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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

help me please


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Joined: May 02, 2008
Posts: 10
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Posted Jun 17, 2008 at 7:21:08 PM
Subject: help me please

I am crying as I write this; my 11 year old grandson is also crying.he is going into grade 6, on an IEP and only reading at a 2nd grade level.he satys with his dad and us in the summer. I was determined to help him with his reading this summer and have posted on here before. This was our first real day and it was disastrous. he completely shut down and wouldn't do anything. We have a NYC trip planned for later in the summer and he even said he didn't want to go. I feel helpless but also obsessed with his reading problems. Please help me.

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Jun 17, 2008 8:18:36 PM

First, you need to step back. Trying to get "work" done on the first day of the visit is way too much pressure on both of you. RELAX! Have some fun. Don't focus on the negative. I know you want to help him but if you put too much pressure on him you will only cause more issues.

Second, make reading a FUN activity, not a chore. You will make more progress if the activities are enjoyable for both of you.

You are probably going to encounter a lot of resistance from him. If he isn't seeing a counselor or therapist, that might be something to look into. Many kids who reach 6th grade with such low academic levels can have issues such as anxiety, depression and no self-esteem. Not wanting to go on the trip or do things that he would normally consider fun can be a symptom of depression. He may also have a lot of anxiety over the reading because he just isn't "getting it".

Do you know what is causing his reading issues? Does he have dyslexia, irlen syndrome, auditory issues or a combination? Depending on what the issue(s) are will depend on the type of approach that will work best.

He's lucky to have a grandmother who cares so much about him and wants to help him. ((Hugs))

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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KiKi
Joined May 02, 2008
Posts: 10

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Posted:Jun 18, 2008 1:39:20 AM

Thanks. I don't know what his problems are, just that he has a learning disability. No one has ever mentioned dyslexia. The funny thing is I have taught 8th grade English for 30 years. When I ask our spec. ed teachers about dyslexia, they don't seem to know what to do. You gave me the same advice my husband did, but I'm a worrier by nature. I worry about how he will survive if he can't read, how will he pass the state tests. Trust me I worry a lot and I'm a fixer so this has been really tough. on top of all this his mother doesn't care about education so he gets no help during the school year. I probably have 500. invested on books of one name or another to help your child learn to read. I feel like tossing them because they all say something different. I am really confused .
Thanks for listening

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Jun 18, 2008 9:04:04 AM

If your son can request any testing info that has been done, that might give you a place to start. Throwing programs at a kid without knowing what the real issues are doesn't help anyone and just causes more frustration.

You might also encourage your son to become more active in the boy's education. Your son could then request that you come to meetings and you could help him have more input into the help your grandson is getting.

My dd didn't read above a 2nd grade level until she was out of 6th grade. She started her sophomore year reading at grade level. It took a LOT of patience, time and effort to make that happen. We had to do a lot of testing to figure out just what was causing the problems and then still more time figuring out what would work for her because "standard" programs didn't do the trick. She actually did better when we introduced text-to-speech programs on the computer and gave her more interesting, high level material to read. Making her read books at her "level" just made her feel stupid. She now loves reading.

So, don't completely give up but maybe slow down and step back. Its not the end of the world and if you are patient enough you may find just what works for him. Take it one easy step at a time.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Jun 18, 2008 2:41:33 PM

He is a hard working kid. He gives up hours of his day every day to school. He needs a break just like everyone else in the summer. Trying to get work done is a really bad aproach. He has no confidence in his abilities. Lately all anyone has likely said to him is one of 2 simple statements, 'You are stupid!' Or *Something is wrong with you! You have blablabla*' But he is still a kid. He is still needing a break like all the rest. Give the kid a rest! Then try to *Trick* him into it. For example, things that are part of every day life or silliness and *FUN* rather than hardcore academics. This aproach with a disheartened child that NEEDS A BREAK! All the other kids are getting a break he works just as hard just as much. Regardless of how far he has gotten. Then ya trick him. Write with his food something stupid like 'cool dude' that trancends and COMPLIMENTS him. Rather than puts him back into academics while the rest are getting a break. Then when he reads it, make sure you give him a special desert and TELL HIM how GREAT he did! TELL HIM how smart he is. Then, try it again with a different message... slowly build on it, till you are getting him to read road signs. And then at museums the little info things beside the exhibits. But taking such an aproach to getting work done BAD idea. I do believe i said that already.

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KiKi
Joined May 02, 2008
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Posted:Jun 18, 2008 6:19:03 PM

thanks everyone you are right and it isn't the end of the world. I have sat in on many meetings and they say he shuts down as soon as he doesn't know a word. For me he looks at the first couple of letters and then says he doesn't know or he says any word. Where can I get a diagnosis. What is text-to-speech program
Thanks again

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scifinut
Joined Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 550

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Posted:Jun 18, 2008 8:47:39 PM

Has he had any independent testing by a neuropsychologist? That could be really helpful. It can give lots of information on where breakdowns in his learning may be coming from.

He may also need Speech/Language testing by a Speech/Language Pathologist. An SLP may be able to tell if he needs further audiology testing for an auditory issue.

Another thing to look at would be his visual processing. Seeing an optometrist who specializes in education could give information on how he is seeing the words. My son couldn't see some words because he had double vision up to 3 feet from his face. Vision Therapy helped that issue but he also did eventually require glasses.

You may also want to investigate Irlen Syndrome (Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome). You can find more information at http://www.irlen.com They have a very good symptom list that can be helpful in deciding whether to get further screening.

Text-To-Speech programs are computer programs that read aloud text. There are a number of very good programs available and many have demo versions so that you can try them out. These will allow him to "read" text such as web sites, e-books, and documents at a higher level that what he is able to read on his own. Many of the programs have speed controls, word/phrase/paragraph highlighting and a couple different voices.

We tried several before finding one that worked well for my dd. This helped her learn to visually track and put the sounds directly with the words. By also giving her access to higher level reading, it allowed her to participate more in class. Her textbooks were scanned and she used the TTS program to read them so that she could be at the same level as her peers. All this contributed to helping her self-esteem and to be able to show that while her reading may be slow her mind is not.

I hope this information is helpful.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Mayleng
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Jun 19, 2008 4:35:38 PM

Look into Lindamood Bell or some OG (Orton Gillingham) programs like Barton.

Learning Disabilities (LD) and ADHD, Education Support, The*SAFE*Site http://millermom.proboards107.com

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Jun 19, 2008 11:41:52 PM

Orton Gillingham, who ever the hell they are... If they are still alive.... Someone give 'em a nobel prize, a grammy, emmy, the tony award, the stanley cup, an academy award, olympic gold metal (atleast one), the super bowl trophy thingy....Golden globe they earned one of those too, They also deserve The World Cup, and hell, let me just nominate them for the democratic party for president and vice president!

I would like to kiss who ever is responsible for that method. I would like to grovel at their feet and offer them all sorts of gifties and anything else i might have that they could want.

As a dyslexic, without them, i wouldn't who i am today. Infact, i would not be able to make this post or even spell my own first name. This method not only saved my life, but in many respects it gave me life as surely as my actual mother did. I owe this method a debt of grattitude for which there is no way to repay as literacy is priceless.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
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Posted:Jun 20, 2008 10:44:15 PM

I am so sorry that you are not off to a good start with your grandson.

I know you want to spend the summer helping him get somewhat caught up. One thing you could probably do that his parents might not want to or be able to do, is take him in for private testing. Get a professional evaluation with his parents permission of course. His parents may even have the insurance coverage, but lack interest and initiative. We did that with our daughter a year ago and it has helped her tremendously. Sure, she is in special ed at school, but honestly, it's a joke. She has a serious language impairment and the only speech therapy they give her is 2 measley 30 min group sessions each week in which a group of kids sits and talks and plays go fish. The private therapy has made a huge difference where the school does not. The private therapist is a learning disabilities specialist specializing in language based learning disabilities. In addition to speech therapy, she also does educational therapy with other kids, but our focus is language. She helps kids who are dyslexic, etc... but the best part is that I go and watch on a monitor down the hall and then do the 45mins of homework each day that she gives us to do. And I am not the bad guy because I didn't make up the homework!! The therapist knows exactly where she is academically. She makes sure that my daughter is successful and feels successful and that she knows that she did it because she CAN do it. It's been a godsend.

If I recall, your grandson is staying with you all summer, right? Does he normally live anywhere near you or do you live far away? Maybe this is something you could do as a summer thing every summer or if you find someone good you can get a referral for someone like that near you.

I know you want to help him and as a teacher it stands to reason that you are the right person for the job. Maybe it just needs to happen in a different way than what you had planned.

Hope this helps even a little bit. By the way, your grandson is SOOOO lucky to have you in his corner. I know you want him to be successful and he can be with the right help.

Kathryn

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Louise
Joined Jul 10, 2008
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Posted:Jul 11, 2008 5:57:58 AM

Seeing this and remembering it from your grandson's perspective I can relate to what he's feeling because I was the same at that age. I think the first reply is right when they say relax a bit. I remember my mum getting very anxious and frustrated with me and all it did was cause me to feel the same way. Eventually I felt anxious and frustrated myself every time I tried to read anything. Instead of trying to come up with a very rigid reading program can you try and find more fun ways of doing it? I have herd of people doing thinks like family newsletters, making a blog, song writing etc all based on the childs interests. If there interested there more likely to stick with it and less likely to object or refuse to do it.

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Jul 17, 2008 11:36:37 AM

I agree! Interest is important. People underestimate the essential factor of interest, for example when i was a kid, my math teachers would say i was LD but my history and music teachers and some times english teachers would swear i was fine. My music would be alphebetized etc... everything would be organized and orderly i could focus for years on those subjects but the ones that i didn't like.... Would be in shambles.

On another note, i don't know where you live but i would never have learned long division without The Carol School. A summer school that isn't overly 'schooly.' I don't know if such a place is an option for you. I am just putting it out there. Since it really helped me and i had a ball with the photography etc... that they offered.

I personally think it is of the utmost importance not to overwork these kids or to make them feel particularly different. Because such feelings will follow them through life. It will eat up their self esteem. My grandmother actually conned me into learning my 9 tables....She wrote down every single answer and everywhere she put a number plus another number (numbers of answers) equal 9. She made me a bunch of addition problems.... I did them.... And then she wrote down the 9 table in front of them and gave me back the paper. I was stunned. So stunned it sunk in. She then showed me how it counts up and down.... Con artistry is not bad. You really need to make it seem like something else. Which is why i say, don't take it seriously in the off season. Aproach it as a game or a joke. Write with their vegetables. Use road signs or play a game of looking at where each car you see comes from. Simple scripts and a camcorder and some costumes.... This isn't just about challenging them. Challenge yourself. See how fun you can make it!!! Start with hieroglyphs.... I have yet to see a child that doesn't find them awesome. Also, it doesn't matter what direction you write them in they are always correct. Teach them to translate the hieroglyphs to english letters. Then have them decode what was written! Make it a mystery for them to solve! Rather than a hard core nightmare with a right and wrong that is not fun and is all academic. They go to school for that and they get destroyed by it every day of most of their lives. They don't want you to witness that too. They are tired and over worked already trying so hard to please. They need to rest and they need to play. They are KIDS. Let them be kids. Try to find ways to incorporate it into their games.

Use their favorite book, or tv show! Or nintendo game! You get creative, create, a daily paragraph filled with action packed adventure of their favorite fictional character.... And i mean REALLY base it on that character. Not in a half baked way, so when the kid wakes up first thing he wants is to read it. Or try some of the newspaper comic strips. Not much in them, relatively non threatening. Or be ultra evil, tell them they have worked hard enough, and so (hehehe, Muahahahaa) You want them to spend a day playing! So you have left them a *list* of games to play! Tell them they have to go down the list while you are out. Then leave listed games with simple words so that they can read them and leave them piled up on the table. Tell them when you get home you expect to find the games piled up in listed order. These things seem small, i realize that. They are small. but ubung macht den meister. As they say in Germany. I am dyslexic too. I am literate, and fluent in 6 languages. Also in modern western music notation as well as music notation and system of the ancient greeks. I am fairly fluent in hieroglyphs, hieratic script, and old coptic as well as ogham. The only reason i am these things, is because someone reached me. Someone got through. Someone didn't lose patients. Someone matched my creativity. Someone, saw me for who i am an what i am capable of rather than seeing me as solely illiterate.

Her name was, Barbara her partner in fighting illiteracy was Kathy. At the Maynard school in Cambridge MA. In 88 and 89. Together, when their 'powers combined' to create Captain Orton Guillingham, my hero who took my illiteracy down to zero.' They gave me things like Mac and Tab. Encouraged me to sound it out. They made me feel comfortable instead of ridiculous reading that way. Even then it took another year of practice (ubung mach den meister or practice makes the master, also known as practice makes perfect.) After that next year i was reading at a very high level. But once i discovered i really truly could do it, i refused to stop doing it. They aproached it as hard work during the school year. They encouraged my parents to just leave me and it alone in the summer befcause i worked sooooo hard all year. In third grade i did 3 years of school work in a matter of months. I graduated ahead of my grade that year though i entered at a kindergarten level. By 6th grade i was testing into 10th grade science and reading at a post grad level and retaining what i read. Dyslexic people are often exceptionally intelligent. I was still refusing however to capitalize my letters at the beginning of sentences and in proper nouns. No one could understand it. So my mom called Barbara who came over when i was in 6th grade and she did something that actually made sense... Something no one else had bothered to do. She *ASKED* me why. You see, she had herself taught me better she knew i knew better if i wasn't doing it right there was obviously a reason it wasn't a product of disability at all. Which is what everyone eolse assumed. It was a product of humanity and a treally messed up family. I told her i didn't capitalize because it seemed like favortism. Like one letter was favored over the other and i didn't want to be like my jack ass father. She explained it all for me. Nothin got better at home, but atleast it was understood that it was a conscious choice which i soon stop bothering with as i had a sudden insite that letters don't have feelings. But that is how alive written language had become to me and how much i loved and cared for all of it. Kathy, and Barbara, also never made us read for more than 15 minutes at a time and stopped early when we were doing well. To promote we would continue to show us that the better we got the less work it would be. They used to play games with it that resulted in candy being passed out or grab bag little things. Barbara died, a few years back. I went to her funeral. I got up and spoke about how she gave me a life. And i sang (as i am trained to a professional level to do) Amazing Grace. Her family was very touched. I still send Kathy Christmas cards and little Xmas gifts. These 2 women.... They gave me something that i can never ever repay them for. They gave me the keys to the kingdom. Once one can read, there is no door closed anymore. One can learn and study *anything* Math, science etc... Because one has a means of both assimilating and expressing information. However, treating literacy militantly, with young children who don't understand yet the necesity it is.... Is ridiculous and it doesn't get anyone anywhere. Finding ways to incorporate it into play is far more apropriate in the summer. A little goes a long way. Stressing, if they know this word then they know how to decode all words with these letters in them can be helpful... As it makes it seem like less work. And it has been so much work and frusteration for these kids already. Please.... I beg, take a step back.... Try walking a mile in their shoes. See how hard it is... How they work.... How they try and do not get any success. Please.... Try to put yourself in their little child minds.... See how hopeless they are. Don't give them education.... Give them hope instead in small amounts by adding it to play time in sybtle ways... I know you are creative enough to do these things. Because if you weren't, you would have already given up.

To Try:

1. Small script, and a camcorder and costumes. Write a 1 page simple script to be acted out. Then watch it.... Praise the performance. Show him he is able to act in hollywood someday if he so chooses.

2. Take them to museums of interest to them. Share the reading with each exhibit. Help, a bit.... Don't be too hard core...

3. Write silly words with food on the plate. Something like 'smart boy.' Becauswe he is sure used to thinking he is stupid. And we live up to our lables. Learning disabled sounds far too much like learning unable or stupid. Make him recognize it means learning different, but just as able.

4. Orton Guillingham method is your friend.

5. Use *his* interests. Ask him what he wants to do when he grows up. Find him someone that does it. Try a pen pal of sorts or a mentor to write notes to and get notes from. (Best not to do quite yet, wait a little till he is a little better with things but not too too much better.)

6. Find activities, that can help with the carreer he wants to do as a grown up something he can see plain as day has an affect on his future unlike reading. Then incorporate small amounts of writing into games surrounding that. For example, if he wants to be an archaeologist, go write down the names of his GI Joes, and then bury them in a marked out area of the garden. Give him a list tell him each level of 'strata' (or every 3 inches will be marked with a different color strip of paper and he is digging for old bones not GI Joes. Give him a list of the GI Joes you hid at varying levels so he has to READ them and mark them off as he digs. This teaches him some important stuff about archaeology and about reading should that be his passion. If not find some other method to teach him something from his carreer of choice.

7. Simple dinner menus. With *choices* What does he want to eat tonight? He must read the options and write his choice. He can copy it right from the menu. Thus getting a visual lesson and reference point and he gets it right and builds confidence and it isn't alot of reading or work nor is it academic and militant and in the end he benefits from it.

8. List several games you want played while you are out and put in order of list for when you get back.

9. What do the road signs say???

10. Hieroglyphs or some other ancient language, make him feel special. Use them to segway into something more english based.

11. Song writing

12. Bumper stickers!!! Have him make up and write down bumper sticker slogans. For example i love bumper stickers.... My personal slogan is, 'Perky Morning People should be shot.' I don't mean it. I don't want anyone to get hurt. it is just a saying expressing my horror at those who can function at 6 am. oooor... maybe.... give him a shit ist, (you can buy one at Urban outfitters.) Yes i know there is profanity not the most apropriate, however, for that reason it may just get his attention. Have him keep such a list. It offers several options for who is on it asks why for what they did and how to handle it and what relation that person is to you. Which again is reading. And writing... Again, this is just to get the attention. Because i don't generally feel such things are apropriate for young children. but in some cases, something like this can make a huge difference to the kid just because it is so unique unexpected and shocking.

13. Pirate treasure map. Lable the neighborhood draw lil pictures. Hide 20 dollars in a lil box somewhere. Give him the map with the simple lables have him find it by following the simple directions. Pay off at the end.... gee reading is a useful tool.... Now he can buy himself a new video game....

14. Teach him about himself. Challenge him. Dare him! Give him simple essays by the experts. or re write them in simpler words atleast at first and atribute their names to them. Tell him, this is what they are saying about him. Tell him, he is not stupid and that he needs to feed them their words on a silver platter! Help him learn about his own brain and how he is best able to learn! Show him his own evaluations help him to read them. Don't leave him out in the cold! This information can be useful to him even now when he needs to be creative and to compensate.

15. Maybe get him on this site.... Help him.... I have a few things i would like to say to him. No worries, i would not bite a child. I reserve my teeth and claws for adults. But i have been right where he is. Maybe there is something i can say or something i can do to help? Because, until you have been there, you really can't know and can't ever get into his frame of mind. Plus the more people he has to go crowing to when he is proud of the better. Especially if he has to write to report his successes to them. At first though he will need your help. The more people telling him he CAN do it rather than he can't the better. The more encouragement from outside the family and from those not payed to help him..... The more sure of himself he will feel.

16. Does he like cooking??? Get him to help you maybe in the kitchen... Cook books....

17. Comics!!! Comics are your friend! Especially super short ones. You can even try making them yourself. Or was it TinTin that i liked as a kid??? I don't remember anymore....

18. Start a written story. Everyone adds 1 sentence. Each day a different person adds 1 sentence. Like... one of those pass the story games. Instead though of speaking it, the story gets written down and passed and gets sillier and sillier every day. So first day you start it. Second day your SO, third day, your son, fourth day one of the grand kids, etc.... And in this way it is not too imposing on their time. And they may even enjoy the silliness.

19. Pick their favorite fictional character and write short follow up paragraphs now and then on it. Try getting it all wrong and having them re write it or create a better version that will be more accurate to the character. For example, if they like Darth Vader, have Darth skipping around and picking flowers to give to Princess Leia. Rather than having him out for blood. See how the kids think of your messed up version of the character. ask them to write you a new version. They will say no. Tell them anything they want goes in their stories and you will help them. Then help them. And whatever they want to include in their super short story goes no matter what it is. How can they trust your word they can do whatever they want in life if they can't trust your word that you will help them write whatever story they want?

20. Have them list the things they hate about school. The build a big bonfire. Have them drop their list on the fire then ask them to write a list of things they love about school. Have them hang it up in their rooms.

21. Leave them small short notes all over the house, to find dinner they have to follow the clues. Or desert. etc... But make sure the clues are *simple*

etc... Use your creativity.... You can do this! Out smart them! Make them read without realizing what they are doing!

But please, don't push.... Because the mor eyou push a child like the one i was, the more we will clam up. The less open we will be. The more exhausted and negative about ourselves and the world we will become. If he gets angry, or happy or whatever, make him explain himself on paper maybe. It will likely look like this, 'I am mad. I do not like to read. I am not good at it. I do not want to do it. It is hard.' This is good. Tell him it is good. Do NOT correct it. And lay off for a bit. It teaches him 2 skills. firstly to think about his feelings rationally and to channel them productively and second any and all practice is good practice. Thirdly, he is seeing there is a point to reading and writing he can *express* himself in a way that will be societally acceptable and respected. See? So many levels to view things on. If he is dyslexic which you say he is, his mind will work somewhat like mine. Many layers.... Sometimes they get in the way... Sometimes he must take his ideas apart like a toaster and put them back together to get a more effective toaster. or sometimes he has to take whatever is set before him apart. it takes longer than with the kid who just slams it with a hammer and gets the job done. But trust me it is going to be the dyslexic kid who takes it apart and puts it back together and takes his time with whatever it is that will ultimately have a deeper and better understanding and he may be a bit slower than that kid with the hammer. So what if he is? Just look at Einstein, he couldn't talk till he was 5. But he is viewed as one of the most intelligent men in history. My *husband* (since saturday, i was about to write fiance.... this is new...) reads alot of Einstein as he is a theoretical physicist. He laughs sometimes because i will say something and he will tell me Einstein has said the same and he has never heard anyone else say or think in such a way. And my *Husband* is one of less than 200 people who does what he does in the entire world. If today there were a manhattan project, he would be one of the 12 majors on it. How do i know? The government has tried it and asked him. He said no. Then ofcourse there is Shakespears..... Another great idea... Take the old english out of shakespeare, rewrite some of his stuff. With easy wording. Same story. Then tell them about how the guy who first wrote that story in old english, and beautiful prose which they can read again when they get older, spelled his own name 7 different ways because he was soooo dyslexic. He is fanmouse and just like them! You see... There are ways to help them. I have every faith that if anyone can do it.... You can, because you love them so much and you want to so badly. Best of luck!

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KiKi
Joined May 02, 2008
Posts: 10

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Posted:Jul 17, 2008 8:56:24 PM

I haven't been on this site for awhile but I was feeling particularly low today. Nick has clammed up quite a bit and just acts sad. I neede to hear from you today. Thank you

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