Friday, 25 May 2007

Naming Letters of the Alphabet

Matthew's spelling is coming along brilliantly, he now spells word by giving me the letter names, no longer does he give me the letter sounds. U(you) and Y(why) were a nightmare he just couldn't remember their names, he would draw them in the air and give me the sound they make.
Now he is confidently spelling those words that he has learnt, I find that as long as he has practised them he knows them, he also identifies the ones he hasn't learnt and quickly tells me i haven't got that one stored!
He did his own spelling test last night, he did lots of words he knows he has had trouble with.

what, who, how, where, who, why, also, any, follow I could go on -all confidently learnt.

I will video him having a spelling test when I have time!!

Also he now has his Welsh and English compartmentalized in separate places. S&L picked up on the fact that he will mix the 2 languages if he can't find the words in a particular language, they told me this is a common symptom of these kids. I asked him what class he was in this morning as I was writing a note to school (I can never remember, they jump about year to year), he shouted back Class 7, I took a minute before I realised he had for the first time not answered "Dosbarth Saith". I will monitor to this to see if it continues.

I can't tell you how much his confidence as grown, he is loving his new found capabilies.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Learning new Songs

I now have great hope that Matthew will learn his songs for the concert in July.
We went to our Scout AGM last Thurs. and towards the end the children went outside to play. While outside Glenn started to play a new song from his mobile phone to Matthew, over and over. Sticking it to his ear and saying listen to this, (actually Glenn was trying to annoy as usual).
On the way home Matthew sat up and started singing it -6 lines all in TUNE and rhythym! Beautiful.
OK choice of song was a bit ify- Black Parade by My Chemical Romance!!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Tongue Twister

About 6 months ago (probably more) we were trying to get Matthew to say tongue twisters, making a game of it. He was not amused, finding it impossible. One of the things we were trying to get him to say was Super-Cala-Fraja-Listic-Expi -Ala-Docious. He just walked off in his usual frustrated way, could not get his mind around the words. Was it the only the fact that his verbal processing was poor that stopped him that time?
Last night out of the blue, nobody had mentioned it, it popped back into his mind. Slightly wrong- Super-caja-flaja-listic-expi-ala-docious, -so he had remembered it, only his auditory processing/memory got it mixed up at the time. I corrected him, which he didn't like one bit, but he kept saying it over and over (telling me not to interupt, as I kept correcting). He got his mouth around it in the end, stating well I've learnt that now.

Incidentally his school have sent 3 song sheets home for him to learn (out of 6-gulp). Schools these days are so exclusionary, and they think by giving him the sheets they are including him the class activity. (That is not my definition of an inclusive school.) These children cannot be included in such activities that they simply cannot learn the words and they know it. We'll probably have another school concert of watching Matthew yawn his way through it. He might surprise us, we live in anticipation these days.

Monday, 14 May 2007


Matthew's spelling seems to be getting lots better, I thought it was one of the last things to improve. He is actually saying the letter names now instead of their sounds as he spells. He is particulary interested in synonyms e.g. bye by buy which fascinate him, and words that are similar e.g know, now. He has always looked for patterns in things and is now enjoying finding patterns in words. He wants to return to his Stairway to Spelling book and learn some more words. Can't ask more than that!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

My Views On the Ed. Psych's report.

Firstly I would like to say that I feel these observations should have been taken over a year ago, with the initial IQ and Reading/Spelling assessments. They are not a baseline account as we have been doing our Dore exercises for 4 months when the observations were taken.

I am unhappy with the way the Ed Psych has described the distraction of playing with his hair as something he is "motivated" into doing. It appears to me as a fidget. I do not see this as him being motivated. I remember when he had a loose tooth he played continually with it until it was out. We will be cutting his hair and await to hear what he is next "motivated" to play with, as I believe that he will simply be distracted with something else.

I am also disturbed to hear that the Ed Psych believes that there is an element of personal choice in Matthew's poor work out put. If this is the case we have come to the point where is has become disillusioned with his literacy school work, the very thing his class teacher did not want to happen. She told us last year that he really wanted to do his work but was finding it hard. He must now see things differently. "I can't produce work to a standard the same as my friends, they don't expect it, so why bother working 10 times as hard for little feedback." I'm also concerned that the Ed Psych says he sees no discomfort with writing when his language support teacher explains about his "death grip" of the pen and how she gets him to shake out his hands at regular intervals.

On the plus side we can now see that Matthew is taking in some (if not all-we cannot tell at this stage) of what is being taught, and can verbally respond. He is also retaining things as he comes home regularly and relates what his lessons where about, this was not happening last year at all, he simply couldn't remember even when pressed and would get annoyed saying "stop asking me".

I feel the Ed Psych cannot/will not do any more until the medical team determine what his other problems are.
I was told by the Language Support Teacher (a very experienced and dedicated lady on the verge of retirment who we are begging not to leave) he might get a very nice report with no extra support forthcoming at school.

Reading Blip Over

Matthew's reading has come back to the previous level, happily. He has had a bad cold which has come out over the last week which couldn't have helped.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Dore Line on Primitve reflexes

Dore USA have kindly allowed me to reproduce this information as some of us on the forums were wondering about retained primitive hthanks to Amy for posing the question in the first place.

"Your question about primitive reflexes is an interesting one.
These reflexes are elicited from the spinal cord, brain stem and midbrain levels. As you know they tend to go away very early in infant life. Some people with damage to higher level brain systems (e.g. Cerebral Palsy) can demonstrate such reflexes much later in life.
However a most important note is that you cannot get rid of these reflexes. They are always present. However they are suppressed by the increasing integrity of the function of the higher brain systems (including the cerebellum). If these systems are not fully developed then there may be varying degrees of manifestation of such reflexes.
If any normally developed person received substantial brain damage such reflexes will no longer be fully inhibited and will manifest themselves once again at any time in life.
Thus focusing on exercises which merely counteract and oppose such reflexes is not the most appropriate way of suppressing them. Dore believes that the development of higher functional integrity of cerebellar-cerebral loop systems is the only real way to develop better higher learning systems and at the same time suppress these lower level reflexes not so much by using direct opposing movements but more naturally by developing higher systems more naturally and allowing this to suppress such reflexes indirectly.
We do measure two reflexes linked to the vestibular cerebellar systems (the Moro and ATNR).
We find that in almost every child and adult who show such reflexes that they have gone by the end of the programme.
Thus I do not see any advantage in trying to identify and suppress individual reflex actions prior to using Dore and would suggest (from our research) that Dore would be just as effective whether or not such reflexes were present at the start of Dore."

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


As we were coming home from swimming lessons tonight, Matthew was telling me about school, and that his memory is better these days things are sticking, he tells me that he will pay me back (the money). He will pay us back, just not with money. He says he is a Maths genius (I wouldn't go that far!) and he is going to be a Maths teacher or Scientist when he grows up. It's great that he's even thinking of what he wants to do, shows he has aspirations. His confidence in other things, hasn't been dented the slightest bit.

Educational Psycholgist comes out to Observe 2

Here is the thoughts of the Ed. Psychologist:-

  • Matthew was off task for the majority of the writing time. At almost all times when he was off task, he was playing with his hair. His gaze was fixed either on strands of hair pulled out or on a forelock.
  • Matthew barely moved during the lesson. He did not fidget, hardly looked around and tended to adopt a slumped position. He disturbed no-one else and spoke only once or twice to table mates. Matthew did not seem at all unhappy during the lesson.
  • Matthew did not show distraction at the odd times when people entered or when there was a mild "kerfuffle" as when books where handed out.
  • Matthew presented as if he was not listening for most of the introduction but was able to answer questions when asked. He was able to tune into the discussion when it interested him.
  • Matthew, when not writing but poised, did not seem distressed. Matthew was not "doing nothing" he was playing with his hair (I'd say 95% of the off-task time)
  • Matthew was on task when the class teacher spoke to him. He had one moment of spontaneous writing- I could not see anything obvious which sparked this off.

This observation suggests to me that Matthew takes in more of the lesson than supposed. He produced very little in this lesson but he also seemed to understand the lesson aim and task when asked. This could suggest that introductions "going over his head" might not be the reason for poor work production. Matthew was able to tell the class teacher things she had said when his name had not been "tagged".

Therefore Matthew may not need a name tag in order to key him in. His ability to tune back in from apparently far away also evidences this.

Matthew has rather poor handwriting but he wrote words quickly and seemed not to display any signs or discomfort when writing.

I discussed my initial thoughts with the class teacher. She confirmed that this lesson was quite typical for Matthew. She also says that she must regularly ask him to sit up straight and leave his hair alone.

Notwithstanding the outcome of investigations into Matthew's co-ordination, socialisation, and attention skills; I believe this observation suggests that there may be an element of personal choice in Matthew's poor work output. In this lesson he certainly displayed motivation to play with his hair (distrating him from his work hugely). However this is positive as it suggests an ability for Matthew to motivate himself personally.

Matthew also seemed to follow the lesson introduction which is positive.

It remains true that Matthew wrote only when the class teacher prompted him (with one exception). This situation is worrying of course but I think there is scope for dependence on a teacher to be reduced by work on motivation- especially intrinsic (self ) motivation.

This is a single observation. No final conclusion can ever be made from on event. I hope that the material here will enhance discussion about Matthew's behaviour and needs.

Any comments would be gratefully received I will post my thoughts on this shortly.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Worded Maths Problems

I thought I'd try Matthew on some worded maths problems last night. These have given us great troouble. His teacher says he's good at maths but worded problems were giving difficulties, he just didn't understand what was being asked. I also saw this when I tried him on them at home with a IT course I have subscribed to for him. (It's called Education City and there is a Maths, Science and English course with it, SATS targeted, also available in the USA.) I could see that these problems had to explained clearly as he just couldn't make any sense of them, then he could do them.

Last night I thought I'd try him on Worded time problems (a double problem with time, as he hasn't understood that either).
Well I was amazed he had 9/10 with no trouble at all. I am really excited about this, and I'm going to try him some different word problems tonight.

An example of a question is: it's 5.05 and Stig starts to make food he takes 30 mins to make it and 15 mins to eat it what time does he finish his food? Also some problems were going backwards in time.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Educational Psycholgist comes out to Observe

The Ed Psych was asked by myself and the school to come out and observe Matthew in his learning environment. The class teacher and myself believe that a lot more can be learnt about his learning behaviour from observing him than can be gleaned from IQ tests and 1 word reading and spelling tests (although they help).
I have had the report, it was a blow by blow account of the lesson, a high literacy lesson concluding with some writing work.
This from the write up:-
"Matthew had written the date, lesson aim, title and one 6-word sentence (Mae Nelly Telly yn criw teledu). The average amount of work during this lesson seemed to me to be about a paragraph (which the teacher wanted)- probably 3 times the amount of Matthew's output."

I will add the commentary when I have time.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Reading Blip

Over the last couple of nights Matthew's reading seems to be a lot worse than normal. Interestingly this seems to be coinciding with the new intermediate exercises he has received, following his excellent assessment results. They appear to have an added element of concentration which are making them more difficult to do correctly. We have had words omitted, added and started with a letter that's not there. It's as if his senses are confused once again, which I can only put down to the new neural pathways being formed and old ones being neglected. I will of course keep a close eye on this and report back.