Last week I was helping my youngest study for the weekly spelling test. He’s never done well on spelling and hates to study it. He was spelling the words out loud for me (we’ve also done it where he writes them down, as he would on the test). On one word, he was struggling with how it ended and stuck an r in. I got frustrated and snapped “there’s no r anywhere in that word!” and walked away to leave him to look the words over. That letter stuck with me, though, and the light bulb clicked on shortly after I snapped at him.
My son had severe speech issues (expressive language disorder and apraxia) which had him in speech therapy for 3 and a half years and occupational therapy for 7 months early in the speech time frame. He graduated from speech at age six and a half. A friend of mine recently went back to school and became a speech therapist and she had told me to keep an eye on his schooling as the apraxia could cause problems down the road. I hit the internet and guess what? That old apraxia can cause difficulties with spelling, especially in children whose speech issues are resolved after the age of five.
Apraxia, for those who’ve never heard of it, from my understanding can cause a disconnect between the brain and the tongue in terms of speech and in terms of the spelling can cause the brain to not be able to interpret the sounds it hears to letters.
I wrote to the teacher with my insights and the fact that I’d do more leg work during break. She didn’t even respond a quick ‘got it’ note. I don’t expect her to do much, but will be requesting that she stop writing the correct spellings on top of my son’s mistakes so that I can look for patterns and trouble areas. Hopefully it won’t be a problem. We’re in a good school, but the staff still seems to treat me as someone who knows nothing when it comes to my children’s education.
In the meantime I’ve used my Spelling City account and printed off several sheets to practice (thankfully I have the next four lists), and plan to have him say the sounds and whole words as he writes and does the exercises. I found no strategies while researching so I’m on my own. We’ll see how it goes.