Sunday, May 02, 2010


Hannah and Kit brought home their first 'Homework Book' this week. I must confess to not being a huge believer in homework - their school doesn't expect anything too onerous - read their reader to a family member each day, some sight words. Then - for 'bonus' if they like some acivities to colour in if they get done - 20 star jumps, setting the dinner table twice, saying a prayer, drawing 6 things from their reader etc. All fine - except I already do speech drills with Hannah each morning - and there really isn't huge amount of time left - she has been so tired this past week getting back into school routine.

Anyhow - she has swimming lessons (mainstream) Tuesdays and Rainbow Club (children with disabilities) on Saturdays - as well as music. Now she has been going to this music school since she was 2. And LOVIN it - but it is getting harder now they are learning parts of the keyboard. In fact this year Kit moved on to the next level but Hannah repeated - that was fine by me - Hannah clearly needed it - she is good at the rhythm and dancing activities etc but the finemotor of playing as well as reading the music notes really challenges her.

So - I chatted with DH - perhaps it was time to pull her from music - I was facing a lesson where she hadn't practised for 2 weeks and only practised once in the past week. When I got to the class I spoke to her teacher - who immediately said that she wouldn't charge me the full cancellation fee - but would be happy to ring me to discuss it all.

The lesson began. Hannah beamed the WHOLE time. And I cried. I am not really sure why - but I guess because it hurt to think that I'd have to pull her out of something that she enjoys because she ahs Down Syndrome. She played terribly and when they had to play a rhthym on a drum - she (as well as a couple of others) were a bit out of time. But not so bad that I would say she definitely not continue. The playing skills is so hard but she does know a little - it just takes her longer to find the keys and the backing music plays pretty quickly. One game is 'echo' - or 'my turn, your turn' and last year Hannah was always out of sync and copying the teacher as she did actions rather than staying one step behind like she was supposed to. I watched her this week - she got it EXACTLY right. When it comes time to 'solo' she is keen - her little hand goes up and she is so proud of herself. She stands and faces the class, says her name and the title fo the song she will play - not that anyone understands her much!

She wants to play soccer but can't - due to her neck xray reslts. I had been thinking that perhaps a dance class - for kids with speical needs was the way to go. A physical activity that sdidn't rely upon 'practice' in the same way that playing an instrument does. Instead all lesson I thought about ways to make it work. How to make it easier (for Hannah and myself) to practice regularly in amongst all the other stuff we do.

Her teacher was very open - from her point of view Hannah is going fine (except for the playing part). She hasn't had a student with DS before - and doesn't know what is 'usual' or not for them. I said perhaps if I could buy one of her 'wobble boards' (laminated cardboard keyboard) that Han could practice on that - she seemed quite happy to see that I was willing to let it go at least another term. When she gets in some new wobble boards she will pass on an old one for me. I am hoping that putting apiece of cardboard in front of Hannah will make it easier to 'practice' piano without adding a whole other homework activity into her schedule. Fingers crossed it works. Cos she really does enjoy it.

Oh - and the clouds - Kit came in wanting to take a photo - he saw a dragon in them - and I can see what he means...

1 comment:

Michelle said...

its so hard isn't it? It sounds like the teacher is willing to go forth with having Hannah in her class and if she loves it so much go for it! Just with the understanding that she may not be quite keeping up with the rest of the kids, but the point is she is enjoying it and trying her best!

And yes, I see the dragon!