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Should I focus more on DS educational needs or SN ?

(15 Posts)
notgivingin789 Fri 30-Dec-16 02:34:32

Hey all,

I have a nearly 7 year old DS who has a severe language disorder (verbal dyspraxia) and communication difficulties. His understanding of language is of a 6 year old but expressively is of a 2 year old !

When DS was younger many therapists advised that I shouldn't really be teaching DS academic stuff and should just focus on his speech and language skills. So I did this, but when DS was nearing 6 he took a high interest in learning the jolly phonics and got on with it well, though he is very behind in his reading and I feel very guilty that I didn't push him as I was so concerned with his speech and language needs. So as of 6 months ago I've been following the jolly phonics structure and DS is flying with it and can blend some words ! Though I know his very behind from his typical age group and I feel very guilty as this was my fault and that I shouldn't of listened to the therapists sad.

I'm finding it very difficult combining teaching DS how to speak/understand and develop his communication skills and teaching him academic stuff. His very into Maths too ! though he finds it difficult to understand new concepts of language (e.g adding, subtracting).

Usually, I would spend the majority of the day teaching DS his language/communication skills and in the evenings, teaching him the academic stuff (I do put more emphasis into reading as it is very important !).

Though I'm worried that I will overload DS with too much language. DS doesn't have any learning difficulties (he has been tested) but as learning to read, numbers, adding/subtracting, dividing etc. are in itself a language, I'm finding that I have to over teach him.

What do you Mumsnetters advise ?

InTheDessert Fri 30-Dec-16 16:08:16

I have no background in this, but here are my thoughts.
Does your son attend any for of school? Your message sounds like your are fully home educating. Is that right?
If going fully HE, go with his interests. It sounds like he is interested in the maths, so why not give it a go? If you are trying to HE to get to a point where he can integrate into a school, you will need to cover some maths before you try to integrate him.
BUT "majority of the day.....Evenings" that's a lots of input time. How would he fair if you cut that back, and incouraged language and maths going out shopping, cooking, cutting, and learning through fun rather than teaching - apologies if this is already what you are doing or not possible for you both.
Good luck with your journey.

notgivingin789 Fri 30-Dec-16 18:43:05

Thanks indesert DS goes to a specialist school full time. We dot lots of learning language through play- which helps with attention/listening and his language and communication skills. This is what I do the majority of the day.

I was worried that I was overwhelming him to learn too much language (eg. Maths, reading).

irvineoneohone Fri 30-Dec-16 19:08:50

I am not so clear on how much your ds understand concepts in general.
Does he only have difficulty expressing and speaking?
Is he ok to understand what it says in the books, videos, etc?
If so there are a lot online maths programs he can try and enjoy. Except for word problems, maths doesn't really involve any language, just few signs.
When my ds was younger, he wasn't able to explain to me how he got the answer, but he was capable to understand the concept and use it.
Sorry if I was talking total rubbish.

BarbarianMum Fri 30-Dec-16 20:03:20

I would concentrate on his communication skills tbh His academic skills appear to be developing just fine (no 6 year old can be 'very' behind on literacy) and its a hard old world if you can't advocate or express yourself.

monkeywithacowface Fri 30-Dec-16 20:09:43

I was in your position 3 years ago. We focussed on the speech and communication side of things and like your DS he was very behind his peers in reading, writing and maths. We found everything really clicked into place in yr3 and although still behind his academic progress really sped up. He's 9 now and has been flying through the book bands this year and has even started reading things like beast quest on his own. Maths was a real concern at the end of last year but it's starting to click and we work on it at home too.

So personally I would say focus on the speech but still spend time enjoying books at home.

notgivingin789 Fri 30-Dec-16 20:10:08

irvine so yes DS has difficulty in understanding language and expressing it. His understanding has been assessed to be of a 6 year old so he does understand what happens in books.

mrz Fri 30-Dec-16 20:25:11

What do the therapists say now?

smu06set Fri 30-Dec-16 20:31:48

My thoughts would be variety is good. Even in non language specific lessons (so maths, etc) you are learning how to express yourself, and swapping between subjects will keep things interesting and your DS engaged. Does that make sense?

irvineoneohone Fri 30-Dec-16 20:34:24

If his understanding is of a 6 year old's at 7, He isn't really behind at all in that respect.
Of course the speech is first priority, but you can still introduce him to other things which interests him.
Maths concepts are easy to understand using practical items. I found the ideas using lego pieces for times table concepts, or simply +/- , or number bonds very useful.
Place value can be done with simple abacus. Fractions with cutting pie or pizza. All very visual practical ways to understand basic concepts without a lot of verbal explanation.

notgivingin789 Fri 30-Dec-16 20:44:40

Thanks irv but his expressive speech is of a two year old and a massive disorder in his communication skills sad. But thanks for your suggestions !! I can make things a lot more visual. Like today DS and I went shopping. I told him to pick up two bottles, to which he did and then told him to take away one bottle. This must of seemed a bit puzzling for him but it worked grin.

irvineoneohone Fri 30-Dec-16 20:57:29

I don't know if this maybe useful for you or not, but this site has lots of free printable resources.

lacebell10 Sat 31-Dec-16 05:13:19

Sorry this has turned into a long post.
If he has a problem expressing have you considered using sign language? Any concept is best learnt within a situation and fun. Well done for using shopping. Its perfect for maths and language. We forget how much we need language for. But if you can spend the time taking him to shops it can be useful to ask him to make choices and express preferences. Talk about colours green grapes or red grapes. Has he got enough pocket money to buy a magazine and/or sweets? Using subtraction. Forget about formal teaching esp if he is at school. Lots of the orchard games will have maths and language involved, a simple snakes and ladders will have lots of addition and subtractions in, use tablet apps to make it fun such as squeebles or pirate phonics. Simple things like going to a shop and giving him 10p coins and letting him choose a sweet. Then working out what coins to give the shopkeeper. Laying the table commentary will do simple addition and subtractions. Most all give him 'white space' and lots of time to respond. And try not to force it to be a spoken response at this age any response be it written, gesture etc encourages dialogue and an attitude to keep trying and it's not hard work.

lacebell10 Sat 31-Dec-16 05:48:02

Having worked 25 years with deaf people in senior management positions (them as well as me), facilitating deaf students on postgraduate courses and universities, not having clear speech is not the barrier it was 20 years ago. Technology has moved on so much in that time (text to speech on mobile phones let alone laptops ).
The biggest barrier I found is literacy and reading .. It is those which are used to access the modern world these days.
My last students used draft text messages rather than pen and paper to order in shops....
Even 999 and the non emergency number have become accessible by text messages for mobiles registered with the service. Slowly being rolled out throughout the country.

notgivingin789 Sat 31-Dec-16 15:58:22

Hi lacey yes DS uses Makaton (since he was 2) and I still use Makaton with him since this day. He is going to be assessed (after the new year) to see if he can have one of those AAC talking devices. I usually hold the money and would just give DS a £1.00 coin as I know what ever he gets can't be more than 80p but I will definitely start giving him his own pocket money and learning how to count and use the money in shops.

Yes you are right about reading and writing, it is a life still and as to why I'm putting so much emphasis on it.

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