who wouldn’t love to say that was a fast cure?

3.  She had an appointment at Sloan Kettering, or so she thought.  They don’t accept her insurance, and the scheduler won’t even put her in for an appointment, after the oncology department had already tried to get her in.  Her current oncologist wants her to go to S-K, as her cancer is so rare, they don’t have a name for it, may I repeat myself here!

4.  She has been denied disability and unemployment (read her blog for that fun stuff!), because the temp agency she works for, told the feds that she refused to work, and she never said that, she just was upfront and told them that she needed Thursdays off for Chemo.

5.  She has 2 wonderful girls, and a wonderful and supportive husband, who deserve to have her around for a long time.

So, what can we, the bloggy world do?  I don’t know.  But, I do know that if we all make a big fuss about this, maybe, just maybe we can bring attention to Lisa, and help her out in that bloggy world way!  Read her blog, post about Lisa, encourage your readers, to go to her blog and post about her.  If we can spread the word, maybe we can make a difference for one person (actually, a whole family).  I am not good at setting up auctions, or fundraisers.  But, I can talk! 

So, please, take 15 minutes to stand up for Lisa!!!

Published in: on 07/03/2008 at 12:12 pm  Comments (2)