Saturday, January 31, 2009

Good Thoughts Needed

I found out on Thursday after our professional development class that...hmm...I don't know if he ever had a blog nickname, so I'll call him Monster Truck Boy, is having more medical problems.

Monster Truck Boy has a rare genetic illness that has resulted in 3 bone marrow transplants, the last of which came after his fourth grade year.  He had something like a 10% chance of surviving that one; because of that, I used to tell his mom that he must be a cat, and was simply beginning his fourth of nine lives.

Monster Truck Boy had been complaining of pains in his leg, and an x-ray showed something on the bone.  Teacher M, who has been getting texted updates this weekend, says that the current theory -- because his blood work is actually okay -- is that he perhaps has stress fractures.

Given that the boy's had chemo several times in his life and is on all sorts of medication -- who knows...maybe he'll be lucky (relatively speaking) and simply have developed osteoporosis instead of anything more scary.

Monster Truck Boy had a rough start in school, but he and I clicked from the second day I was his teacher (the first day I was his teacher was the first day of summer school, and his birthday, and he DID NOT want to be there), and he'll always have a special place in my heart, so if anyone could send good thoughts his way, I'd appreciate it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Following a Child's Lead

Some kids don't like certain activities.  Some kids don't like any activity not of their own choosing.

And then there's kids like Bulldozer, who like everything to be Just So, and who have a rough time with transition.

Bulldozer and speech therapy has been a rough ride over the last year and a half.  Somehow, I got roped into doing one-on-one time with him daily to get "ready" for speech with a speech aide or speech therapist.

I began with the other kids -- so Bulldozer would see that the new "office" area (an idea our principal had) as something desireable.

Today, I decided that if I had to do speech with Bulldozer -- doing repetitive stuff that he doesn't like, and which has little actual communicative purpose, but that's an issue for another day -- I would do speech with Bulldozer.

Forget the stupid line drawings that he hates...I'm gonna draw him in with his favorite thing ever.

Every day, he has to write a four line personal information sheet in his morning journal -- my concession to my fear that someday that will be a CAPA question -- and he loves reading it back to me.

He is supposed to be working on long I words -- because the kid that needs polite protesting needs to work on long I words (?) -- but our speech therapist uses ridiculous boring line drawing pictures that probably come out of some important book on articulation but which don't really work for my kids -- who really need communication therapy more than speech therapy.

But since I know nothing, I have no input over speech goals, which I end up having to implement because all but 4 kids in my class are on consult...and three of the four will probably end up on consult by the time their IEPs are over.

So there we are.

Anyway, I made this:

It's simple enough; each square is for him to check off that he's read the sentence.  We'll see how it goes in a small group tomorrow, then we'll work on moving him over to the "office" area...whenever I have enough adults to float the rest of my groups.
(Incidentally, Bulldozer is actually a very good reader; he does not need most of that visual support, but I added it in (1) to take up space so that there would be fewer tasks on a page, (2) to add in pictures he really likes (Spongebob, Patrick), and (3) so that it look as similar to in-class materials and as different from speech materials as is humanly possible.