I know that I have several readers who have little ones with spina bifida and are probably interested in how Anna is doing with school.
About three weeks ago, Anna Banana Bugaboo fell on pavement as Rich was bringing the girls into school and landed on her forehead. We keep a first aid kit in the van so Rich attempted to clean her up. It didn't go so well. When the teachers came out to gather the walkers, they allowed Rich to bring Anna in to see the school nurse. She recommended that Anna see a doctor. The girls' pediatrician was closed due to a religious holiday and the back-up pedi was on a lunch break so they ended up in the ER.
Anna received three stitches on her forehead. Luckily, the cut was really close to her hairline and it doesn't look like it will leave a visible scar. She handled it like a champ and wasn't traumatized.
Anna has been in a really good mood lately. She's a happy little kid, pushing through spina bifida.
The girls attended public preschool where the focus on the alphabet consisted of sounds, uppercase letters and rhyming. Kindergarten curriculum aims for "most" kids to be reading by the end of the school year. Our school district is very good with identifying kids who may need extra help and in offering that assistance. A few weeks after school began, the girls were all tested on how quickly they could name uppercase and lowercase letters, sound out letters and rhyme words.
I received a phone call regarding Anna's testing because, apparently, she had scored just below average in a few areas. I kicked myself for not having taught the girls lowercase letters over the summer. They assume that kids entering kindergarten know both upper and lowercase letters and I assumed that they would learn lowercase this year. Anna is also pulled out of class 2 to 3 times a week for OT and PT, which isn't supposed to interfere with learning time but she has brought home worksheets with a note saying that she didn't have time to finish at school because of OT or PT and that she should finish at home.
I know Anna is smart but we have no idea how the hydrocephalus or her shunt affect her ability to learn. I notice that she sometimes seems to have trouble getting what's in her mind onto paper. This may be due in part to the fact that she is left-handed. Her fine motor skills may also be impacted by the simple fact that she has spina bifida. Well, spina bifida is anything but simple.
Emily had high scores for rhyming and sounds but didn't know all of the lowercase letters. Allie managed to score high enough (I don't know her actual scores) that she wasn't identified as needing extra support. I sat down with the Anna and Emily to go through flash cards and see which letters they didn't know. Here are the ones that they were confusing:
- b, d and h
- a and n
- p and q
- u and w (seriously? They are the same lower and uppercase.)
So the kids will be tested once a month to ensure that no one falls behind. I'm not a big fan of kids, especially those like Anna, being tested and compared to peers but I do realize that we're lucky to be in a school district that has these resources. We've been working with the girls at home too. It seems like my theme as of late is that parenting is not easy. I can only imagine what life will be like when the girls have real homework.
The math program for kindergarten does not include addition and subtraction. That's a first grade skill. Yet, Anna can figure basic math problems in her head. She doesn't even need to count on her fingers. 3+3. 5+2. 5-2. (Yes, she is a child of accountants.) Allie asked for extra homework the other day so I wrote 5 math problems on a sheet of paper and gave it to her to answer. She answered 4/5 correctly. It just goes to show that skills are learned at different rates. Hey, I didn't learn to read until a few weeks before I entered first grade and I turned out okay.