Anjali’s Academic Adventure

Hey everyone! Hope everybody is doing well. I wanted to put up this post as a quick update regarding Anjali’s experience in the past few months. Mainly I’ll be focusing on some options that we’ve come to learn of for her schooling and overall developments in her educational progress. 

First, let’s explore what I mean when I mention different options for her schooling. Anjali’s current classroom at school is categorized as “moderate to severe.” My parents believe that in order for her to improve her discipline and academic focus (more on that later), some other options have to be explored. This led to us looking into multiple charter schools, and even getting admission offers from after spending time on waitlists. Both us and Anjali’s current school are also looking into what can be done regarding organically helping Anjali improve and moving up to the “mild to moderate” class. Her teacher is very focused and fosters open communication with us regarding where she needs to improve. However, the hypothetical movement up to the “mild to moderate” class can only happen if Anjali is able to maintain a level of focus and capability in front of the faculty responsible for evaluating her. 

What made us reach this point of thinking about changing Anjali’s classroom environment? The honest answer is regression. Loss of in-person ABA therapy over the last 6 months was a huge hit to Anjali’s level of focus, progress with her sensory issues, and to the academic knowledge that a weekly therapy schedule had implemented in her. We try our best to create a schedule of academic work with her, which includes a great deal of practice worksheets from Kumon. However, it’s hard to replicate a routine and class-like environment, in which Anjali understands that a certain level of focus is expected from her. 

Where do I see all of this developing or heading to? As for Anjali’s classroom environment, I’d hope for things to work out at her current school. This is especially due to both my mother and Anjali’s current teacher being quite focused upon the steps necessary for Anjali to improve in a way that warrants her being moved up a one level. As for her regression regarding academic work, I believe that it is only a matter of time till she improves in this area. The classroom environment of the upcoming in-person school year, with multiple teachers around her, will eventually gear her back towards being able to control her energy more and once again get her accustomed to the routine of work that she had previously tackled with ease. 

Those were all the updates for now. I hope that anyone in a similar boat as us can utilize this overview of our experience in order to pick up some nuggets regarding how to earnestly help the academic situation of their special needs child. 

Little Einsteins

Hello everyone. I hope everyone is having a great holiday season! Throughout 2019 I’ve seen my mother work very hard with Anjali in order to improve her performance in school, and specifically in the subjects of Mathematics and Reading. This has resulted in Anjali scoring 99% on a mathematics diagnostic test. The journey to this accomplishment by Anjali is what I want to share through this post. Every child is different Aryan, therefore what could you possibly tell us that would help improve every special needs child? This might be a question you have regarding this post and something that I had to consider as well. It is true that Anjali’s academic journey has and will be completely different from that of any other special needs child you may know, but I believe there is an important lesson from Anjali’s experience that could help anyone else in her position. 

I’ll start from the beginning. My mother was working very hard with Anjali at home and helping her work through old arithmetic and phonics books I used to solve as a kid. Writing with a pencil was even a goal for Anjali in her school’s IEP. Therefore it is clear that a lot of effort was being put in to improve Anjali academically, but her progress eventually plateaued just like her swim lessons (make sure to check out that post). This frustrated my mother, as her effort towards this cause had stopped producing results for quite a while. Due to this, my mom decided to turn to outside help.

This is one of Anjali’s math books. This is something that we bought before Anjali started Kumon lessons.

This is when Anjali started Kumon lessons. This post is not sponsored or an endorsement for Kumon or any tutoring company. Many families with special needs children may not be able to afford such lessons, and it is absolutely not needed to pay for one. An idea that I think can be taken away from my mother switching Anjali over to Kumon is that any parent or guardian helping their special needs child learn may need to reconsider a different direction or method of teaching at some point in time. This is exactly what my mother did, and a two-person support system, one being my mother’s teaching at home and the other being of the Kumon tutor, helped Anjali elevate her learning significantly ahead of what was being taught in school. This was also the point where she scored 99% in the math diagnostic tests I was talking about earlier.

This image was linked in an excellent Great Schools article about the eligibility of your child for free tutoring , which is an alternative that should be explored rather then paying for classes when looking to improve your child’s performance in school. Source: https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/free-tutoring-no-child-left-behind/

What’s the next step? This is a question a parent tutoring their special needs child at home will have to ask after they see a large jump in progress. In the context of Anjali, the answer to that question would be continuing work with her reading skills. This brings me to a conclusion of these thoughts. With my mother’s hard work with Anjali as an example, I would like to say that every special needs child has potential not only academically, but in any activity in general. The key to helping them progress in that field is to be patient, be persistent, and find a balance between those two ideas. A change of direction or academic system, like Anjali’s switch to Kumon, may also be needed. Even after all of this, there will always be room to improve, with Anjali’s weakness in reading/writing skills as an example, but the key for academic progress with a special needs child will always involve hard work, patience, and support.