And now something that should make upcoming evaluations even more interesting…
Apparently, J-Man can identify a handful of colors too. One of our new learning-at-home activities is to do “Point to ____” and give him multiple choices, then repeat that 10 times. We’ve started keeping a notebook and recording how he does.
His progress at identifying letters has improved astronomically. Presented with three choices, he got 30 in a row correct. (Correct = pointed to the correct letter. If it’s one he could say, he almost always said it too.) Let that sink in a second, then keep going.
Each time I would remove the flash cards from his sight, jumble them up, put them back in front of him, and repeat. I would swap in different letters (we didn’t use the same three 30 times or anything) and ask him to identify different letters (didn’t ask him to pick ‘J’ each time, for example, probably did 10 different letters by the end). He still got 30 in a row right. He might have kept the streak going but he declared he was done by getting up and running away.
We haven’t really practiced numbers much, but for giggles we tried that today more formally for the first time. He was fixated on the ‘8’ so I had a hard time getting him to play along, but he did get 4 out of 5 right before taking the ‘8’ card and wandering off.
Interesting tidbit – he still won’t do this with objects. Give him the choice between a book and a ball, ask him to point to the book – more often than not, nada.
So, of course, what’s the next thing to try? Colors!
I started with two choices – green and red. I asked him for green 5 times and red 5 times. (I know that’s not exactly orthodox method, but I was experimenting.) Each time I removed the cards (solid, one-color, construction paper squares we laminated) from his sight and brought them back, trying to randomize the order as best you can with two cards. He didn’t do so hot. Just 4/10. At first, everything he choose was the card on his right. Toward the end, he kept picking green regardless of what I asked for. Was this confusion or him being a stinker (he had that look on his face). Who knows? I made my notes and tried again.
This time I did red and yellow 10 times and asked him to pick yellow each time. Same deal – put the cards in front of him, asked him to point to yellow, took the cards away, brought them back, tried to randomize the order. He picked yellow 10 times out of 10 and never hesitated once in picking it. Dude.
So I tried again with blue and green, asking for green 10 times. Same process as before. He picked green six times (once with his foot), both of them three times (once with both feet), and refused to pick one time. His accuracy went downhill fast; most of what he got correct was toward the beginning. This was an indicator that he was really tired of this game. Still being ticked off and getting 6/10 wasn’t bad.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this, and still won’t until we do colors some more. While I was pondering this, he grabbed the yellow square some time later and said ‘ell-oh’, which totally wigged me out.
Actually there was one more thing to try. His new developmental therapist asked me whether he could identify letters within words (like the ‘a’ in ‘balloon’). I didn’t know. Great question. I hadn’t really tried it. So I tried a couple. We did the ‘e’ in ‘sheriff’ (it’s on a little mat in his classroom) and the ‘o’ in ‘cow’ on a flash card. It took him a while, but he did it. Clearly that was a lot harder for him, and I couldn’t really hold his attention to it for more than those two words. Still, darn impressive.
Before I get effusively proud in this post (which I am), I’ll move on. All this got me thinking about future evals. Apparently some of these newly-discovered abilities could be 1-2 years developmentally AHEAD of where he is age-wise, depending on how far and deep and consistent they are. It’s really hard to tell right now as we don’t honestly know what’s going on in his toddler brain, what he’s understanding, and what he’s trying to communicate – problems we’ve had for forever. All that while some of his abilities are pretty clearly 1 to maybe 2 years behind. As long as the schools don’t average all that out and get “he’s functioning at age level”, we’ll be fine. But it should make for some interesting scoring and reporting for the upcoming IEP.
Our speech therapist is going to do another eval of him of her own next week and tell us what she thinks about where he is communication-wise. Her informal opinion at this point is on the order of astonishment. Apparently, this isn’t a situation that happens often at all. A county evaluator who didn’t know him and all this stuff he’s been showing would get a very different picture over the course of the whole, whopping hour they can spend with kids. Since our speech therapist has worked with him for months, hopefully she can give a more accurate picture. We’ll see what that yields. I’m not sure how you decipher the kind of puzzle this is turning into.
Let’s just say, things have gotten a lot more interesting around here. Every day is an even bigger revelation than it was, and that’s saying something.