Thursday, May 25, 2006

To the Most Wonderful Kid I know...

In the Military, if you are not on Leave (vacation) you are at work. That means 24 hours a day you are on call. In the recruiting world that is especially so. There is also a thing call Liberty. Liberty means you are authorized to leave the Post but you are not on Leave.

I am leaving for Arkansas on Tuesday. Monday is a Holiday and my boss decided to give us all 4 days off or a four day Liberty Pass! Whoo Hoo!

Remember Josiah and Billy? Billy held up his right hand today and is now PVT Billy. Josiah has to wait until next week. He lied on his application and MEPS caught it. Geez those guys are good, they put the screws to these prospective recruits and they fess up. We cleared up Josiah's issues and he goes to MEPS on Wednesday to get a physical and raise his right hand.....IF nothing else pops up.

Funny thing, Josiah had said he didn't know where his mother was and his aunt and uncle were legal guadians. Not. So I found mom, met with her, answered questions and had her sign the parental release forms. However not before I handed her my card and we discussed HER joining the National Guard. You could really see the wheels turning in her mind so I will call her next week from school and see if I can set up a meeting with her and my boss. This is too much fun.

I attended my son's awards ceremony at his school yesterday. I cried. This was his last year in elementary school. He made the Honor Roll for the first time.

When Josh was born he was so bright. He walked at age 8 months and was talking in three word sentances by his first birthday. He could add up to 5 by the time he was three. He was all boy and was wide open from the time he woke (early, since he was an early bird like me) till the time he fell asleep in seconds at night. Yet he never had any interest in trying to read. He would get frustrated with books, wanting only to look at the pictures.

Then came school. By the time he was out of the first grade he still couldn't read. I blamed the teacher (of course) and I decided to take him out of public school and homeschool him. It was very difficult! I tried several different types of reading programs and still he had trouble. I made him write things out and very soon discovered that he was not able to learn by sight. I prayed about it and decided to just chuck everything and start him like I learned when I was in the first grade in Ohio. This was in the years before "Phonics", they just expected you to read.

I sat down with him and made him read a paragraph out of a book. I told him to just try and I would help with the harder words. He would agonizingly struggle slowly through a few sentences. Then I would read the paragraph so he could hear the flow of the words, then he would read it to me again. I soon realized that he could sail through on the second try. Then the light bulb came on in my mind. Joshua is an auditory learner, he learns by hearing not by sight! We continued with this method since it seemed to be working. We worked hard on spelling by rote (out loud) and spelling tests were not in writing but rather like a spelling bee.

Third Grade brought a lot of changes. Grace arrived and I had to return to helping my husband in his office. Joshua was enrolled in public school once again. He was placed in special education classes and I cried. Yet I was determined to get to the bottom of the issue and help him overcome.

The school wanted to label him. I did not. The school wanted their puppet psychologist to evaluate him for ADD or ADHD. I did not. The puppet thought Joshua should be on meds, I REFUSED. I decided to take matters into my own hands.

After months of calling, writing and pestering I got an appointment for Joshua with a highly recommended psychologist that specializes in children with learning disabilities. His office put Joshua through a battery of tests lasting two days. Then weeks of waiting as the tests were analyzed and an appointment made to go over the results. Finally the day arrived and I was so nervous.

We arrived in the esteemed professional's office and he quickly put us at ease. He asked that Josh go play in a playroom while he discussed the results with me. Right away he said that results aside, Joshua was a very pleasant well adjusted boy that was a pleasure to be around. I smiled, said thank you and said that Joshua was a great kid with a great personality. I said "He is just naturally good natured." The psychologist shook his head and said "That doesn't happen by accident." I said "well it helps that he is just naturally a great kid." This time he stopped me and said "Mrs. Fields, I have been doing this a long time. He is a wonderful boy and ...that... doesn't... happen... by... accident." He didn't shout but he was firm. I got tears in my eyes and said a quiet "thank you". It was nice to be told you're doing a good job.

The man continued by going over Joshua's test results, a 122 IQ score (good), slight ADD and a reading disability. He explained that Joshua can't learn by using phonics (no duh) and that endless writing sentences and word lists wouldn't work with him (been there, done that). He said that when he learns that c a t spells cat he then cannot read r a t and know that it spells rat. He said that sounding out words doesn't work with him, that he has to learn each word as it is. sigh. yep. That explained a lot.

The good news was that eventually it would not even be an issue as adults don't read by sounding everything out, they just look at a word and know what it is. He said that Joshua would soon be reading like any adult, but it was going to take time. He also said the ADD was slight and that he recommended meds but it could go either way, so again I refused. He said that was fine and recommended some methods to help Joshua cope.

I took the results to the school. They assigned a person to Joshua to help him with reading everything. I continued to work with him at home, encouraging, challenging, threatening! LOL. It was slow going. Third grade he was doing first and second grade work. Fourth grade was doing third and fourth grade level work with minimal help. This year (fifth grade) was the first year he was doing his own grade level and with NO help from special education teachers. Not only was he finally doing his own grade level on his own ( no special assistance) HE MADE HONOR ROLL!!!!! (tears in eyes)

I was SO proud when they called his name. I walked briskly up to the stage (in uniform) shouting Hooahs and snapping pictures. Then I stopped, looked at that cute little (big) boy with the huge grin on his face, my heart was bursting and I took my fingers and pointed to my eyes then at him and mouthed "I am SO proud of you!!" Then the tears came and I sat down.

He has worked hard. And I am STILL convinced that my little fella is just a great kid, with a great heart and a wonderful attitude. I just happen to be lucky enough to be his mom.

10 Comments:

Blogger Day by Day said...

To Darn Sweet!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006 9:16:00 PM  
Blogger brian said...

Morning proud mother,

Josh reminds me of myself at his age. Bright but struggling with certain aspects, mine was math. He has what I didn't have, support from his parents and teachers.

I am glad you liked the poems, I hope this has moved you in a small way towards liking poetry more. :) If you would like to post any of these poems on your office wall, please feel free to do so. I take my work seriously because many of my poems are based on actual people and the events in their lives. I have written personal poems for many fellow bloggers and it is an open offer to you.

Have a good weekend and a fun liberty next week.

Friday, May 26, 2006 6:21:00 AM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

Brian, thanks for the offer, I WILL take you up on it!

Friday, May 26, 2006 7:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cowgirl said...

Awwwww....

I just can't wait to be a mother.

Friday, May 26, 2006 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Good job, Mom.

Friday, May 26, 2006 1:42:00 PM  
Blogger Pogue said...

You know, you really are quite exceptional.

Friday, May 26, 2006 7:36:00 PM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

awww, I wouldn't say that. seriously. I think most mom's do the same.

Saturday, May 27, 2006 6:26:00 AM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

Pogue, what happened to your website??

Saturday, May 27, 2006 6:27:00 AM  
Blogger Pogue said...

It's actually at http://web.mac.com/philip.ryan/
I haven't figured out how to get blogger to point at it...

Saturday, May 27, 2006 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

hmmmm. There's gotta be a way. Let me see what I can find out.

Sunday, May 28, 2006 6:55:00 AM  

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