Friday, June 15, 2012

One big thing that made Lucien's (my) life easier...

We all have little things that make daily life a little easier or more manageable. Some things that are merely a convenience to you or I can be a game changer for child with special needs. I started reading to Lucien right away, as soon as he came to the US at 21 months. Literally...when I traveled to Ohio to meet him I had baby books in my luggage. We read our first book together sitting on the edge of the hotel bed our first morning together. Reading became many things. It was a means of introducing an unfamiliar language, stimulation for his senses and a close, quiet time that we could share apart from the noise and chaos of three older kids. Lucien loved our reading time as much as I did. As he grew older though, reading became a source of frustration for him. He was a little bit late starting to read. For reasons I still don't really understand, Lucien was a much better speller than he was a reader. He began to catch on in first grade, but struggled frequently and was generally about a year below grade level. Reading was not something Lucien could do independently due to his CP. Visual tracking was difficult for him and his interest level was higher than the picture books that had optimal text size and spacing for him to successfully track. Even if he could track successfully he couldn't manage to turn a single page without assistance. This was frustrating for a child who strives for independence. 

Last spring, to celebrate another successful semester of college, I bought myself a Kindle. I quickly realized that I was able to adjust the font size. I increased the the text to that each page contained 20 -30 words. I presented it to Lucien and showed him how to advance the pages. I asked him to read for a few minutes. I kind of hovered at first, and as he began to read page after page I started to get really excited. I haven't really had much of an opportunity to use "my" Kindle since then. Lucien sleeps with it under his pillow and the first thing he does each morning is read for a minimum of 30 minutes. School ended for the year on Wednesday. I am proud to report that Lucien is reading at grade level completely independently! I don't know if this would have been possible without the Kindle. 

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