Dysgraphia

Lapbooking And Special Needs

Special Needs

Way back when we had preschoolers before, we explored lapbooks and had loads of fun. Now that we have preschoolers again, I started exploring lapbooks again recently and decided to give it a try with all the kids. (More on those lapbooks in another post).

I had been wanting to explore things that would be more fun and incorporate the different learning styles of all the kids. I thought the big kids might be ready for notebooking, but there is still too much writing, so I opted to try the lapbooks again.

My kids absorb information from videos, books, and through discussion, but they have a hard time showing what they know. Enter lapbooking. I thought lapbooking would be a great way to include all of the kids at whatever level they are at.

I made it as easy as possible. I cut out the papers. I even wrote on the papers (I figured we could ease into them doing the writing, eventually). All they had to do was discuss and then glue. Wouldn’t you know it, my 11 year old (Elisha – with autism) doesn’t like gluing either? Well, he did it after a bit of prodding.

Note to self, we need:

  • a label maker (because of this post about dysgraphia)
  • more glue dots
  • glue sticks
  • loads of fun and colorful paper

I found this series on Lapbooking With Special Needs Kids that I found particularly inspiring. I encourage you to check it out.

You can Lapbook on a Shoestring as this post suggests by providing a ton of resources.

Lapbooking is:

  • versatile
  • adaptable
  • suitable for multi -age
  • useful for a variety of topics
  • perfect for special needs students
  • good for perfectionists
  • good for creativity
  • good for review
  • can be done in short bursts of time (and attention span)
  • an answer to prayer

Jimmie (from Jimmie’s Collage and Notebooking Fairy) had this great idea to prepare all the mini books ahead of time. She also has an amazing lapbooking Squidoo Lense that  is just loaded with resources and I highly suggest you check out if you are even the slightest bit interested in lapbooking.

Do you use lapbooks or notebooks in your homeschool? 

Do you use lapbooks or notebooks with your special needs kids?

Special Needs At Our House

Special Needs

I recently read this article about dysgraphia.

In the past I wrote a list of resources about dysgraphia and I wrote about our struggles with writing and how I thought that Moses might have dysgraphia.

The article that I mentioned earlier about dysgraphia has been up in the tabs of my browser for several days now. I have read it over and over.

What I love most are the “Real World” helps that Kim suggests. She has some really great ideas. While we have tried some of the ideas in the past, there were many new ideas that I am eager to give a go.

The three ideas that stood out the most to me (and there were several more) were:

  • get a label maker (I seriously had not thought about this!)
  • don’t just use pencils (try markers, highlighters, or pens)
  • make creative writing a separate class (LOVE this idea)

I am very thankful that I found this blog post before I start thinking seriously about materials for next year.

What adaptations do you make for your homeschool students? 

The Struggles With Writing

We have struggles with writing at our house. Two of our five children struggle with writing. Our ten year old Elisha struggles with penmanship and creative writing; while our eight year old Moses struggles with penmanship and spelling.

Elisha has struggled with printing since he was little. He has Autism and ADHD. I am amazed at the leaps and bounds that this child has made since he was first diagnosed almost 5 years ago. This boy is bright. He retains just about everything that he hears, sees, and reads. In kindergarten, he was testing at a high school level in some of his subjects.

Even though Elisha is approaching grade five, he still cannot print more than a couple of sentences at a time without fatigue. Most of our work is done together in a quiet space, away from the noise of the rest of the kids. A great portion of his work is oral and I scribe what he cannot write.

His printing has improved dramatically from when he was little. He actually has very legible and beautiful printing, but it is exhausting and stressful for him to print. Last year we decided to lower his requirements for printing and it is working wonderfully (most days).

We have an awesome OT and Elisha has an IEP that limits the amount of writing that he is actually required to do. We spent this year focusing on strengthening his fine motor abilities.  He has been enjoying activities such as K’nex, Lego, chop sticks, typing, and other fine motor activities.

Moses does not have a diagnoses, but he has struggled with penmanship and spelling among other things. Moses’ struggles seem to be different than Elisha’s.

Moses still prints upper and lower case letters intermingled. He often prints the wrong letters, or the right letters in the wrong direction and says that his brain made him do it (in all sincerity). His printing is difficult to read and inconsistent in size and form. Often he will print entirely the wrong word.

His struggles with spelling are interesting. He can copy words if they are placed beside the paper he is copying onto. He cannot sound out words to spell them, but he can read.

Moses also struggles with understanding and following directions. Directions often need to be broken down into smaller parts and repeated more than once to actually be something that he can follow.

I found an interesting little paragraph while doing some research one day. It talked about dysgraphia. I had heard of this before, but needed to do more research. I am looking into this as a possible diagnoses for some of the issues that Moses is having right now.

Whether or not we pursue a diagnoses (I really dislike labels), I will be looking at ways we can adapt our homeschool for him next year to better meet his needs.

Moses really has an amazing ability to tell stories and is very creative. I want to help him this coming year with his phonics, spelling, reading, and writing so that he can get those stories out.

We make adaptations to fit our family because it works. Every family has different struggles. Right now, we struggle with writing (printing, spelling, etc). We take a very low key, stress free approach to the subject and take our time.

What things do you struggle with in your homeschool?

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