I am talking about that kid again, yeah the one who seems to get the most blog time lately, but this to varying degrees applies to all four of the kids with special needs.
Yesterday after school Lauren was doing her homework and since Hanna was doing nothing except chewing up her blanket I told her to join us. I then asked her to spell three words airplane, puppy, and house. These are words that she had gotten correct on her spelling tests recently so I figured she knew them and we could use them to write some sentences. She did not have a clue as to how any of the three words is spelled. The question then becomes has she really learned anything in school, is she gaining knowledge that can help her to function in society, and since she really does not know how to spell these words why is she being given credit for that skill? I also asked her to write me a sentence and she gave me that look, the one that says "I have no idea what you are talking about",(yet she can write sentences at school), and finally I asked her to write down any five words that she thought she could spell. She came up with four that she did spell correctly (a, cat, Hanna, and boy). Since we were not getting very far in the English, spelling area I decided to work of measuring. I got out a ruler and showed her several times how to measure six inches and then I asked her to measure six inches of string for me, she unraveled about five feet of string and told me it was right.
The point of this is that if the kid really has not mastered the skill they should not be given credit for having the ability to do it. It will do no good in the long run to give the impression that Hanna can do things that she can`t. What this does is set the bar beyond her ability. Now for those who say you need to be positive, give her hope, and everyone is a winner, lets just say that there is a reality here and she needs to live within that reality. She has abilities that are positive, She is a very hard worker, she is comfortable with tasks that require a great deal of repetition, and she can stay on a task until it is complete. Those are skills that not everyone has. I think I would go completely nuts if I did the same things every single day. It you let her do the things she does well at her level she will be able to function better because she will not be fighting a losing battle trying to keep up when she can`t. I am not saying that we should not have her try new things just get real about how well she does them because this mom will figure it out when that is not happening and I am not about to give her the impression that she is really great at things if she is not. I will give her credit for trying when she has given something her best effort, but I think that she figures things out and knows when she does not understand. She must feel really frustrated when she does not understand and people are giving the impression that she does. Hanna, just like everyone else is one of a kind and lets just let it be that way.