Despite our concerns about Nolan's hearing levels, the boy is doing wonderfully in school. He is pulled out every day by his TOD (teacher of the deaf, also known as a D/HH teacher, depending on where you live). He also gets pulled out twice in a six day cycle for speech therapy. His TOD works a lot on his language and reading skills, so he gets an extra boost in this area.
The school district performs standardized testing (aren't our schools all about the standardized testing these days?) to determine which children might need help with certain skills. Nolan did wonderfully on the Aimes-Web assessment:
If you aren't familiar with the format of the test results, an explanation follows:
The dark line under the gray rectangle is the "benchmark." They expect all students to perform at or above this line. Children who perform under the benchmark (target) line are referred for extra help with reading.
The gray rectangles depict the average range for children in Kindergarten. "KF" denotes "Kindergarten - Fall" and "KW" denotes "Kindergarten - Winter." This shows the individual growth of a child from one quarter to the next.
The dot is Nolan. He's sitting on top of the long pole on a few of the measures. This means that he is outranking his normal hearing peers by a considerable distance. Yes, this is bragging. Shameless, shameless bragging.
- They test letter naming fluency (LNF) - how many letters the child can name in a minute. Nolan scored 100%.
- He did very well for letter sound fluency (LSF), too. He's in the average range for this skill. He had to provide the sound each letter makes within a certain time period.
- He's also in the average range for the PSF (phoneme segmentation fluency). In this test, the child is given a word (orally), and the child has to break down the word into individual phonemes. If given the word "named," for example, the child would break it down into "n - a - m - d."
- The last test is nonsense word fluency (NWF) and Nolan rocks at this skill. They give the child fake words, like "wib" and "kuf" to see if they can read the word using the rules of phonics. Nolan is awesome at sounding out words.
Nolan is starting to read anything and everything - I find him reading quietly upstairs after school. I love it.
The only areas of "developing" status have to do with his fine motor skills, which have always been on the radar. He doesn't really qualify for OT yet, but we're monitoring it and working with him at home. Hopefully his hand strength and coordination will improve with age (he's an August birthday, so a "younger" five year old in the Kindergarten class).
Writing sample, 5 years, 5 months. Not too shabby!
As far as his "special services," we have noticed some regression with certain speech sounds and sound discrimination. He may have lost more hearing, and if his FM isn't on, he can't hear (he is FM dependent, particularly at school).
His TOD has the following notes:
- Nolan's ability to produce /ch/ and /j/ has decreased, and we have discussed that being, in part, a possible function of a decrease in hearing.
- I have him walk ahead of me and give him random words and phrases to repeat and he can do this with his FM on in a very quiet setting.
- He cannot perform this task if his FM is not on.
- Nolan is struggling with determining whether two words rhyme (he used to have no difficulty with rhyming words).
- Overall language skills are good considering level of hearing loss.
- Grammar errors such as "I have saw it before," "He didn't want to get caughten," and "He runned away."
- Overgeneralizes plurals - adds /s/ to everything: snowmens, foots, ghostus, etc.
- Vocabulary holes for many basic words, including needle, broom, pot, and vase (examples).
- Difficulty with directional activities including "behind" and "beside."
- Difficulty with 2-step direction coloring task (would reach for each color as soon as she said the word so he wouldn't have to store the information in his auditory memory).
His speech language pathologist has the following notes:
- Nolan sometimes has a slushy, lateral "z" or a whistling "s" when in therapy. These sounds are usually slushy when used spontaneously.
- Discrimination of correct vs. error sounds varies from session to session and is tied to his hearing.
- Some word specific errors such as, "renember," "meed" (for need).
- Inconsistent /ch/ and /l/ sound.
Overall, Nolan is doing really well. Some of his errors are probably typical for any 5 year old child (using "runned" instead of "ran," for instance). Some are obviously tied to his hearing, particularly sounds that he used to have and has now lost (he had a crystal clear /s/ sound at the age of 2, and it is now very slushy, for example).
I am anxious to get his hearing test done on the 13th, as that may provide some insight into some of his recent difficulties. He is academically on target and his reading skills are fantastic for a child of his age, so I can't complain!