Saturday, April 19, 2014

Learning Styles

Today I took a class on learning styles. There really was no focus on just a specific population, even though the class was supposed to be geared towards special needs kids. The focus fell on everyone because supposedly there are only a handful of learning styles & we all fall into one of them and spill over a little into the others (if we fall into the others at all).

We were asked to pick a drawing that represented us best. We had a beach ball, a clipboard, a microscope & a puppy to choose from.

I'm a clipboard, I think? I like lists (even though I rarely follow through with them). I like deadlines (otherwise I would never get it done). I like to feel in control of my life. I love to be organized!! Unfortunately I've been climbing up a growing mountain of chaos towards the goal of organization for over 3 decades. Only small parts of my life seem to stay organized for over 3 months. I like schedules (although I cannot keep them if I have to create & do them on my own). I like writing in general.. you can write on a clipboard. I'm detail oriented (sometimes to the point of making myself crazy!!)

But then I definitely have the beach ball side (the fun side). This involves spontaneity, creativity, multi-tasking & energetic qualities.

Scott's the microscope. What the microscope people wrote as their qualities and needs described him to a "t". Even the way the 4 groups stood was interesting - the puppies huddled close together, the microscopes stood evenly apart, the beach balls were scattered & the clipboards had their arms crossed, somewhat guarded & defensive. She said these groups end up standing like this in nearly all of her classes.

I learned that all kids need to know what's coming. She talked about why this is important & ways to do this - she was basically saying what is CONSTANTLY reiterated in the world of autism. And I told her that. There were only a few other people in the class with autistic children. It was interesting to me personally because I didn't realize my other 2 kids could be helped so much by this. I told her that as well.

The minute I mentioned Judah and his diagnosis and characteristics, everyone in the room suddenly looked at me differently. People approached me. One woman had a post-it note with a list of potty-training ideas & the name of a book. Two people recommended elementary schools that they knew had good special needs classes. Some people asked me about Judah & others commented on how hard it must be because his language is so limited. It was weird.

I talked too much. By the 2nd project the instructor told me, "I already know a lot about you..", haha. That was when we had to draw or write 3 things that we do well or really enjoy on a card and place it in front of us for everyone to see. She read off each person's three items & asked them a couple of questions about them - and then gave us each a sequence of letters to write on the back of our card.
I was comfortable with the personal, open conversation between the instructor and I in front of a lot of people (it happened often). I've become a new person in this way. I was able to see the old me (how I typically would have been in this situation) in someone else there.. that was interesting.

These letters that she asked us to write represented multiple intelligences - verbal/linguistic, logical/mathematical, visual/spatial, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalist, musical/rhythmic, & bodily/kinesthetic.

She gave me letters that stood for intrapersonal, bodily/kinesthetic & verbal/linguistic. Bodily/kinesthetic? I don't see it, but that's definitely Judah! This was to show us the ways that we learn and how different all of these paths to learning are- if your kid wants to go home & sing his homework, let him. He will learn it that way. She advised us to mention these things to their teachers & also to mention anything going on in their life that may detour their learning. I do the latter pretty much every single time I drop Judah at class.

Another big point was that we teach the way that we learn - which isn't going to help our kid if they don't learn that way! Teach their way. Again, just like with autism. You enter their world, find what they love & teach through that. She mentioned that giving kids choices ensures that they have a personal interest in the topic- again, autism.

I gained some ideas to use with the kids - taking pictures to help them remember! She suggested putting a picture on their backpack to help them to remember to bring something or on the back of their bedroom door, etc. Allow kids to rearrange their rooms in way that fits them. Hmmmm.. not sure about that one! haha. The freedom to rearrange isn't really there for them as they hardly have any space - but this concept could be used in other areas/ways. Focus on effort, not grades!

Scott did lots of shopping today - one trip with Bash & the second with Willow & Judah. Sebastian and I got some together time, that doesn't happen often. Reminding him of that instantly helped him decide that he would stay. :)

We are waiting to hear back from lady who is interested in helping Judah.

Judah started using his Cars e-book on his Leap Frog Ultra today - he is learning it much quicker than I thought he would! That touch screen helps so much! He was so excited when any of us approached him and saw what he could do! He would run away with a big smile on his face, throw his hands in the air and then come right back! And he shared his Leap Frog too! So now we know that the e-books are something he can do & develop skills from. Thomas will be next. ;)

Judah was saying "O-tay!" consistently today!!

The kids had lunch with Gramma & Papa and ran the Lancaster mall afterwards. Then Gramma & Papa went home to prepare for Tim & Erin's arrival & Easter lunch.

Judah pooped once. He had 1 tablespoon (one dose) of the doctor prescribed L-carnitine. He had 2 doses of Docusate Sodium, 2000 i.u. vitamin d, three tablets 125 mg folinic acid with b-12, 1 tsp fish oil, one probiotic & we forgot the nose drops. He had 2 doses of Miralax . He took the sleep supplement, 5 - HTP (100 milligrams). He also took 1/2 a pill of Bethanechol in the morn, & the other half in the evening.


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