Sunday, October 18, 2015

ABC It's Easy As 123

Pervasive Parenting

By Kodey Toney

ABC It’s Easy As 123

Parent teacher conferences were held last week, and I made the journey to talk to Konner's teachers. While we did discuss some behavior issues I wanted to share the news of his grades with everyone. He made all As except a B in reading. 

This may sound like I'm bragging, that's because I am. I am very proud of his progress academically. 

I do want to discuss that B though. Reading may be a difficult subject for a child on the spectrum. 

Konner has no problem reading the words. His recognition of words and sounding them out is on an extremely high level. 

It's the comprehension that gets him. 

This is not surprising when you think about it, especially at the fifth-grade level he's at now. 

They are starting to get into literary works which include the things that really stump him like metaphors, similes, and idioms. The figures of speech cause his literal brain to work overtime. He doesn't understand most of them, and what he does understand he has to slow down to try to make himself process the silly expressions. 

This really came to light tonight as I heard Konner read from a series called the My Weirder School series. It's a great series that includes titles like "Mrs. Lane Is a Pain!" And "Mr. Burk is Berserk!". They include many little quips and figures of speech, but they tend to explain them as they go along. 

For instance, the main character named A.J. exclaims that someone is pulling his leg, but follows that by explaining that he's not really pulling his leg because that would be silly. “It’s just a figure of speech,” he explains.

He also talks about being as tired as a one-armed man hanging wall paper.

These little things seem small to us because we use this language every day, but it's these little things that cause children on the spectrum to have lower grades in comprehension. Again, they take everything so literally that they have a hard time understanding those lines. One line like this can throw an entire story off, or take up more time in processing the story. When many of the test they take now days is on a computer and it’s timed it makes things harder for these literal processors.

When reading with Konner I try to stop on some of these lines as we go along and ask him what it means. I then try to explain it if he doesn't understand. This little coaching can go a long way in helping a child in the spectrum understand literature better.

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