This is the letter I emailed to Keaton's teacher. I want to personalize him so that she can connect with him and hopefully see beyond the facade that he presents:
We are so happy that Keaton is in your class this year. He has come home excited about school and has a new story to tell every day. He enjoys your humor, was thrilled when you gave him a job to do and is so impressed that you may have more animals then we do. :)
I know you have received Keaton’s 504 and that you are well prepared to deal with his learning issues, but I am a neurotic mom and was hoping I could share my thoughts with you. For me understanding how Keaton works has allowed me to better help him in his learning, if this information is not pertinent to you, it won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t use it :)
Keaton’s was diagnosed inutero with Hydrocephalus, (excess water on the brain), the pressure compressed the Corpus Callosum, the main bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. A neuro explained the CC to me as a highway; most people have six lanes, however Keaton may only have three congested lanes. That is why it takes Keaton longer to process information. Also, because this bridge controls interpretation of visual material , Keaton has trouble learning visually. Comprehension is also an issue because it entails the two sides of the brain working together.
However, a smaller bridge lower in the brain, that has not been damaged, controls oral learning and that is why Keaton is a great learner when info is presented orally. This is also why Keaton is a long winded talker (trust me I know:)). Where most people “think” through a problem, Keaton “talks” through a problem. He will do best where he can hear and see you clearly and when he can be checked orally for information being presented. A bonus would be to sit him near another student who does well academically, who he can discuss the information with.
This year Keaton’s dad and I have some goals for that I would like to share:
1 For him to realize that learning can be fun.
2. For him to learn to slow down and really analyze what is being asked.
Keaton has a tendency to speed through his work so that he can keep up with his peers, this along with his visual issues make him answer questions based on incorrect information.
3. For Keaton to remain learning at the level he is currently.
We have seen a great change in him in the last couple of years since this was diagnosed. He has risen from the low basic on testing to the last two years of being high proficient. I am not a great test advocate, but this shows me he is learning what he needs to and is not falling between the cracks. Many kids with his issues struggle more as they get into higher levels of thinking, but by learning in the style that is best for him he can continue to excel.
4. To work on his comprehension.
Keaton will always struggle with comprehension, but I would like him to learn how to dissect a story into steps which will allow him better understanding about the whole picture. At back to school night you stated you had twenty comprehension “strategies”, if you send those home we can work with him on them here as well as in school.
5. To help Keaton succeed on the honor roll.
The last goal seems frivolous, and to me is unimportant, but to Keaton it is a rating of his success. Last year Keaton made honor roll twice for the first time and his self esteem rose amazingly. This year he has made a decision to try even harder for it, so can you please let me know if you see any areas where Keaton may have trouble, (I will also be looking when things come home), so that we can re-teach before the testing occurs, because tests are where Keaton seems to break down the most.
Lastly, I know your plate is very full this year, so please let me help in any way possible. I can lead small groups, correct papers, run copies, and I have no problem taking things home to do.
Again, thank you for listening and thank you for making Keaton feel special. He is a great kid and we feel lucky he is in your class this year.
- ► 2012 (31)
- ► 2011 (18)
- Karen Rothfus
- Alta Loma, California, United States
- I am a wife of 28 years to Kevin, a pilot, a mother of 22 year old Kellan and 15 year old Keaton. I am caretaker to a zoo of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, birds, turtles, etc. I am a gardener, a cook, a writer, a painter, a teacher, and I am truly blessed to be able to live life the way I wish too.