Monday, March 10, 2014

It Isn't As Easy As ABC-123!

From the time Noah was two, I noticed that he processed and examined his world through a different lens than the average toddler.  I did what I was trained to do in college...I sought early intervention.  I made him undergo several evaluations, including one with an audiologist.  However, Noah flew under the the radar, charmed his evaluator (in my opinion, LOL!) and toddled on his merry way.

In his 'preschool aged' years, Noah showed ZERO interest in letters, numbers, listening to books, colors, shapes, etc.  I thought that a little concerning, but chalked it up to him being a very active little boy who had older siblings to chase after.  We were in the process of preparing for our move to Nicaragua and we figured we'd give Noah 'more time'.  Well, as you know, we moved to Nicaragua when Noah was 4 1/2 and he started preschool at the Spanish-speaking school.  He spent two years doing 'school' in Spanish...so, we chalked up his lack of interest in letters, numbers, etc. to the fact that he was trying to navigate two languages.

Finally, at the end of his kindergarten year, we had him evaluated again.  While the results were fuzzy due to his quasi-bilingual situation and the fact that he had huge gaps in his knowledge, it was proposed that Noah was dyslexic.

I started doing some research and reading.  Interestingly, Noah exhibited nearly every single preschool red flag for dyslexia.  Things started to make more sense, to me, at least.  The resource teacher at the International Christian school lent me a book called The Gift of Dyslexia.  Wow!!! There are some amazingly brilliant dyslexics...like Thomas Edison.  There are different types of dyslexia.  We have no idea if Noah is "officially" dyslexic, and if he his, I can't say for sure what type of dyslexia he has since I am not an expert.  However, the signs seem to point toward the direction of some sort of learning disability like dyslexia.

What I do know is that Noah is HIGHLY creative.  He sees the positive and negative space around him and "creates" things out of that. He has incredible fine motor control (at the age of 3, he could make very involved and symmetric lego creations).  He can make just about anything from tape, scissors, and paper.  He loves symmetry.  He loves to draw and sketch and build.  I look forward to seeing how God plans on using the gifts He has given to Noah.

Here is what I also know....teaching Noah is a challenge and joy.  It is a TRUE struggle for him to grasp concepts like letter sounds, numbers (especially 11-19), rhyming and rhythms.  However, after more than a full year of going through the alphabet letter by letter/sound by sound, Noah has grasped the majority of the letters and their sounds.  He counted by 10s today with me and was able to show me with little math blocks what numbers like 56 or 73 look like.  (His reward was getting to use those math blocks to build with after the lesson). This accomplishment in counting feels like nothing short of a miracle.

I'll admit, sometimes, I feel like I am in that movie Groundhog Day.  I think....'didn't we do this yesterday, WHY do you not remember??' Yet, I need to remember that this is a journey.  Noah may always struggle in certain areas.  I believe that as he becomes aware of his dyslexia, he will find creative ways to work within and around that. For now, we will continue to review the sounds that the letters make (oh, how I wish English phonetics were as consistent as Spanish phonetics!). We will continue to practice counting, rhyming, reading, writing and 'rithmatic!  It has been amazing to witness when he finally grasps a concept and is then able to apply that concept in his world.

Overall, my hope and desire is that I can enjoy the journey of being Noah's teacher (I already LOVE being his mommy!). His ability to see his world from 'outside the box' is a true blessing that can be shared with those around him!

Noah's Math Block Building

Letter Soup

Gotta love that smile!

This is very unique example of one of Noah's sketches...he did this one during the church service.