Friday, April 13, 2012

“A Completely Different Kai”

We had our semi-annual parent-educator conference at our son’s school this week. In the past, we’ve somewhat dreaded meetings with school as we learn in more detail about Kai’s outbursts or other struggles.

But, this meeting was completely different.

Kai’s teacher showed us a chart that tracked his academic progress. As we knew, Kai is far above grade level in math. But he is above average in reading as well, although that is mostly for fluency and not comprehension.

His problem area is writing. But Kai has made progress in recent weeks.

The school recently started a new program to teach writing to students. They hold a Writer’s Workshop every day, and students learn the steps to good writing, from preparing their thoughts, to choosing a compelling way to begin their composition, filling in the details, and wrapping it up at the end.

I know that Kai really dislikes writing, so we were very pleasantly surprised to find that he actually enjoys the workshop and participates nicely. The teacher showed us examples of his writing and the quality was much better than I thought he would be able to do.

Another thing that was encouraging was learning about the school’s new program to teach students not to be rigid in their thinking. That is one of the big hurdles for kids on the spectrum, and for many of the other kids at this school as well.

The school is using Superflex and the Unthinkables, which uses comic superheroes as a fun way to teach flexibility. Leafing through the materials, it was easy to see why the students were so eager to participate in learning a topic that would otherwise seem so mundane.

I feel fortunate that our son is able to attend a school that is finding smart, new approaches to teaching their students.

Besides all of the information about Kai’s academic progress, perhaps the most encouraging news was hearing how well he has been doing in terms of behavior, attitude, and communication. The staff said he has been like “a completely different Kai”, being very flexible and not getting upset over things that would throw him off so much before.

In an otherwise stressful week, it was such a joy that the one area of our life that usually provides the most stress instead provided us with a welcomed respite.


  1. There you go! Kai is maturing well. It sounds as if his school is doing a good job teaching necessary skills in a palatable format. Good for them!

    1. Yes, it is so nice to hear of the new approaches and the impact they've had already.

  2. I love it when the teachers track their progress like that. Some times the improvements are so subtle that if it weren't for the recording of them, they might be overlooked or not even realized!

    1. Our son's school keep a lot of data on all sorts of things and we do appreciate it.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes, we feel fortunate to have a school like this in our area.


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