As we feared with the start of this new semester that came with a promise from his teachers that the spring session would be much harder than the fall semester, Cooper is experiencing a few setbacks.

For starters, his sight word list has tripled, and now includes words like “was” and “he” and “she.” 

These might seem like rather easy words to master, but for my Coop who has cognitive delays as well as language delays, understanding that “sh” is a blended sound when those two letters are put together is a tough achievement, as well as understanding that “he” refers to a boy and “she” refers to a girl. 

We (my spouse and I) had gotten used to Cooper referring to girls as “he” because he just didn’t get the he/she concept. 

Now that he’s in big boy school, however, learning the difference is a necessity.

Because of all these new words and challenges Coop is facing with his sight words, as well as reading and understanding his Accelerated Reading books, homework time is in turmoil. 

We’ve gone from an hour to two or three of working after school and in the evenings, with breaks in between. 

Since it frustrates Coop when he can’t “get” something, especially his sight words, he often just shuts down completely and refuses to practice his words and sometimes throws a tantrum that takes us hours to recover from. 

We have to wait until Coop calms down and has forgotten his frustrations to start the whole practice all over again, which is sometimes followed by another tantrum.

Reading time is a major process, though we kind of feel like we might have a good routine established with that. 

First, I read the story through with Coop then ask him questions about the book. 

Then, Coop takes his turn reading the story, which takes a long time as he struggles through most of the words, while getting excited when he sees one he knows. 

We go over questions about the book again and finally, it’s Daddy’s turn to read. 

In this case, both Cooper and my husband struggle, because my husband is also dyslexic himself. 

By the time it’s all said and done with, it’s time for bath time then off to bed, two other events that often bring frustration. 

While Coop doesn’t mind taking a bath thanks to all the bath toys he’s accumulated over the years, he doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have time to play with his other toys once he’s out of the tub, instead having to go straight to bed in order for him to get plenty of sleep.

Somehow, some way, though, we will survive this and we will survive kindergarten.

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