Still Learning 3

November 5, 2019

1. Cards, cards, and more cards

In the last two weeks we worked on Compare and Contrast set of cards. I drew Venn diagram for each card representing two different items belonging to the same category.  Robert wrote names of the objects above parts of diagrams and then filled the spaces with appropriate attributes. Each day, Robert filled diagrams for 4 cards.

We continue with All About You, All About Me cards.  I considered them much too difficult for Robert when I bought them years ago.  There are still cards that go beyond Robert’s experiences, but most of them are appropriate but need practice.

We returned to set What Are They Asking? Everyday we work with four cards doing them twice, at the beginning of our session and at the end.

2. From Reading Comprehension to Listening Comprehension

For the most of the, so called, “typical learners”  the order of acquiring skills is opposite.  They understand what they hear before they master understanding they read.  For Robert, however, listening comprehension seemed almost non-existent.  Even  a question related to a first time heard sentence, seemed too overwhelming, too vague, or too confusing to answer. That is a reason that I decided that it would be a good practice for Robert to first respond to questions related to the sentences he read himself.  And so we practiced that.  Starting with one sentence long text, supported by a picture,  and one question we proceeded  to two, then three then four sentences and up to six questions.  Only this week, we returned to listening comprehension. Just one sentence at a time and one of the two questions: “Who did something?” or ” What someone did?”  Each day I present Robert with 10 sentences and so far he answers more than 80% correctly.

3. Usborne Young Reading set

It takes Robert 5-8 days to read a book,  from Usborne Young Reading.  Because of the Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to read Stories of Vampires and Frankenstein. I didn’t mind the first one, but I do have very mixed feelings about the second. Since, I hadn’t read Frankenstein myself, I wasn’t prepared for the horror and deadly gloom of this story. However, when Robert starts reading a book, he has to finish it. And so we read.  I don’t know how he processes this tale.  I am not sure if I should help him understand the horror of the story or let him digest it on his own.  I don’t know what Robert grasps and how this affects him.  I don’t know if I should skip anything that seems gloom and spare him any idea of horrid things that happen not just in the story but in the world.  I don’t know…

4. Chores

On Fridays, Robert and I  go to stores, a bank, a library, or zoo.  I also make medical appointments for that day. Robert deposits his checks, makes a shopping list, and uses self-register to pay for groceries. At home every other week Robert cleans bathrooms, vacuums, does laundry, and (partially) washes dishes. Vacuuming and sweeping floors still requires support because of Robert’s problem with gross motor coordination and difficulties in planning movement in organized way.  Robert would turn around, go one way then the other, leave spots untouched and so on.  I wonder if it wouldn’t be good to spill sand or rice on the rag, to give Robert reason to cover the whole surface of the rag or floor. Last Friday, I helped Robert to record his October’s wages on the Social Security App.  Well,  for him that was easier than sweeping or vacuuming.

5. We Continue to

Solve one sudoku a day.  (more rewarding for Robert as he gets more independent)

Solve a few month problems from Daily Math, second grade.  Visual support provided by some of the graphs help him to understand the difference between “more” and “how much more”.

Practice cursive writing

Practice pronunciation

Color pictures and/or copy pictures

 

Sister and Daughter

October 29, 2019

This post should be an easy one to write. Nothing simpler than to write about Amanda helping her brother to learn new things, participate in different events, and expand his life almost every day. Had  Amanda not been my daughter, I could write this quickly . But Amanda is my daughter and her life is valuable in its own right. Not just as the life of a good sister and a care provider to her brother.  I am afraid that by putting too much emphasis on the part of her life which relates to her brother I would make an impression of ignoring Amanda’s own interests, perspectives, and aspirations.

As the conflicting emotions tie my thoughts into a knot, I will start with recording Amanda’s simple acts of care, love, and understanding.

1. Teaching Robert and me to play UNO.

2. Taking Robert to movies. Twice.

3.Assisting Robert and dad on a bike ride at shining Sea Sea Bike Trail in Falmouth

4. Teaching Robert to use watercolor to paint the picture.

5.Taking Robert twice to Boston by train and traveling there using subways.

6. Taking Robert to Boston by train the third time to demonstrate to me how doable that is.

7. Taking Robert for a walk along the ocean in Bar Harbor.

8. Teaching Robert to use bathrobe.

9. Never ending trips to Blue Hill, Stony Brook, and Moose Hill parks

In one way or another Amanda expanded Robert’s world beyond what we, the parents, thought was doable. That was the case with trips by train and subway to Boston.  She took over when we couldn’t keep up with Robert on a bike trail.  She noticed and addressed those Robert’s behaviors that were a problem already but which could be a bigger problem in the future. He insisted successfully on Robert wearing a robe wherever he was leaving bathroom after a shower or bath. She showed him what it is to be his friend by going to movies, parks, and MacDonald’s and just spending time together with board games or art projects.  She took from us the pressure of worrying about Robert.  The pressure we feel without even realizing it. She let us relax for a couple hours.  Most importantly, Amanda proved to us that Robert has ability to accept changes to his routines and is willing to expand his life beyond the walls, we build around him without even realizing that.

There is no hiding that Amanda became a very positive force in her brother life.  Despite dealing with her own problems and pursuing, not without setbacks, her own goals, she managed to improve Robert’s life during those two months.  She also managed to teach us something about Robert and about us. Yes, we do worry that Robert’s issues might affect Amanda.  But in the past we believed that this impact would be always negative..  Now we see it as a mixed blessing. And for now, lets leave it at that..

Fighting Entropy

October 24, 2019

 

It was almost midnight.

A few hours before, we had returned from a trip to New Hampshire and Vermont. We were all tired, but that didn’t stop Robert from unpacking all our things and placing them where they belonged. Pills returned to medicine cabinet, toothbrushes to bathrooms, unconsumed food  to the fridge, and dirty clothes to the washing machine. After Robert filled the machine with dark clothes, he met me at the dining room table for an hour or so of learning. He searched for the worksheets I had hidden to keep our learning to a minimum that evening. He found them and insisted on completing them . He didn’t allow our daily routine to be changed.

He did, however, took a few short breaks to check the status of the laundry, switch clean, dark clothes to the drier and start a new cycle with lightly colored clothes.

He also mixed a box of pineapple jello with hot and cold water and placed it in the fridge. Then he took his evening bath.

He was tired and sleepy. He went to bed. We, his parents, did too.

Hardly, we closed our eyes when we were awaken by Robert dragging a hamper with dark clothes.

“Go to sleep Robert.  We will put clothes away tomorrow.  Go to sleep”

But sleep he couldn’t. He had to fold or hang all the clothes. Then he went to bed.  As soon as we  sighted in relief, Robert turned the light on in the kitchen. He remembered his pineapple jello. It couldn’t remain in the fridge until morning. He had to eat it. Then, and only then he went to bed.

But not for long. After an hour he was awaken by the call of the lightly colored clothes coming from the drier. They could not be left there tangled with each other in one big mess. So a few minutes before midnight, Robert took them out and patiently carried them to their proper drawers and closets.  Only when he finished we all could finally sleep.

Robert doesn’t tolerate unpredictability.  He tries to make sure that his universe changes as little as possible.  He wants the order  of things to remain undisturbed. He craves simple patterns that repeat themselves.

Years ago he failed a simple test made of questions requiring “yes” or “no” answers.  Without bothering himself with reading, he answered “yes, no, yes, no, yes, no”.  He wanted a clear pattern not a chaotic set of “yes” and “no”.

Even now, when while working with language cards, I use the card No 14 after card number 10, Robert answers the question but puts the card aside until he answers questions on cards 11, 12, and 13. Then he returns the card 14 to the pile.

In efforts to maintain the structure of the world as he knows it, Robert creates separated knots or strings of people and events. There was a time when only some people could take him to McDonald or to Five Guys. Moreover, those people could take him to those places only on specific days. Tomorrow, we could go to the Zoo, but not to the orchard to pick up apples. For apples we can go on Saturday not on Friday.

It is I who tries to increase the entropy of Robert’s world by having him to tolerate more possibilities, more places to go, things to do, by changing orders of his patterns. By doing so, I learned that entropy is not just chaos but also freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting the Dots

October 17, 2019

Dots 1, 2, 3

One Friday in each month -June, July, and August, Robert with my help cleaned two bathrooms. He sprayed mirrors with window cleaner and wiped them with the paper towel. After moving all toiletries from the counter surrounding the sink, he sprayed it with bathroom cleaners and scrubbed it with the sponge and wiped it with a rag. He poured toilet bowl cleaned inside the toilets and scrubbed them with the brush. He kept spraying, brushing, and wiping until they looked clean. However, I never suggested to him to wash bathtub or shower.  I thought it would be too much for him. I didn’t want Robert to be overwhelmed thus the task of cleaning bathtub and shower, I left for myself and for later.

Dots 4, 5, 6

During the last couple years, Robert and I used Functional Routines for Adolescents & Adults to provide exposure and/or understanding of issues related to recreation, work, community, and home.  I read a text, Robert listened, looked at the four pictures related to the appropriate part of the story, and answered the questions. Each topic was presented on three different levels: beginners, intermediate, and advance.  Two years ago, knowing Robert’s difficulties with listening comprehension, I read only the shortest and simplest texts.  The following year, we moved to intermediate and this year we graduated to the advanced level.  Among the stories we read was the one about Christina, hotel’s housekeeper, who was cleaning hotel’s bathroom. She cleaned counter, mirror, toilet, and… bathtub.

Connection

We read that story on Thursday.  The following day we decided to clean bathrooms. With my minimal involvement and supervision, Robert sprayed, scrubbed, wiped.  When, I thought he was almost finished, I left the bathroom. A minute later, Robert followed me to the kitchen.  He held bathroom cleaner in one hand and the sponge in the other. “Bathtub, bathtub”, he said.

“Ok, you can clean the tub” I responded.  And bathtub he cleaned.

Extension

We moved to the second bathroom. Robert took care of the mirror, sink, and toilet.  After he finished,  he said, “Shower, shower”, and washed the shower too,

Still Learning 2

October 16, 2019

I don’t have any excuse for not writing. Yes, I was busy, but I had been busy before and that didn’t stop me from writing. In the three months that have passed from my last post many things happened.  Robert’s sister came from France and stay for two month providing Robert with much needed company.  We visited Acadia, New Hampshire, and Maine.  We made day trips to Cape Cod.  Robert’s grandma was visiting. Robert with his dad participated in a second 5K race finishing it, well, second to last, but having a lot of fun and feeling very proud. There were doctor’s visits and dentist’s visits.  There were trips to the stores and orchards.  These and many other events are worthy of being written about as many of them expanded Robert’s world and helped him grow. So, maybe I will write about them, but not today. Today, I just write about another hour of learning together.  Not because it is more important but because it is easier…

1. Robert still solves one Sudoku a day with my decreasing help.  At times he enters 5-6 numbers in a row.  Sometimes he gets stuck. He learned however to write a number above or under a column or to the left or right of the row when he doesn’t know the exact square but knows the column or row.  Then he uses that information to find other numbers. That was a step into more abstract thinking.

2. Robert knows many relatively advanced algorithms to do operation on fractions, but he still has difficulties changing word problems into math operation or equation. More complicated than that. He can write algebraic expression and solve equation of the form ax+b=c BUT answering the question, “How much more?” still confuses him. He continues to rigidly read the word “more” no matter what context as a signal to add instead of subtract.  I believed he has already understood that  this is a question about difference, but I was wrong.  I have to reevaluate my approach to teach the idea behind the question.  I possibly use family of facts as a starting point. Not sure yet.  Because of Robert’s difficulties with translating words into math operations, I gave up on practicing Pre Algebra and returned to the second grade math with the help of Daily Word Problems Math.  Everyday, Robert solves  3 or 4 problems often with the help of drawings. He seems very proud when he does so,

3. Years ago, I bought No Glamour Listening Comprehension by Linguisystem and was soon dismayed by the fact that Robert was not able to answer any question that followed a short sentence read to him by me.  I decided to go backwards and have Robert READ the text himself and then answer the question in writing. That is much MUCH easier for Robert.  Currently, Robert reads a text supported by a picture and answers 6 questions related to it.  As I notice, four – five questions he is answering almost automatically but still needs support when the answer has to be infer from the text as is not written there directly.  I ask robert to write the answers instead of telling them, as that gives me better insight.  His speech is still very unclear. Also, by writing, I hope, Robert finds patterns.  I consider it positive that some of the answers are almost automatic.

4. New set of cards, Emotions Skill Strips presents Robert with some challenge.  Not only he has to point to the person exhibiting particular emotion but at the higher level he has to point to a person who finds self in specific situation that might evoke particular emotion.

5. We still practice pronunciation with pages from old Weber’s book.

6. Each day, Robert copies the sentences I wrote. Sadly his handwriting doesn’t improve.  However, I use this opportunity to write about practical topics that seem closely related to his recent experiences. I hope that rewriting them would allow Robert to see them from different perspective.

 

Sister

July 17, 2019

I didn’t know that I neglected her.  After all, I was driving her from art classes to ballet to piano lessons, to camp at Audubon, to claiming ropes.  Yes, I was driving her everywhere.

I drove her because she had this great potential and openness to the world but since I didn’t do any of those things myself, she couldn’t learn them from me.

Moreover, at that time our life at home was changed by Robert’s problems.  He had tantrums. He pinched. He bit himself. He screamed. That was difficult for us, his parents, and it had to be even more difficult for his two years older sister.  I wanted to familiarize Amanda with people and places which would allow her to learn and grow without the distortions that ruled our house.

Yes, we did try once or twice so called ” Sibling Groups” which were the creation of  well-meaning people to allow siblings of children’s with autism to forge close relations with those who shared their experiences. But those experiences are never shared.  Each child with autism is so different that the siblings really wouldn’t have anything to talk about. At least Amanda was not sharing and, possibly, not listening to others.

Moreover, she had her own problems.  Since, however, she didn’t advertise her problems the way Robert did as she didn’t scream, didn’t pinch, and didn’t have tantrums, we learned not to look for the problems and we didn’t see them.

Besides, she did demonstrate some resilience and she had the ability to deal with her own pains. At least we thought so.

I still remember her crying after her one and only friend in the preschool stopped playing with her.  She cried all the way home.  she cried as she found a large piece of paper and box of crayons.  She cried as she started drawing.  But as she drew her tears were slowly drying,  She finished her picture and she seemed fine.

On her picture two boys on the left side of the page were playing together ignoring the girl standing on the right end of the picture who was overwhelmed by despair.

She finished and she was calm.  So I assume, she was fine.

I don’t know if that was a correct assumption.

Still, I wish, she would drew such a picture today.  Maybe many pictures, as the reasons for our suffering are multiplying and getting complicated as we age and stop addressing or even expressing them.

Episode in Wegman’s

July 1, 2019

Last Saturday, Robert and I went to Wegman’s Supermarket to buy clementines, rolls, and a box of organic blueberries.  We chose that store not only because we knew that it had everything on our short shopping list, but also because it had four self-registers where Robert could practice his shopping independence and… cashier skills.

We gathered our items quickly and headed to the self-register. As Robert turned the container with blueberries to look for a bar code, the box opened and the blueberries fell out.  They spread on the scanner, the dropped to the floor.  They jumped to the shopping bags hanging by the scanner, they hid behind the scanner.

Robert didn’t let them escape. After all he scanned the box already.  The blueberries were his and he had to take them home. So he grabbed the ones on the glass surface of the scanner. He was anxious.  He knew that this was not something that was supposed to happen and thus there was a risk that his mother would not let him take them home.  Of course, if I had any choice I wouldn’t. But I knew better.  I didn’t even hope that Robert would not pick blueberries from the floor including all the tight spaces behind and between other objects. I tried to protest, but my protests only increased Robert’s resolve to correct this mishap quicker and that resulted in some of the blueberries being squashed.

The young man attending to all the four self-registers noticed our situation and volunteered to take the box and bring another one.  But of course, Robert would not let him.  strangely, the young man was only slightly surprised by Robert’s protests and my explanation that this would not be possible.

“I understand. My brother would do exactly the same.” said the young man and disappeared.  Robert meantime put the box of blueberries in the shopping bag and placed the shopping bag in the cart to make sure it would go with us. He continue to scan clementines and then rolls. That required touching the screen in search for the words “bakery” and later “rolls” and entering the proper number.  Meantime, young man appeared and somehow he had two boxes of blueberries in his hands.  For a fraction of a second Robert seemed confused as if suspecting something wrong but soon enough he accepted the box given to him by the young attendant and placed it again in the shopping bag.  Calmly, we left the store.

I didn’t forget to thank the man profusely despite tears coming to my eyes.

On a less dramatic note.

We continue with our evening studies. Still  Functional Routines, Analogy Challenges (but know presented not by pictures but words), following directions as given by Say and Glue for Language and Listening, a page from Spectrum Algebra. Still reading a chapter or two from a book from Usborne Young Reading series (currently The Canterville Ghost).  And of course still practicing pronunciation.  Robert reads the word on a card and I tried to guess what he says without seeing the word.

 

 

 

 

From Concrete Examples to Ideas

June 27, 2019

Years ago, I was asked by one of Robert’s instructor, “Why are you teaching him that?”  By “that” she meant counting by five.  The tone of her voice was such that I felt guilty of overburdening my son’s brain with completely useless challenges.  It appeared to me that this teacher believed that learning one thing leads to overcrowding the brain and thus making impossible for it to appropriate more knowledge.

I tried to explain that learning to count by five, might help with time telling (not necessary with digital clocks) or counting money.  At that time, I didn’t say that learning to count by five makes a student familiar with a concept of counting by any other number be it three or seven and that might help with learning multiplication or division.  I didn’t say, because , I had already understood that the person with whom I had this discussion would have never believed that Robert was capable of multiplying or dividing numbers.

Yet, I now understand that learning one skill related to specific activity  and then using it in a completely different activity helps the brain to grasp the concept behind that skill and see it in more general if not abstract form.

This occurred to me as I was first watching Robert turning his horse full circle while riding around a barrel and a few days later navigating to turn his kayak in a different direction and return to the beach. Both actions required using one arm with either more strength or more frequently  than using the other one. Learning to perform one activity helped with acquiring skills needed to complete different task. As a result an Robert grasped the abstract idea of asymmetry of movements as a way of dealing with specific situations.

The years of teaching Robert and learning with him, convinced me  that any new experience might unlock the door to learning something else.  Despite knowing that, I was reluctant to let Robert participate in 5 km run organized by HMEA. When Jan, his father, wanted to run instead of walk with Robert during the IncredABLE event I was against it.  After all, Robert had never ran before. well, sometimes while seeing joggers in front of him, he ran after them… for a few yards.   But they did participate.  They ran, they walked, they ran…. The completed the course.  Robert didn’t complain.  He was mighty proud.

A few days later, as he was learning to play soccer, Robert for the first time began not walking and kicking the ball, but running and kicking and running again. Tim, who was his instructor and tried unsuccessfully encourage Robert to run after the ball a few times in the past, was surprised by Robert’s new skill.  Both Tim and I attributed that change to Robert’s 5KM run.

 

Out into the World

June 24, 2019

I haven’t written for over a month. Yes, we still do our desk, table really, work. Each day Robert

solves Sudoku,

completes a page of picture analogies,

reads a chapter or two from one of the Useborne Young Readers series,

listens to a text read by me from Functional Routines and answers related questions

solves a few math problems currently from Spectrum Algebra 6-8 (they are easier for him than remaining problems from Singapore Math 5A

completes a sheet from Say and Glue – easy but great for an independent work

practices pronunciation with the help of different materials

There is nothing new here. And precisely because there is nothing radically new but just a variation on the old routines it is much easier for me to write about that mundane daily tasks  than about Robert’s other activities. Although each  of them presented me with an opportunity to see Robert in a new light, strangely, I am reluctant to write about them.

Running

On May 19, his current program HMEA organized a great fundraising event with an opportunity to either walk 1km or run 5km.  I signed Robert and Jan (his father) for a walk, knowing that although Robert is a strong walker, he has never run.  Well, sometimes, when he saw runners on his hiking path he suddenly began running after them… for a few yards.  However, Jan decided that he and Robert would rather run.  And so they did.  Well, they run then they walk then they run.  Robert was extremely excited when he started following other runners.  Yes, his steps although quick were very short, yes he flapped his arms and hands.  But he had the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen.

He and Jan finished the race which happened to be more like 7 kilometers long, because of the error in setting the distance.  Well, they were second to last, but still happy and still proud.

The reward for being almost last was that Jan and Robert didn’t have to wait in line for hamburgers and chips. They got them in the tent and then they sat on the grass to eat.

Seating on the grass just like everybody else as negligent as it might look was another life enriching experience for Robert.

 

Horse Show

On June 1, Robert participated in another fundraising event at Pappas Rehabilitation Hospital.   The hospital is also a home to many horses who patiently help children and adult with disabilities enjoy riding.  Robert was anxious the morning before the show.  I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to participate. But he calmed down and finished his routine that included weaving between cones, carrying rubber duck on a plastic shovel and leading the horse with one hand, taking a ring from one cone and placing it on another, turning the horse 360degrees in a small space, riding in half seats over logs, leading the horse between logs, trotting, riding with hands up and moving the horse backwards white staying between parallel logs.

With this last task Robert had problems.  He moved the horse only two feet and then the horse crossed over the logs.  Robert needed some reminders of how to move from one task to another, and a couple times he got confused.  That is true, but it was much more than he expected of himself and what we, the parents believed he could do.

What surprised me most, however, was that as Robert remained on the horse waiting for other riders to complete the trail, he tried to convince the person who stayed next to him to go back to the center logs. He wanted to correct himself and repeat the task of moving horse backwards while staying between the logs. He must have realized that  he didn’t perform correctly that maneuver and he wanted a chance to do better.

 

Kayaking

From the day Robert sent a letter with a check for NEHSA he wrote himself , he kept repeating “lake” or “kayaks” many times a day. So, on Friday, June 21, we left early to get to Sunapee Lake by 10 AM.  Little did we know that because of rain, the kayaking lessons were canceled.  When we finally got the message we had already made three quarters of hour trip. So I called NEHSA to ask if we still could participate in the afternoon session (the weather was going to improve).  But NEHSA volunteering angels decided that since we were so closed and didn’t mind drizzle, Robert might as well have his lesson. And he did. A few times he got himself into tight corners and needed help and a few times he managed to get out of them on his own. To manage that he had to practice turning the kayak in one direction or going backwards. As usually, after moving toward one end of the lake, Robert wanted to return to the dock.  He had to learn that the lesson was not over yet and that there were other places on the lake to visit  It was hard for him to add new dimension to his kayak excursion and it was a difficult task for Carly to convince Robert to keep exploring.  But she did.  Of course for Robert the wide lake is doesn’t give him any clue as to what direction to take, and thus the only direction he always has in mind is the place from which his kayaking started.  From any other place on the lake Robert rowed most skillfully toward the place where e began and where there was a car that would eventually take him home.

 

 

For the Record 13

May 17, 2019

One easy Sudoku from http://www.websudoku.com. Still prompting by suggesting Robert to consider some numbers first.

One page (two scenes with six questions each) from Comprehending “Conditional Directions” that Begins with “IF”. We did that before, years ago. At that time I cut each sentence into two parts, placing conditional  fragment on top of the page with two lines going respectively toward “yes” and “no” and followed by either “do this” or “do nothing.  The second part of the sentence was turned up-side -down and Robert was ask to either place it turn it over and follow the direction or throw it into a waste box.  Currently, I read the conditional “IF” part very slowly, wait for Robert to say either “yes” or “no” and then I finish the sentence.  Robert still makes errors from time to time, but much less than he used to.

Two pages from Maps, Charts, Graphs, and Diagrams (Teacher Created Resources) I use these material mostly to review things Robert learned previously.  The only new thing is a need to use IPAD to look for additional information, for instance to find a drawing of a microscope with names of its parts, and then use that information to complete a diagram.

One page from Cut and Paste Logic from Remedia Publication.  We are doing it for the last time, as Robert proficiently uses the clues to put four objects in four spaces. no more copies of the same pages.  I am not sure if that is satisfying to him, but it is certainly rewarding for me.

One page or part of the page from Singapore Math 5A.  By trail and error we began dividing by two digits divisor.  A few division at a time. Mostly guessing work and checking.

Words from old Weber book -repeating all words twice  on each side of the page.

One page of cutting and gluing in appropriate places from Say and Glue for Language and Listening Fun Sheets. This is mostly to practice independent work without me present.

One page with reading on intermediate level from From Functional Routines for Adolescents and Adults Community. We completed reading and answering question for the same workbook a couple month ago. Before there was one sentence related to one picture.  Now there are short paragraphs that describe each of the four pictures.

8-10 cards from What They Are Asking from Fun Decks.  Robert can come up with some ideas on his own but often he grasps for words. I am not checking what he knows already, I am increasing (hopefully) his ability to retrieve words related to each picture.

8-10 cards from Yes and No Fun Deck.  I noticed the same problems I encountered six years ago.  Somehow Robert reads my face and says what I have been thinking, which often is the purposefully wrong answer.  However, yesterday, I noticed strange development.  Robert stopped looking at my face, as if he realized that it might mislead him. he looks down and then gives me correct answer.  I wonder, what would happen tomorrow.

1-3 chapters depending on difficulties and lengths form a book from Usborne Young Reading currently The Midnight Ghosts. Those are simple but very well illustrated books.  We read them to both familiarize Robert with children’s and adults classics but also to improve understanding of the concepts included in the texts

Cursive writing to address Robert tendency to constantly decrease size of the letters to almost looking like a straight line. Usually he copies sentences about his days. I use paper with three lines to help Robert regain his ability to write cursive clearly.  I write sentences related to his days or to overall general but applicable knowledge.  Sometimes he uses the same sentences in writing in his Journal.