Tuesday, September 17, 2013
A commentor wondered why Jie Jie is still working at first grade level. Here's the reason...
She's been home now for only 29 months. When she arrived, she was 7 years old, had never been to school, had never held a pen, pencil or crayon, had only moderate good health, couldn't read a single character of Chinese, didn't speak a lick of English and spoke poor Mandarin. (The orphanage was mainly concerned with keeping this medically fragile child alive, which was a miracle in itself). Once she learned how to color, she then had to learn her alphabet and how to write. Then, a new sister came along. Then another. Then another. Then we moved. But before we moved, she got through an entire kindergarten year and half a first grade year in only one year.
Jie Jie can sound words out very well and read at a first AND second grade level. Her comprehension is high. However, she doesn't test well because tests are in complicated English grammar and she can't understand it. She is not an auditory learner AT ALL. I've had her tested and I'm awaiting the results, but I am pretty sure she has some kind of learning problem when it comes to auditory processing and speech output. She is also a perfectionist, and it slows her down.
I'm less worried about her than the others because she makes constant progress. She has high goals and she's an achiever. She'll get there academically, but she's starting from further back than most kids.
Blossom does have a learning disability of some kind. It could be as simple as forcing her to be right handed in China when she is a natural lefty, or it could be something else. There are other factors having to do with how she was treated in her orphanage that would lead her to cease to try to learn, despite being a naturally curious child. I worry about her the most, but I'm very pro-active and have a situation that is going to be very good for her and the other girls this year.
Sissy slept through most of her schooling in China. Without anyone enforcing bedtime in her orphanage, she and her friends stayed up very late every night and slept through school every day. She also admits to having bought coffee in order to stay awake at night. She didn't start school in China until she was 8 years old. She was very small at age 8, the same size, in fact, that Jie Jie was at age 8, which was the size of a 4 or 5 year-old. Children who are not nurtured, stop producing human growth hormone or produce a lot less of it than is normal. Add poor nutrition to that, and you will get a child that is going to have issues across the board. Luckily, Sissy is in good health now and has gained weight and grown well since I've had her.