Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Taste of Success

Math. This word can bring smiles to parents of kids on the spectrum, or it can make you cringe. Math doesn't seem to come easy to Daniel, but it is one of two subjects in school that he does not do modified versions of the curriculum. For those of you who aren't familiar, there is accommodated and modified curriculum's. Accommodated means that they are learning the same concepts, and basically doing the same work. There are just some adjustments to help due to their disability. It could be things like getting more time during a test or a few extra days before taking the test. It may be doing half of the number of problems. Things like that. Modified means that they are not doing the same work. Something about the curriculum's requirements are not being met.

For Daniel, writing, social studies, reading, and science are all modified now. Social studies was the first to go. It is too heavily language based for him. Then came, the rest one after another. This started in about 4th grade. He still does spelling, technology (shocking!) and math as accommodated. He is very strong in spelling. Always has been. He constantly asks me how to spell things and it drives me crazy because he KNOWS how to spell it, he just wants ME to spell it. Why, I do not know. He loves the way that letters sound and as I've mentioned he loves letters. I just think he enjoys hearing words spelled out. He'll look at you with anticipation waiting for the letters to spill off of your tongue. If I'm being a good sport, I'll spell it. If I'm not I'll say, "you spell it". Either way. It will get spelled!

But, math. Math has been a lot of work. He learned touch math in elementary school. I would say it wasn't until about 3rd grade that he really started even doing this sort of work. Before then it was all behavior issues. Let's just say he had some catching up to do. We work our tails off for math. It really depends on the unit on how much he learns.

This year is 6th grade. The math that they do was not long ago, 7th grade work. It all gets pushed down further and further. Most of his tests this year have scored in the high 50% range. While that seems low, his wonderful wonderful teachers continue to say, "He's learning more than 50% of the work!!". How's THAT for a positive attitude? They are gems, for certain. My feeling is that he is probably learning even more than that because test taking is not something I would rank very high on his list of achievements. His two report card marking periods thus far have him passing once you put in all of his homework etc. Last year this was really difficult for me. That was the year that "real grades" started in our district. For a perfectionist like myself seeing a D on a report card is a bit jarring. I have, like usual, gotten over it. You just HAVE to. (If you want to keep your sanity that is) I am actually starting to believe the, "look how much he's learning" mantra. I don't know if this sounds like a "bad mom" but I am surprised at how much he HAS learned. I wouldn't have thought it possible.

Now if you've been reading me long enough you have to know that something "happened" right?? Well it did. Last week he had his latest math test. The unit was adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions. It even included algebra of solving equations, with fractions. Guess what he got on the test. Go ahead. A friggin' 91%!!!!!! Can you believe that? I knew he knew this stuff, but 91%? I've felt equally as confident before only to see a 60%. It's amazing. I'm so happy for him! OK, I'm happy for me too. I'm the "math" person in our house. Which in and of itself is funny, because my husband is an engineer. I'm no slouch with math, but he's an engineer. I am just a bit better at breaking it down for Daniel's understanding. I have to admit to you, my dear internet, that the first thing I thought when I saw that score was, "YES! This will help pull up his grade for the whole marking period!" So, maybe, I haven't moved on TOTALLY from dealing with the low grades. I'm entirely proud of all he does achieve and learn. No matter what. I mean that 100%. But oh, it was a sweet sweet moment to see what he had achieved.


Anonymous said...

WOW! Go Daniel (and Mom)! =)

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

That is just fantastic! My son Nigel is the same way - loves spelling, but math has always been a challenge. That's so great that Daniel's doing well - algebra and fractions even!

Thanks for stopping by today. Best wishes!