Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cautiously Excited

I hesitate to write this post. I'm afraid it's too good to be true...that it'll stop being so wonderful as soon as I proclaim victory. I have to though. Some of you may need to know.

As many of you are already aware, my third child, now 12, took about three years to learn to read. I mean, just to be able to learn letter sounds and decode words. I think it took him a half a year just to learn his colors before that. I knew there was a problem, just didn't know exactly what that was nor how to deal with it. Having a degree in Special Education only helped be decide what it wasn't. Not having thousands of dollars to spare prevented me from going after an "official diagnosis" a label wouldn't help him read better. With much prayer, determination and hard work he and I soldiered through the years and had him reading at about a grade 3 or 4 level (and not enjoying it) by the beginning of this school year. My creativity and scientific nature came in handy during these years as I attempted my own "therapies" and resources. 

Just after Christmas I came upon Dr.Dianne Craft's Brain Integration Therapy. I had been reading much of her information and was sure that my son had "disnomia" or some such glitch...and I liked her philosophy of learning and approach to these learning obstacles.Without writing any fancy name on a sticky note and pasting it on his forehead, I continued to follow the bread crumbs. A generous friend "happened" to own the BIT manual and let me borrow it for awhile. With my usual skepticism, we tried it out. The immediate effectiveness must have been a coincidence...he was just having a good day...or he wanted it to work. It has been two months of trying it out and he is still having a good day...every day...for two months. 

Reading is not nearly as labored for him. He yawns less. He corrects his own mistakes and laughs at them. He is reading an actual novel. He not only can spell the words on his word lists correctly, but doesn't need me to dictate them to him...he remembers each of them in the order they appear on the list. I'm a little dumbfounded. Now if he can finally recall his Sunday School teacher's name (that he has known all of his life), I'll nominate Dr. Craft for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The really nice thing about this therapy, is that it isn't a curriculum. I can still use all of my own material and just implement her methods into it. A tasty  DHA vitamin and about 15 minutes of her exercises in the morning and we are off to a great start. I'm thinking that this method is going to be more of a lifestyle than a eating wisely and exercising daily rather than dieting. I may even try it myself so I can fight the mid-life memory loss monster.

I am prepared to humble myself and recant my position on this therapy if for some reason we fall back to the old usual...but this teacher-momma is feeling a little more optimistic than ever before. Although I'm not searching for gold and I do not collect Smurf's (anymore), I feel the cautious excitement of Gargamel and share his victorious, almost mad-scientist chuckle.

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