Over the last week I have had the pleasure of consulting with a family in Arizona. We have gone back and forth through email helping one another to identify and better understand the problem and then providing a solution. The family agreed to allow me to publish a snapshot to help other families relate and understand their child's difficulties. The family will be able to zero in on the true weak skills once they have their child assessed online. However, during my consults, prior to assessments, we will go into detail around the possible causes and solutions.
Problem: Teachers were saying he wasn't understanding or comprehending their instruction.
Understand the problem: This can be a result of your child's low auditory memory and/or auditory analysis skills. Additionally the attention skill contains divided attention so either a combination or one of the skills needs to be strengthened. For example, If your son was reading his assignment (paper on his desk) and his teacher was giving instructions he did not capture the verbal instructions from the teacher as his auditory memory was weak - hence the teacher's stating he was unable to understand the directions. Since the teachers did not state that your son cannot follow directions, I would learn more towards auditory memory and divided attention instead of just an auditory sequential processing issue. A combination of the above weak skills will negatively impact processing speed as your son's brain needs to slow down to figure out the correct output per the teacher's request. You should see your son's processing speed pick up once the problem skill area(s) are strengthened.
Problem: We would read 1 hour a day through second grade even though his teachers recommended 20 min yet he was tested for reading at 1.5 when entering 3rd grade - he could say and spell all 83 phonograms but couldn't apply the rules he learned when writing. For example, he would write really in a sentence and then the very next sentence would write it reely.
Understand the problem: This is a combination of auditory memory, visual and auditory processing that is preventing your son from transferring his learned phonograms into practice. By using a research based program like Master the Code, your son will continue to receive cognitive strengthening. The program uses mnemonics (pictures for memory) to assist in helping the students remember visually and auditorily while learning how to use codes (letters) and the sounds they make /sounds and how to spell them.
Problem: He was for ever getting his b's, d's, q's and p's mixed up.
Understand the problem: When we see the children confusing these letters its about spatial relationships and directionality. We also look into visual processing for spatial aspect along with the logic and reasoning skills which include spatial relationships. Along with exercises to strengthen the skills needed to allow your son to write these correctly is the necessity to test it out and you can easily do this with eye tracking sheets that you can make up yourself. This one requires the child to track for the alphabet throughout the page but you can simply ask your son to find only "p" b, q d on the sheet or any page of a newspaper, etc.
Problem: His writing is improving but my son was lost.
Understand the problem: Writing provides fluidity and directionality for the brain's processing. Since your son was having trouble with writing you are correct in stating that there are processing concerns. Eye hand coordination and other skills need to be strong, too. Cursive writing promotes fluidity in the processing of the brain and we as required to keep our hands(motor) moving in the correct (left to right) direction as we write. If your son can write in cursive that is a good thing, in my opinion.
Problem: My son couldn't even begin to think of a topic sentence and support--that just didn't make sense to him.
Understand the problem: This may be coming from your son's inability to visualize along with the other possible weak skills discussed above. For your son to create a topic sentence, regardless of what a topic sentence is, he must be able to visualize and organize a fluide story. One that has a beginning, middle and end. Once his skills are strengthened this may be an area that needs further intervention to transfer over into school. I am launching online writing programs over the next two weeks that allows your child to learn what is a topic sentence and how to write a paragraph. I also have essay writing with a thesis and then we have a program where the children read a book of choice and then our program takes them through writing about the book with prompts, etc.
I hope you enjoyed reading the above consult. This consult consisted of several detailed email exchanges between the family. If you know of anyone who may benefit from such a consult, they can easily contact me.
Blessings and Brain Power,