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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Serious Brain Push-ups

Nora and I are both on big learning curves.

We are completing week 5 of Nora's intensive learning program. 5 days a week, 1.5 hours a day. 5 weeks down, 15 to go.

I have noticed big changes within Nora at home and within the sessions but hadn't yet talked with her teachers about whether they had seen any behavior or academic changes in school. I hadn't asked primarily because I thought it would be too early for there to be any changes seen. I was wrong!

Last weekend at the evening school auction, Nora's music teacher approached me with some good news about Nora's progress.

She said, "Zoya, i've been meaning to e-mail you, so glad I saw you tonight! I've been meaning to tell you how much improvement I"ve seen with Nora in music class. She is able to so confidently keep the beat now, and even hold a conversation with the person next to her while she keeps a beat". I was relieved to hear that the progress is transferring into her school setting. Her music teacher couldn't believe the amount of progress in just over 1 month. She was so amazed by her progress and confidence in class.

This was just what I needed to hear, as the program is over 1/4 of the way done and its going well. Knowing that it IS working gives me extra excitement and focus for it.

There is significant prep work for me before every session. I set out the cards with the pictures of the 7 exercises we'll do together, I read notes e-mailed by her teacher as well as her manual to make sure I am cueing the exercises correctly. I correspond via e-mail several times with her Seattle teacher every week with various questions and we Skype weekly.

In 12 days, Nora and I will start a program called PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement). It is geared to help mental processing speed and with reading. We will do it 1 hour a time, 5 days a week.  When we were in Seattle, her teacher did several of the activities with Nora and they were fun, but very challenging. A lot of the activities use doing activities to the beat of a  metronome and there is varying degree of difficulty with each activity.

I am in the process of learning how to correctly execute each exercise-how to cue, grade, etc. Wow-it is hard. I am watching DVD's of the exercises being carried out and am pouring over the manual as well. In the next week I will watch a 1 hour session of Nora's seattle teacher carrying out a session with a 7 year old student in Seattle, so that will be very helpful. This is the first time the Seattle center has sent any parent off with implementing the full PACE program via distance, and I take the role very seriously. I want to be well prepared in implementing it with Nora.

At some point I'll make  a video of Noras program and what it all looks like, in brief. I think people would find it fascinating. And this is such a unique experience for she and I-going through this and learning together.


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