Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Learning Bursts

My daughter, Missy, is developmentally delayed.  She learns differently than all of my others, even her twin brother.  Over the years, I've discovered that she learns in fits and starts.  She'll learn new things, whether academic or physical, and be "open" to learning for a while.  Then she'll plateau for weeks at a time, not able to learn anything new, even struggling to remember what she had so recently learned.  Then, seemingly without reason, it's like a switch turns and she's back to learning.  I have begun calling these her "learning bursts".

During her academic plateau times, we simply review the basic things she knows.  We cement them into her brain. She reads the same phonics stories and does the same type of math over and over, and gets enough wrong, or needs enough help, that I know her brain is "off".  I continue in these times to read aloud rich literature and have her narrate.  She continues copy work and other hands on projects.  I continue having her sit in on lessons with siblings, even if she doesn't seem to be absorbing the information.  Then, suddenly, she starts getting pages done super fast, without help and reads her stories easily.  I know it's time to introduce new things.

During her most recent learning burst, I had her begin to do her math without the assistance of blocks.  It had taken her over half of a school year to master the use of blocks.  The last time I asked her to attempt problems without blocks she was unable to complete even the simplest of problems.  It was simply to much for her brain to take in.  This time, however, she easily accomplished it.  She did page after page, (asking for more!), and scored 100%.

Today I introduced subtraction.  I explained it and had her try without blocks.  Best to skip a step, right?  Well, that was too much, at least at first.  So she completed her page using blocks and got 100%!  We'll see what tomorrow brings.  I love learning bursts!


  1. Sounds like my dd age 14 adopted at age 10 and my son age 5 adopted at age 16 months. My children are not birth siblings, but both where exposed to drug and alcohol while in the womb. My dd has a horrible memory and was diagnosed to be borderline MR but I think that at the time of her testing she was emotionally outta wack having just been removed from her birthmom. I think shes much smarter than the test says. She does have LD but Im really not sure the names of them. I had her hearing tested but she hears fine. Thinking she may have Auditory Processing Disorder.

  2. As Missy gets older, her "on" learning times are getting slightly longer and longer. It's exciting to see her develop and heal from the trauma of her early days.


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