This post could have been written many weeks ago, but I have not been able to get my head wrapped around it. I have gone through emotions ranging from disbelief, shock, guilt, optimism and then shock all over again. I was hesitant to share the news if it was untrue. But there have been enough people involved in this process that I think it okay to make it public.
Ben can read.
I mean really read - sight words, sentences and short paragraphs. We have not tested further than that yet, but I am certainly determined to see just how much he knows.
It started again with the NOVA Chat (I swear I am not a paid endorser) and testing Ben on sight words. It appeared that he knew them all, even when I added ones that I used with Sean. The speech and occupational therapists asked Ben questions based on books and videos. A couple of times, he answered without anyone reading the question to him. A fluke, right? It happens a few times and you say, "What the hay, let's give him a sentence to read on his own."
So I typed out: The man wore a red hat. Then we showed the screen to him, asking him to read it.
We asked Ben what color the hat was and gave him four answers to choose from. The answers only had the words, no pictures to go along with them. He got the answer correct. Again, it could be coincidence, after all there is a 25% chance of getting the right answer.
Each night, we made the sentences more difficult and added another question. I even used some of Logan's 2nd grade lessons as samples. Ben continued to answer them correctly at 75-100% accuracy.
We have a wonderful group of people working with Ben, and I think they have made it a personal challenge to come up with tougher sentences and paragraphs for Ben to read. They have not stumped him yet.
Today, the occupational therapist worked on sight words, months of the year, body parts and then moved to actual spelling words out. He demonstrated his ability to read and spell.
To Ben's teachers over the last 7 years - Ms. Edwards, Ms. Davis, Ms. Hoard and Ms. Christenbury: Ben has been taking in everything you have taught him. Your hard work, determination, love and caring has made a huge difference in his life now and will have an incredible impact on his future. Your belief in his ability to learn and understand has made his world larger. If this is not an example of a true teacher, I am not sure what is. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only teaching my son, but me as well.