Special Needs - Help for specific needs, & Determining needs

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum

Special Needs - Help for specific needs, & Determining needs

Unread post by cbollin »

MFWK for a child who has writing issues
momto2bears wrote:My son who will be 5 in July has been in special ed preschool because of a speech delay as well as motor skill delays. Is this program ok for those who are slower to write????

There are lots of really good things in MFW K for handwriting with special ed kids. A lot of the same things that my dd#3's Occupational Therapist does with her ---are in the MFW K program. I think it would work well. Before you get around to dealing with the pencil, you have the textured letter tracing, and other tactile activities.

Rejoicing with you in the progress.

Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: MFWK for a child who has writing issues

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi again Caren! (I just wrote another post to you.) I have been perusing a book from the library called "A Biblical Home Education" by Ruth Beechick (I hope it's okay to put this book title in my message). It is a great book from a well-respected author from the Charlotte Mason philosophy. There is an actual appendix entitled "Crossed-Dominance Problems" on pg 197 that sounds like what you are talking about. It gives several exercises to help with these problems that you might want to check out.

Although I am not dealing with the same issues, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. My own ds was legally blind in one eye back when he was 3.5 and was starting to cross one eye. Now, through two years of doctor's visits, different eyeglass prescriptions, and eyedrops his vision was last measured at 20/40!!

Last August, when we began K, any kind of pencil, marker, crayon was a strugggle. MFWK has been a big blessing! We have had practice with writing, forming letters, tactile activities, textured letters, other games where we recognized things visually or orally and don't have to write, just a wealth of different ways to learn. It's been balanced with not too much writing overload and he is still working at it.

Another way to help handwriting is to supplement MFWK with Handwriting Without Tears. I think they compliment each other well.

God will bless your efforts to help your child!
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:23 pm

Re: MFWK for a child who has writing issues

Unread post by Heidi »

I recommend reading Diane Craft's Brain Integration Therapy Manual. I just came back from FPEA convention and went to Diane Craft's classes.

I have done MFW-K once - with dd - who has opposite problems - and she sped through it - so I learned it is very flexible program.

This year I started it with ds just about 2 months ago - we do about 2-4 lessons each week. I use the MFW pre-school manipulatives alot still with him in lieu of most of the writing portions when we are done as his independent quiet work and only require him to learn the direction of how to write his letters via doing alot of tactile exercises and I put tracing lines down for him and let him pracitce "one really good one" after he has traced the bold one several times first with his finger then his pencil. I do not do more writing.

For the drawing - we first did extra cutting and pasting of same objects asked to be drawn. Now, I divide that section in half - and I do one line - he copies with lines I have traced fro him on his side - until a very simple object is drawn. I do a wooden and magnetic calendar and weather board rather than writing more. Basically, I adapt all the writing exericises down to a 2-3 year old level - but, continue with the learning of material.
FL Mommy of 3 "sensational" kids
Homeschooling since Fall 2004
Child 1: Blue LLATL/MFW 1, Adventures, ECC
Chld 2: MFW-K, MFW-1+ joined Adv, ECC
Child 3: MFW-PK, MFW-K + joined ECC

Special Needs

Unread post by cbollin »

Hi. I'm finding a lot of help for my dd by using things on a website called starfall.com We were struggling with getting our dd interested in the calendar. But she got interested in the days of the week from that website and then was able to transfer the skill over to the calendars in MFW K. sniff sniff. oh the progress she is starting to make.

My chlid is a sensory seeker, and loves to sing and dance. So for the 10 days of the creation unit, we did a lot of sensory play. I ended up singing a little Creation Rhumba song close to the tune of Numbers Rhumba that The Wiggles sing.

And then we've had a lot of cross-over activities with speech and language goals with the K program so far. There's a little bingo card, letter and sound identification game in the K program. And we've been able to cross over with having her follow multi-step direction.

MFW comes with small white bingo pieces. We went ahead and made bigger ones as well. Then we could vary the instructions: Pick up the small white square and put it on the letter that says /sss/. Or pick up the big red circle and....

And then the blue letter cards (it'll make sense when you see it) --- we were able to have her look for a certain one out of a bunch of them.

We haven't gotten too far into the main science units just yet. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to teach those parts as well. The phonics is going well. and the creation unit went well. It was nice to have her do a project with glue and paper and stuff and not just "stim out" on pouring glue (all the parents of kids on the spectrum are thinking --yep been there done that). a little at a time :)

Analogies: The parts of MFW K that may be hard for our kids will be the analogies that are used in the science lessons --- such as Jesus is the light of the world. I think "our" kids can understand a lot of it even when it is hard. There are lots of hands on ways to teach the lessons. And when it is bathed in prayer --- let's just say pass the tissue box.

I like that the lessons are short. A little at a time.

Fine Motor skills: you will have lots of time to work with fine motor development. MFW K uses a lot of tactile teaching methods for handwriting. You can help with hand over hand with scissors or adjust that part if needed and just do the cutting for her and let her learn how to do the gluing.

Hoping that encourages you a bit --there's a lot of us out there with kids with labels.



Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:59 pm
My autistic 5.5 y.o is trying to do MFW K as part of everything we do with her.

My hardest struggle with using MFW K with her is that I have no idea if she understands any of the science or character lessons. I'm glad that we stay on one unit in science for 6 days. It takes about that long for her to be able to repeat anything. It took us 4 days of just saying "the moon reflects light" while she played with a flashlight in a dark room. You know how it is with our kids --- we just don't know what they do understand.

But I cannot even describe the joy I had on this past Sunday morning when she was walking from our van into church. She looked up in the sky, saw the moon setting and pointed it to and said "MOON! Flashlight!"

Yeah, it was hard that the only way that she would sing This Little Light of Mine (an idea in the moon lessons) was to sing it along with Veggie Tales sing a long CD. But she sang it.

We do about 5 minutes of MFW K at a time with her. There is a lot of really good stuff in MFW K for our special learners. The tactile multisensory approach is there for learning everything. Our kids are going to take longer. Just last night my dh and I were wondering if she'd do MFW K this year and next year. We just never know those things.

All of the daily math activities that we do in MFW K as part of the math --- wow! It's just been great to help learn about all kinds of things that I wasn't sure how/when we'd help our child.

My dd's occupational and speech therapist really like what they see in the worksheets and program overall. They are helping us to use the handwriting sheets. We took in the Lauri textured letters to the therapy clinic and it's just been a good fit for us.

The routine that is built into the program is very helpful. (Thank you Marie.) Marie Hazell's background as a speech therapist and even a bit of experience teaching in a special ed K classroom really shines through in her K program.

Autism isn't the same as DS. But that's been my experience with this program. We might have to do it twice, but that's ok isn't it?

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:50 am
Some other things I've done that help my 5.5 y.o who does have diagnosed delays. (maybe it will help someone who has a K age child who is still struggling even after waiting and watching for a few months for more readiness)

*I require just one letter (or number) per line as well as writing her name. for pencil work. It can even be just the one to be traced.
*a trick from her occupational therapist -- I stand behind my dd and apply gentle pressure on her forearm to help.
*we sometimes slip that worksheet under a page protector and use a wipe off marker
*I've been known to use finger paints to encourage finishing more of the page. Again, having the paper under a page protector helps a bit to let them try again.
*and use the textured letters to trace (with finger) the other parts of the page.

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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:24 am

thank you thank you thank you

Unread post by WindriderMom »

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:40 pm

that is so comforting to hear. I have been frustrated doing preK with my 5 yo, just the colors..I thought he had red, blue and yellow and then we got to green and now he mixes them all up. He will tell my husband the right colors most of the time, but with me he doesn't seem to know. Then I made the mistake of thinking of the next 13 years of this and getting overwhelmed.

I can do a year over, my own brother was special needs and did K twice. After that he was able to progress on his own terms.

I think I will go ahead with MFW K - maybe starting in Jan...after we get these basic concepts down - colors, up down, big little, in out...
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 10:23 pm

how we adapt and what works for us

Unread post by Heidi »

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:57 am

My now 4.75 year old ds has diagnosed fine motor delays - though his big motor skills are caught up after one year of OT for which he just "graduated" (yeah !). He actually a "twice exceptional child" in that he has both special needs/delays and is also gifted.

1. I pace his MFW-K like a pre-schooler - we do about 30-60 minutes 3-4x weekly, then stop. I do not care if it takes a year and a half to complete. He loves doing school like his big brother and sister.

2. I stick to Charlotte Mason's ideas as his primary MFW-K expereince - I do little bits each day and primarily work on his habits above all else. I.E. Learning to complete his chores and double check them for quality, sitting correctly, holding his pencil correctly, coming to school on time with pencils sharpened, keeping his desk and room neat, being quiet during school time, polite manners, etc.

3. For his handwriting - my goals are basic a) correct letter formation, b) correct letter recognition, c) fun fine motor skill practice

4) My method:
a) Whtaever slow pace we take, I have him do the yellow lessons in the given order as this has him using his large muscles to learn letter formation first with tactile reinforcement.

b) Then I either put a trace line or dots down. He can not yet do but a very few letters with out this - I say so what, I homeschool to work at his pace. He struggles with writing - we go slow like a snail. He is way ahead in language and comprehension - we run like the wind to keep up.

c) Then I have him trace it with his finger correctly several times and have him repeat, " I can do this, it is not hard, it just takes time and I have time." This is because my child tends to never stop talking, so I have him talk to himself to help him concentrate on what he is doing.

d) I have him "practice" 1-3 letters and NO MORE. I would much rather he work his hardest a very few but correct times than have a page full of horrible and he hate it. I learned this in Charlotte Mason's books.

e) I have in the back of my heart and mind that this beautiful child may not ever be a handwriting expert, but so what - he is gifted with language and comprehension skills, he is intelligent, loving and so we will emphasize these things and at about 6-7 if he is still struggling this hard in writing we will teach him typing skills and let him do his writing on a keyboard instead and continue to let him share his knowledge and teach him orally.

f) While I am working with the other two - he is "playing" with puzzles, pegs, light bright, play doh, laces, - all things that continue to develop his fine motor skills with out him knowing it. We use to do these as his pre-school and could hardly do them. Now, they are his "independent quiet homework".
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Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

K or 1?

Unread post by my3boys »

kayben wrote:My dd is 6 1/2 she completed K in christian school last year. She did fine. But I decided to use MFWK because she still struggled with writing and fine motor skills. The thing is she knows all letter sounds and can read the last books of the K program. Three letter words are not fluent, she can read level 1 bob books etc. and gets the humor in these early readers, but I guess my question is would you start First with limited writing skills (by the way, she will always have low muscle tone and writing will always be a struggle). Suggestions? K or 1. I would love any advice. Also does anyone modify the writing activities and have suggestions. Thanks!!

I will also be starting Adv. with my second grader after Christmas.
I would just encourage you to continue through the program doing everything in the guide. If one days work is too much to do at one sitting, just do half a days work at each sitting and pick up where you left off next time. We did another K program and then moved to MFWK as well - MFW is a more streamlined approach. At the beginning of the program my ds knew all his letters and their sounds and he had read the first few Bob Books with difficulty - but he was frustrated with reading and writing and didn't like school time.

Now we are on week 12 and he is always asking to do school. At week 9 (I think) you will start blend ladder activities with the letters that your dd has reviewed up until that point. Last week (week 11) we took the Bob Books back out and he has read one every couple of days with a much greater fluency than he had a couple of months ago - he is still very tired after reading a book though. At the beginning I only asked ds to write the letter twice as best he could on the MFW writing sheet - he is now willing and able to do almost the whole page (though not very neatly). One product that I have found to be very effective for letter review is a movie by leapfrog called 'The letter Factory' - because the songs really stick I have found my boys much quicker to remember a letters name or sound.

Your dds may want to do some of Adventures together and some parts of K together while keeping their own pace with math and LA. Also for math we have found the K activity with the 100 chart and counting sticks really effective - both my little guys can count to 80 now by ones and by tens and they understand the concept - they are looking forward to our 100 party!

Anyway, all that to say that i think you will see progress if you follow the guide and go step-by-step through the program. After all the curriculums I've tried I am really amazed at the progress I've seen in my children over the past couple of months with MFW.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
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An older child with special needs

Unread post by wisdomschool »

rickysmom wrote:I have a son who is mildly mentally handicapped. I have looked at MFW curriculum for years but it has never been a good fit for him. I noticed that the web site says that the kindergarten unit study could be used up to 8 years old. Has anyone out there used it for an older child? Any ideas about using it for a child with special needs? I would appreciate any input I can get.
My son isn't handicapped, yet he was 6 y.o. when we used MFW A-Z(almost 7y.o. when we finished it).

He had a great year, enjoyed it, did well, learned alot.....it worked very well for him to be on the older side going through it, as he is very perfectionistic, and to be overly challenged would have caused to much frustration.....

I now that doesn't speak to your particular situation, but I just wanted to share that MFW A-Z does work well for multi ages!

Momma & Teacher to my super seven:

Elijah-3 y.o.
Micah-2 y.o.
Eden-3 mo.
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Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:50 pm

Unread post by my3boys »

I am using MFW K with a 7yo with learning disabilities. He is using it with his 5yo brother. This is the third K program that I have used with him and it has by far been the best suited to his needs.

The reading lessons are seperate from the themed units which works well for him - we do the unit lessons in the morning and the reading lessons after lunch so he only has to concentrate for short periods of time. At first I had to shorten the amount of written work in some of the reading lessons, but I don't have to do that very often anymore. The reading lessons are much more streamlined and hands-on than what I had used before with him. I have added Handwriting Without Tears to his reading lesson time. You can expand the reading you do on the unit subjects with library books or extra science experiments - we've been expanding the science with extra nature study activities.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR

Unread post by cbollin »

Hi Patty!!!

I'm using MFW Kindy with my autistic kid. I've left about 15 posts in the Kindy forum with how it is going for us. God is doing great stuff with the program for our child.

Here's one of the posts that I wrote this year with my kid
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... goat#44618
It describes really how God pulled it all together to teach her. I was just hanging out where HE was.

and from the Nest unit
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... tism#41120

maybe those will be enough to get a flavor of what we do. We add in more library dvd's on the topic to help her want to know more. we help more with letter writing (but she's getting there) and the hands on math is great. I love how the activities in the K manual just seem to natural cross over with stuff that we need to work on with her.

Most of the hard part for my daughter was working with the worksheets in the beginning. But even then the more we used the Lauri textured letters the easier it is getting. However, I should say that she is 6.5 and we don't think she has global cognitive delays with the autism. But it's hard to know when expressive/receptive language is so delayed. she tests around age 3.5 in language.

But, we have been very blessed using MFW K with our autistic daughter. I was so glad we waited a year past her so-called Kindy age.

The math routine has been great with very hands on. Writing practice is hard, but she also gets occupational therapy outside of home to help there too.

oh, Patty, I can't describe the joy we have using K with her. So many times we've enjoyed hearing her read/repeat the lesson themes. And to sit back and pray and watch how God will use it. There's nothing like it when she reads those badges each unit with us and repeats it. Then we get to use play time mixed with school.

Keep asking. But it's working over here with the language delays

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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:43 am

Re: An older child with special needs

Unread post by rickysmom »

Thanks so much for the help! My ds is 10 years old and he is still at a kindergarten level. I sometimes get so discouraged. I have had a hard time finding anyone willing to help. Thanks for the encouragement, I think he may be ready for MFWK soon!!!!!

Kindergarden with Visually Impaired DD (and preschooler)

Unread post by cbollin »

Mexmarr wrote:My daughter is 5, and will be 6 in November. She is legally blind. She can see some, though. She distinguishes colors. She knows most of her letters. She can tell what they are if they are written big (or what is normal for K to write) and she holds then up to her face. She can write most of them. We have done no official schooling with her. She has picked up what she knows just from life. I wasn't actually planning to start her on K till next year, as she has been delayed in so much (walked at 2, potty trained at 4). But suddenly she seems interested and wants to.

I am a new to MFW. My kids are 6,5,3,almost 2, and 3 months. The older 2 have birthdays in November. I want to start with Adventures in early spring. (We are not on a traditional schedule, lol.) I plan to have all of them sit through it.

I have not looked at the K or 1st Curriculum. Do you think that they are suitable for a child with visual impairments? Does she sound ready for K? If I go ahead and do K, should I start now, or wait until we start Adventures?
Welcome to the board!

You might want to call the MFW office and ask them to share some insights they have about using K with a visually impaired child. I know I have heard David Hazell (author's husband) talk about one mom who was successful using the MFW K program with a child with very low vision. I don't know if the child was legally blind. But I don't remember the details of all of it. But with the Lauri textured letters in the program, the child learned to read in the program.

She might be ready for K at her age. I'd probably lean toward doing K now.
Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Using MFw K and 1st with legally blind child?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Mexmarr wrote:My daughter was a preemie and born completely blind. She has gained some vision, but will probably stay where she is at. She can distinguish colors, and read letters if they are bigish and she holds them close. She is almost 6 and can write most of the letters of the alphabet and knows many of the sounds.

I want to start her in K, but was wondering if anybody had thoughts on how it would work. I imagine that with K and 1st all the pictures, charts, text, flash cards, etc would be big enough. But I haven't seen it all personally. Any thoughts? Thanks
Since you've tried twice and haven't had much response (except for Crystal, thank goodness for her), I wanted to find some past discussions for you, but this is all I found:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 134#p45802 (resources)

http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 134#p47614 (Glenna's post applies to blindness, too)
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 994#p29994 (same for Laura's post?)

http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 409#p59409 (Rachel seems knowledgeable on using MFW alongside visual challenges)

I think just wandering around some of the archives might give you a sense that MFW is a framework but many have adapted it for the needs of their children. So you won't need to start from scratch, but will instead start with a strong framework, and only adapt it from there.

I hope that adds a little,
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Help for Weak Auditory Learner

Unread post by DS4home »

Chrystal in TX wrote:I would like to get some of your thoughts on using literature with my 5yo (almost 6) who has some processing issues. I have used MFW K & 1st with his older brother. I have just started K with my 5yo. I expect that he'll be starting 1st by the end of the summer.

My son has a diagnosis of mixed-expressive/receptive disorder. At different times in his life, he's been thought to exhibit autistic traits, auditory processing issues, etc... It does appear however that his language disorder is his primary issue but I've found that many of the tips and tricks that I find for Spectrum kiddos work well for him.

My concern is two fold. I'm concerned about his the clip at which MFW 1st moves. I'm also concerned about his ability to understand the concepts presented in the Unit Studies. He just doesn't understand so many things.

MFW works great for my 5yo because there is a Unit Study each week on content that will help my 5yo put pieces of information in order in his brain. He needs the repetition in order to retain information and then he needs to experience content through multiple modalities in order to comprehend it better. It's a lot of work for me but I don't want to underestimate his abilities either and not expose him to great literature because I'm afraid of what he's not going to be able to pick up/understand. So there in lies my conflict with a literature based curriculum and my 5yo's learning challenges.

He already reads well - I'd guess on a 1st grade level. He is largely self-taught as he is a strong visual learner and picks up words by "sight" very easily without help from me. Library books are a challenge. If there is no picture, he cannot grasp the story line AT ALL. He doesn't like "book basket time" unless he's familiar with the book and that means that I have to read them to him and try to guess which books he will be drawn to...it's exhausting. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to reach him.

MFW is great and NECESSARY. My 5yo needs the projects, the activities, etc to even have a chance at understanding the concepts. MFW has a lot of abstract concepts in the Bible program. In K many of the concepts are concrete and he struggles with them. Discussion is not going to happen because his language skills are simply not there. I read the Bible verses to him but I do so believing that the Word will not return void because right now...they are going right over his head. He just cannot grasp the details.

So...I'm wondering how I can embellish his learning while I work on his primary skill of functional language.

Hope this makes sense. Please feel free to ask me questions if you need to. I'd love to know your thoughts.
I also have a dd with language processing issues, delay in expressive/receptive language. Are you able to get any language therapy for your ds? Just wondering.

I just want to encourage you. Take it one year at a time, one month at a time :) Don't worry about the pace of 1st grade yet, just enjoy the journey through Kind. He will grow in his weak areas as you work with him, so it's hard to say where he'll be a year from now.

My dd enjoyed kindy, the units are great for subject matter to build/organize vocabulary and language. And it sounds like you understand how to really flesh those topics out with hands on items as you explore the topic. My dd also did not get stories, could not express anything about it at the end of a story (even with pictures). We had to go really slow to build that skill up. After every 3 or 4 sentences I'd ask a question about those sentences in particular, she would try to answer, then we'd move on... Reading a short story was really a chore. It truely was WORK for her little brain, not something fun to enjoy.

My encouragement for you is that now, half way through 1st grade, she has come such a long way !! It is getting easier for her, she is developing those skills and learning how to ask a question when she's not getting it. It seems silly that we had to actually teach her the words to say to voice a question... When I stop and reflect she really has come a long way. Your little boy will improve also, it just takes more time and coaching than some, but it will come :)

I remember worrying a lot about her schooling in the beginning. I am sure she didn't retain nearly as much at the beginning of kind. as she did by the end. And now in first, I worried again, but she is developing at her pace and working through the curriculum well. Does she get the deep meaning behind all the Bible verses? Probably not, but maybe some. She has a lifetime for more of that to sink in ;) We can read longer stories, with less frequent stopping.

I don't know that I've helped much. I'm not sure what the question really was, and I'm rambling now. I guess if you are debating between Sonlight and MFW, I would say stick with MFW. It will give you more of what is needed with less frustration. I'm hoping others can offer more advice for you. I feel like I am just working through some of this too, and don't have real answers :~

- Dawn
Celebrating our 30th Anniversary <3
Amber(HS Grad, Married), Carmen(HS+Col Grad, Married), Nathan(HS+College Grad), & Bethany(11th)
2020: high school US Hist.1
Completed the MFW cycle: Pre K-yr.5, AHL(pilot), WHL, US Hist.1
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:38 am

Re: Help for Weak Auditory Learner

Unread post by shera »

My ds is 9 and as a preschooler I was told he had some sort of auditory processing problem. I have always homeschooled him, except when he was in a special needs preschool and I have always used lit based programs. I'm guessing my ds is not as severe as your child but I wanted to let you know that language and learning things auditorially are not his strength. I used MFW K and I have used SL with him.

MFW K worked beautifully with him because we learned about 1 thing for a whole week. I got a bunch of books on the topic from the library and he would just look at the pictures. I might occasionally read the material to him. At that time he was unable to summarize or narrate what I had read. BUT the next day or by the end of the week he could tell me. Just to reassure myself that he was learning something, I had him tell me 3 things he learned. I would write it down and then he would copy it. As far as book basket is concerned, I would try to get picture books as well. They are very visual. But I remember hearing Mr. Hazell speak once and he said he didn't care if the kids read the books or not to start with. They had to sit there with a book for 15 min. Eventually they would open it and then eventually they would start to read it if for no other reason than boredom or curiosity.

One thing I have learned is to take things one year at time.

ds 11/01
dd 08/04
dd 07/09

Re: Help for Weak Auditory Learner

Unread post by cbollin »

Hey Chrystal,
Background: My youngest daughter has autism. My middle gal had mixed receptive/expressive disorder (not autism spectrum, but like Chrystal H is describing, enough overlap that similar techniques help.)

Ok. Take MFW K at MFW K pace. Don’t rush it with the weak auditory learner of this age even if they read advanced for the level. If you need more ideas for some extensions each phonics day, check this thread for several ideas from me and Tammie and others
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 179#p47744

Part of helping to narrate with our style of learning kids (and any of them really, but that’s another discussion), is to really help break down the WH questions. Our kiddos with special learning issues in language development have a rough time understanding those words. Who, what, where, when, why. My daughters’ speech/language therapists used teaching cards with picture hints to help teach those concept. The Who card had a drawing of a person. When, had a clock.
When had arrows pointing to something.

If you aren’t in contact with a speech therapist yet, do get one. In the meanwhile, check out SuperDuper Inc and get some age appropriate WH question cards to work on. Read short short short segments and ask the questions. Teach your child to look for key words in the story that answer the questions. This is much like teaching a neuro typical child how to read a word problem in math.

One example of some of Super Duper’s product would be the Fun Deck Series for Auditory memory
http://www.superduperinc.com/products/v ... x?pid=FD53

or even the Fold and Say Auditory memory.
http://www.superduperinc.com/products/v ... ?pid=BK323

but as you teach your child to retain, it is perfectly ok to teach them to look in the text first and not have to do it from memory only.

and they have a whole section of their catalog on auditory processing. Click around, you’ll find it. I am able to use their products because the speech therapist I use has multi license, or something like that (a polite way of saying they copy the cards for me and hand them as homework. I assume they are going that legally. LOL). So I never had to order. it looks like Super Duper will take direct orders too. Looks like they don't have much problem with selling to parents. that's good.

In terms of book basket, don’t worry about book basket just yet. What worked for me in this age group was to get high interest books especially on audio CD and turn the page signals.

And to watch Reading Rainbow, or do the online story games on Nick Jr. and/or Sprout. You see, my kiddos watch preschool shows so they were drawn to the characters already and at preschool level it was fine with me. But oh, did it give me a break from reading over and over and over and over and over…….

When it came to the concepts in MFW K, I took the same mindset as you are taking and taught it and asked God to show me some fruit once in a while to keep on keeping on. He was faithful to do that.

Many times I had to adapt and improvise. I left specifics of what I did in most units of MFW K. I think if you use the advanced search feature on this forum
Do key word search on “autism” (no quotes needed)
Author cbollin
Then limit it to the Ideas – kindergarten section
Then, you should get most of those posts.

1st grade was harder with her with Bible. But, I got out a picture children’s Bible and coloring sheets while I re told the story from the manual, or from the text in front of her. Then, we worked where we could on notebook. Some days were “blog worthy”. Other days were days of doubt.

Chrystal in TX
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 4:41 pm

Re: Help for Weak Auditory Learner

Unread post by Chrystal in TX »

Hey Crystal, Kano is currently receiving speech through the local school district and his therapist seems to be great. She has sent me home with bingo sheets from Super Duper. I know exactly what you are talking about. When I look at the catalog I get so overwhelmed because there is so much seemingly good stuff. Your recommendations really do narrow it down for me.

Thanks also for confirming some of the things that I do (audio books, online games). I have been doing the book basket and that has been frustrating. So I will back up on that. Kano doesn't mind audio books at all. One thing that I can do, is make my own audio books for some of the books I own and end up reading over and over anyway. I need to make up some cards for WH questions. He can answer them but needs prompting. Because he can read, any kind of prompters are helpful. He can't find the words himself but knows the answers if the words are provided for him.

Thanks for talking about "blog worth" and "days of doubt". It's just nice to know that I'm not the only one. Thanks also for the direction on searching. I did it and have bookmarked my results. I'll be referencing it quite often :)

Dawn & Sarah, Thanks so much for your encouragement and empathy. I'm greatly encouraged to know that I'm not the only one and that you have seen progress with your own dc and can give me a little "push" and shed some light on my situation. I really appreciate your responses.

Chrystal in TX
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

New & Non-verbal Autism

Unread post by Poohbee »

grannysimplicity wrote:I am currently homeschooling my daughter using another curriculum but planning to switch to MFW. My younger child, a son, has classic autism and is non-verbal. He will be 4 in about a month. I have already been preschooling him ever since he aged out of the early intervention program a year ago.

I am planning to use MFW for both children. My son has already done enough of the preschooling that I am already looking forward towards Kindergarten. Yes, he will be young yet for some of the work, but I can begin reading to him and doing the Kindergarten as a 2-year program if needed.

My question is about the phonics. With a non-verbal child, how do yoou know when they understand the coorelation between a letter and it's sound? I don't want to go too quickly through phonics, but I also won't want to drag it out too much and bore him.

Any ideas would be welcome. As I said, I am planning ahead.
Hello, Paula!

We just received a diagnosis of autism for our third child, our almost-3 son. Our son is nonverbal at this point, too. He is currently in speech therapy and occupational therapy. I have used MFW from the beginning of our homeschooling journey with my 2 older daughters, and like you, I am planning to use it with my son, as well. But, it will be a few years for him.

I don't really have any advice to offer, as I haven't traveled that road yet, teaching a special needs child with MFW, but I just wanted to say, "Welcome to the Board, and Welcome to MFW!"
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy

Re: New & Non-verbal Autism

Unread post by cbollin »

Welcome along and welcome to the forum.

My youngest is pdd nos.... her verbal skills were just emerging at age 4. However, she learned to read visually and a little bit with phonics. I didn't start her in Kindy until age 6. She wasn't ready for the analogies and content in MFW K until then. We had so much to work on. But since she was my youngest, she had lots of computer stuff - starfall.com, or watching tv shows (between the lions) and other PBS kids shows with phonics and learning to read....

What do you use for augmentative communication with your son? Perhaps the same way that you use that (PECS, or sign. or other), is the same way you'd teach phonics sound with a non verbal child on the spectrum. For example, if you have the PECS options of
Touch which says "moo"
can he point to the cow with 90-100% accuracy right now?

Is he there yet?

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: New & Non-verbal Autism

Unread post by grannysimplicity »

Thank you for the replies and welcomes!

We are very rural and live about 80 miles from a city with good services. In honesty, I admit that we are doing his therapies at home after a disasterous experience with the early intervention program. He finished the program and then continued with speech & occupational therapies with the same therapists. They worked against him (and us) and expected him to work at age level, not building from where he was in skill level. The speech therapist was against my pre-schooling him or teaching him sign language. Like I said, it was a disaster. I have been working with him at home since then using the TEACCH method and he is making great progress.

In preschooling him, I have educational posters of things like the alphabet, colors, shapes, and others. I started by pointing to each color on a chart and naming them, beginning with only 2 colors. We did this several times a day. After a week or so, I asked him where is "red" and he was able to point to it on the chart. He got the other color correct also. I then added another color and so on until he is now able to point to the colors when asked.

Quite by chance, after having been listening to me teach phonics to his big sister, he pointed to a letter A on a bottle label and said the short a sound. I realized then that he is learning through listening to me teach his sister. This is what has led me to go forward with him. He wrote part o his own name on his own when I have not taught him. He is simply observing and listening to what is going on around him. I am realizing quickly that though he has Autism Disorder, he has a deeper level of understanding than we initially thought. I reread the diagnosis report that we got from the child study center. The only thing that disqualified him from being diagnosed as Asperger's was that he is developmentally delayed physically and lack of communication skills. He also has the classic stims and other behaviors of the more severe form of autism.

We are teaching him to use sign language. It is very slow going. As is typical with many autistic children, when he has a leap forward in development or new skills learned, he also has a regression and loses some of his abilities. Most recently, he completely stopped being able to feed himself. This was after he made huge progress with being able to hold a dry erase marker and draw instead of scribbling. In a few weeks, the ability to self-feed will return. It is simply a phase that we experience each time he makes strides in an area.

This is in part why I am glad to have found MFW curriculum. It has a gentle approach that I can use with him. It may take him longer to get through the Kindergarten curriculum, but he will get through it at his speed. Much better than sending him to the Pre-K program at the schoo where he would be given "busy work" without expectation that he will learn anything. And yes, the teacher admitted that to me herself.

Re: New & Non-verbal Autism

Unread post by cbollin »

I am jumping up and down with joy to hear some of his progress! !

if you search on the Kindy Ideas forum in various units, I left little notes what I did with my youngest in various units. Even though she was 6, you might find some tips.

I can't seem to directly link to those posts for some reason.... probably typing something wrong.. one of those days for me

Some of my favorite homeschool sites to help:


and if you need speech stuff at home...

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: New & Non-verbal Autism

Unread post by grannysimplicity »

Thank you so much for the information. I will definitely look into those websites. I am limited on my time online, but will check the Kindergarten posts as often as possible.


Book Day in K is supposed to be light...so what happened

Unread post by cbollin »

lea_lpz wrote:So yesterday we completed our first unit for k Ss Sun and had our first book day. I found it to be our longest day! We started at at 8:30 and didn't finish until 12:30!

We were going to have my dd tested for ld's before pulling her out of preschool and have now held off. Maybe we should go ahead to know what we're dealing with if that is the case.
LD's a totally separate issue. I have 2 children with diagnosed special needs. I'm sensitive that some things can be seen early and it affects stuff. however, based on the little that you've said.. I'm not sure what you want tested.. She's young. It's early in the lessons.
very sweetly here...You're still in the part of the year where you are learning a whole new skill of teaching.

was she unable to count objects yet? if so... don't worry on that.... it was a lot of squares to count. some children who enter Kindy can count to 30 on their own...... others will need to hear and watch the teacher do that for them.. so these pages are not "on your own" yet... so on "build letter S with all white rods and how many did you use".... build it together and you show her how to count...

was she unable to follow an instruction such as "place white rods on the squares"

what things did you see in the lesson or other that make you have a concern? or what was it from the preschool that was the concern?

If she didn't understand your fraction lesson.. that's not an LD issue. If she was struggling with pick up the white block (and you showed her what that means and she couldn't repeat it...maybe something is going on?)

I can understand if my questions and comments are making you uncomfortable. Not my intention or heart on it..... If I had done MFW K with my oldest, it would have taken time for me to not go overboard. the solar eclipse is just one example... you wouldn't believe how I made a FIAR lesson last too long.... and at the wrong level....

Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:00 pm

Re: Book Day in K is supposed to be light...so what happened

Unread post by lea_lpz »

Her preschool teacher was concerned she might have an ld and advised us against sending her to the private schools many of the kids who attended this preschool go to and to give her support services through the local school district. If she did not have an ld then she suggested having her do pre-k at their preschool or doing K at public school because the pace of the private school we were considering was going to be too much for her. She just wasn't keeping up with the class. She did not say what ld she suspected ( I think to cover herself).

Anyway, I prayed on it and felt God leading me to homeschool her for K. I came to the conclusion that it was the way her school and I were teaching her was the problem! It was boring: both for her, and me. And spending an extra hour on worksheets after preschool 3 days a week on school days and two on the "off days" was not only a ridiculous way to spend a 4 year old's day, but yielding absolutely no results.

So, I began to research. And we started to do some kinetic learning activities, and things began to click. We took a break from letters and numbers and started MFW K 4 weeks ago. It was amazing because this time she was getting it!

I have two trains of thought on having her tested for ld's: one, she is fine and just needs time to mature and settle down and when she does she'll be fine and what they were teaching her probably just seemed boring to her and testing her could lead to misdiagnosis and label her for life; two, she really might have a ld and early intervention would be the best thing to help her by being able to learn how to work with her now.

Hearing my dd was struggling in preschool was a shock. She had hit all her physical and mental mile stones early! She crawled at 5 1/2 months, walked at 10 months, and spoke complete sentences at two! At 18 months she could sing the ABC's and Wheels on the Bus with the hand motions. She went to UC Berkeley's child care center and Professor's were shocked at how "advanced" my child was and some quite jealous. After all they'd waited until they were professors to have kids and I was a junior undergrad. Learning disabilities was not a road we'd be going down...

But back to your questions.... Crystal your comments don't make me uncomfortable. And yeah, the taking too long to complete day 6 and learning disabilities are seperate issues. [schedule questions moved here: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 099#p87099 }

So, learning disability-related q & a:
She can count objects but not necessarily connect the symbol for number to the number of objects but is able to recognize much more than she used to (the 7 of creation numbers really helped her get the concept) but still has trouble writing the numbers out without me supervising step by step (she writes them backwards, upside down, etc.)
She knew how to grab the white squares on the S, she just thought that it was boring, and said, "Mom, it too many squares. It's boring! Why can't I do fun school like Bubba. He gets to just play with toys." So we stopped.
It took a long time because she colored in all the squares rotating pink and green for each square (her fav. colors). She used to just scribble, but because my stepson showed her how to color in the lines now she is very meticulous about coloring and will typically take forever to color anything! (My stepson and her are really close, so I think its away to connect to him when he's not her. And he is super meticulous, even as a toddler. He kept all his toys organized and himself clean!)
When she was in preschool, she couldn't recognize or form her own name, more than maybe 3 letters, and the number 4 (because she was 4). She is improving. A lot. I think she can recognize about 2/3 of the alphabet now and all her numbers 1-9 but not write them all (and this all pretty much in the 3 months) and can write her name without tracing or having a copy as well as spell it out loud and recognize all the letters in her name. Her name has 8 letter in it.
She's a busy body. She could grow out of it. She could genuinely have ADHD. She felt like a ball full of energy when I was pregnant with her. And well, she was a handfull from the time she came out of my womb. She used to cry as an infant enless I bounced her around and took her outside and talked to her about everything out there with her in the bjourn until she started creeping at 4 months old using her elbow to drag herself around and was then content to do her own thing. Which was nice because she got to heavy for bjourn. She was born 9 lbs. 14 oz., and once upon a time, when I got pregnant, I was a size 4 (you could put a 1 in front of that number now :-) ). And she was really determined (or stubborn). Like at daycare, she was the second youngest in the class so when all the babies between 10-12 months started to cruise and stand, she wasn't going to be left out, even if she was 7 months old.

I never thought I had ADD until recently. I read about it in women and I was a notorious daydreamer and totally disorganized pretty much until I got to high school. Then I was interested and passionate in some subjects so would pay attention and do well. I have an amazing ability to hyper-focus. Probably why I am making MFW K nightmarishly long for my dd. I love to research, plan, research, plan, on and on for hours if I am interested in something.

Anyhow, if she did have ADHD that's really not my concern anyway. I would wait until she was older to have any sort of formal diagnosis for that and then if that was the case I would treat with no meds. We already follow a pretty strict diet, routine, eating schedule for her. When she was a newborn we thought she might have been colic. She was unusually alert and observant as a newborn. We had to turn the tv off, have the lights down low and just have a very mellow evening beginning at 7 to get her to sleep by 8. All through her toddler years and now, through her scehdule off and she gets sort of manic hyper. My stepson (almost 8) and my son (almost 3) never did any of these things. They are really go with the flow.

My real concern is something like an auditory processing disorder, or dyslexia. Although I'm only 15 units shy of a masters in educational counseling, my area of expertise is college students. I know how to screen a student and refer them to have a learning disability assessment if I suspect they are failing class because of an undiagnosed learning disability, of some services to refer students and parents to but that's about it.

My father thinks she's actually just really smart and bored like I was. I repeated K because I'd just daydream, or wander off and play. Appearently the teacher recommended I get tested for a learning disability too, but my parents never ended up doing it. They ended up having me repeat K at a Catholic school instead and I went to Catholic school until I was in 5th grade. I wasn't really a strong student until I got to be a in junior high / high school, but I remember spending the summer I turned 9 in the library and reading pretty much every book they had (medical books, Moby Dick, etc.) and comprehending everything. At that point I zoned out in school, spending most of my daydreaming or writing stories I'd make up in my notebook. I'd do my work as quick as I possibly could with lots of sloppy mistakes. The teachers would be puzzled because I would always score in 99% for reading, history, anything reading based, like comprehension, but never really paid attention in class. Then in junior high I was either interested in the class and got an A and was the star student, or I was disinterested in the class and disrupted the class by talking in class a lot.
ds14, dd11,ds9, dd4.5, dd2.5, dd2.5 (yep twins)
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