Danny got a progress report today. This year, he has been getting all A's and B's, which is why this particular report was so discouraging to me. In every subject except for Spelling, his grade has gone down to a C.
I am not sure why all of a sudden his grades have plummeted. I know math has become more difficult for Danny now that they are progressing into more abstract ideas. Also, they've started double digit addition and subtraction, which he's a bit slow with.
Ever since Danny has started school, I have heard grave warnings that he may start having difficulties with his schoolwork. Teachers, other parents and some therapists have told me that learning disabilities sometimes accompany autism and SPD. It makes sense, really. If a kid has difficulty understanding abstract ideas, he's probably going to have problems in school at some point.
We've been lucky so far, but I'm nervous now that he's in first grade and his work requires a lot more abstract and critical thinking skills.
So, in the last hour or two, I have devised a plan. I know this plan won't eradicate all his potential school problems, but I feel strongly that it will help him make more connections and more progress.
First off, we bought a set of math flash cards. Danny's biggest strength is his memory, and while I know he won't be able to get by on rote memorization alone (nor would I want him to be able to) I do think memorizing some of the basic math problems will help him. It seems like the more he practices, the more he starts seeing patterns. So, not only will the flash cards help him become quicker and more adept at addition and subtraction, but I believe they will help him start understanding what he is actually doing.
The second part of the plan includes Legos.
Yes, when I say Legos I do mean those multicolored little blocks with which my son is currently obsessed. Though I cringe at the thought of bribing my kid to do schoolwork, I know that if I want him to read more, I'll have to make it fun. Since Danny regularly fights me when I ask him to do extra reading, I knew I had to get creative or he would fight me all along the way. And really how do you make a kid read when he doesn't want to?
So, I devised a system where Danny earns 5 points every time he reads a book to me. He has chosen his prize: a Lego Space Police ship that costs about $25. In order to win the ship, he has to earn 300 points, which is roughly the equivalent of reading a book every day for two months.
Danny loves my reading program idea so far, though today is the first day. We'll see how he does over the long haul. I have warned him that it will take a long time to earn the Legos, but he assured me he can be patient.
And I know he's right, especially when it comes to Legos.