It is a strange, strange feeling to sit in a doctor's waiting room while your two year old and five year old take turns reading pages from Hop on Pop.
BubTar is in the highest reading group in his Kindergarten class. They don't really release that information, but he is a Tiger and he said the Tiger team was the ONLY team where everyone knew ALL of the blends. He said all of the other groups only had a few people who knew a few of the blends. Woot for BubTar! I'm ecstatic about his love for reading and his natural ability for it. We really encourage it as much as we can, because a lifelong love for reading is something I want for all of my kids. He is not much of a playing kid, no play sets or actions figures hold his attention. Toys are only good for as long as a playmate is joining in. But books (and video games *sigh*) fit the bill. That being said, if KayTar is reading at BubTar's level (and sometimes above), that means she's reading at a higher level than the majority of BubTar's class and that kind of blows my mind. His Kinder program in itself is advanced, in most school this is closer to first grade level work.
I am sure my constant blathering on about the reading is getting tiresome, but daily, DAILY I am surprised by her and I just can't stop myself. I guess I could, but I don't want to. I've spent over a year going on and on about the negative and right now we have this amazing bright spot and I want to document every minute of it. I spoke to the pediatrician about the hyperlexia diagnosis and she agrees that KayTar fits the criteria. She is asking around to locate someone with experience with the disorder and also looking into special programs around our city for it. We will see where it goes. Her OT told me that when children read but don't comprehend, the easiest way to help the comprehension level increase is matching cards. One deck has only words, the other has only pictures. Once the child reads the word, then need to match it to the picture card, creating a mental link. For now, when KayTar reads "dragon", she understands that D-R-A-G-O-N spells "dragon" but she doesn't know that a dragon is a flying, fire-breathing reptile. The goal is to help the comprehension level match the reading/speaking level. I assume that would also help with her scripting, if she really understood the meaning of the words she was speaking. I plan to talk to her ST this week, we didn't have a session last week.
Yesterday in the doctor's office she started shouting "Stupid beagle! Stupid beagle!" which I can only assume is from one of the Charlie Brown specials that have been so popular at our house as of late. She does not know what "stupid" or "beagle" means, but she sure likes saying it. And LOUDLY. Her auditory memory is quite impressive, she can hear something once and it is locked in forever. Today we bought the Charlie Brown Christmas CD, because they are so very fond of it and it makes car rides so much more pleasant. I put it on at home during lunch and after the first handful of notes of a song she stood up, mimed skating and said "Skates! Do skates!". I looked on the CD case and sure enough that song was entitled "Skating" and she had attached the sounds of that song to the scene and knew it immediately.
We've always known her brain functioned differently and she seemed so shut off from us for such a long time that it was entirely troublesome. But as she gets older and communicates more and we really get a better glimpse into the way she processes it, so many of those worries dissipate and we are left with a kind of awestruck wonder. It doesn't mean that her life will be normal, I think anyone who experiences the world differently has a harder time functioning in it, but we see so much strength in it now...strength that was occluded by so much silence and mystery for the first couple years of her life. We were so worried she would slip away somehow, or never fully emerge and here she is, spreading her butterfly wings and teaching us all a thing or two about life.
This video was from roughly this time last year. It was taken the day I realized she could identify letters. At this point she wasn't speaking. As I rewatched the video, it was startling to see my bright and bubbly chatterbox of a KayTar so silent and withdrawn, and then I remembered, that is how it always was for her. This year has been one giant step forward for her and we could not be more proud. (And I do know her given name is said about 100 times in the video, I still wanted to post it)
And since I'm already breaking the pseudonym rule today, here is a current video of her. It is like night and day from last year. She had been soooo cranky and I took her into the bedroom for some tickling and roughhousing time and was teasing, "I'm KayTar, I'm so whiny!" while tickling her and she got the biggest kick out of it. She is such a big fan, that if she is in fussy mode and I say it, she instantly snaps out of it with giggles. You'll notice that she is tickling herself while saying it. Goober.
(Videos will go bye-bye in a day or so, replaced with pictures most likely, I don't like to leave the names hanging around for too long.)