Reading Buddy

We’re experimenting with our little guy’s love of younger kids to build his reading and social skills.

At the start of every school year, I watch and reflect on this “Common Strengths of Students with FASD” video by social worker Dan Dubovsky.

It’s apparent T loves younger kids and they bring out his patient and caring side.

Kids with FASD generally do better with younger kids; one reason being related to dysmaturity.

One of my favourite moments during daycamp pickup this summer was watching T walk with the kinder-age kids from their outdoor play area to the school and holding the door open as they walked in like ducklings with the staff.

We think it’s a blessing T was placed in a Grade 1/2 split class, as being around younger students can be socially beneficial.

I thought about the daycamp moments as I recently completed the questionnaire his teacher provided to start his Individualized Education Plan.

I suggested to T’s teacher whether she’d be open to having T visit the kindergarten class from time to time this year to be a helper, an idea sparked by Dubovsky’s video.

We think being a “big brother” to little kids may also boost his confidence and self esteem.

Reading is a skill we continue to work on with T. He’s made steady gains and we want to maintain and build on his momentum.

One of the best ways to learn, research has shown, is to teach a concept you’ve learned to others.

So I also suggested T could be a reading buddy to younger students.

I sent these suggestions to T’s teacher with zero expectations and made it clear there’s no worries if these are not feasible at this time.

His teacher responded and said she liked the idea. Visiting the kindergarten class is unlikely at this time because they are still settling into the year.

But she said there are younger kids in T’s class that need help with reading and she’ll ask T if he’s agreeable to helping out.

I was thrilled as it was more than I expected.

Parenting a neurodiverse child is about keeping an open mind and trying things out; about building on successes and moving on when things don’t work out, because they often don’t.

But never giving up on trying differently rather than harder.

I have zero expectations of how or where this “reading buddy” idea will go from here, or if the idea will even have liftoff.

But the seed’s been planted and all we can do is to hope, try, and to keep trying.

Ferry ride during July weekend roadtrip to Tobermory.

16 thoughts on “Reading Buddy

  1. Different rather than harder should be a mantra! What a spectacular idea! Not only will this give T additional confidence, but when you teach, you learn so much more – I hope the teacher finds an opportunity – V

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sara Swan Miller’s “Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog” and “Three more Stories You Can Read to Your Dog” are fun and good practice for reading aloud! There are a couple of books for reading to your cat as well.

    Also, I recommend Rosemary Wells’s “Voyage to the Bunny Planet” books (First Tomato, Moss Pillows, The Island Light), all about using our imaginations to quiet our minds and recover from difficult days at school or with family. I’ve taken a few trips to the Bunny Planet myself!

    Best wishes to your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s so sweet to hear about how T enjoys being a big brother and mentor to younger kids. That’s such a great idea to have him be a helper in the kindergarten class to build up his confidence and social skills. Hopefully they’ll take you up on your offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda! I’m trying not to overcommunicate with the teacher this year but she shared a nice note on Friday saying he was a good helper to his peers. Whether it’s reading related or something else, who knows but good news regardless! We’ll know more at an upcoming parent-teacher meet and greet.

      Hope you have settled back in the grind ok. 😆


      1. Awww! That’s great to hear. Hopefully something will come out of it. We are slowly settling back into our daily routine and are gearing up the fall/winter. I’m so glad we went to the east coast when we did though and managed to miss Hurricane Fiona. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this, Ab. Both for your creativity as a parent and the idea itself. A dog trainer I once knew took dogs into to schools for kids to read to them. It helped build confidence as well as the strength that comes from having to be in control of oneself in order to “train” a dog.

    This post reminds me of that. So much great work is done when we teach others. Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

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