Saturday, 14 February 2009

It has been a while.........

It's been a while since I posted my last blog - mainly because so much has been happening in our lives and I haven't made time to sit down and write. J and I have moved into a 3 bedroom house which is lovely and has lots of space for all J's toys and best of all our cat. Droosie joined us a few days after we had moved in having spent a couple of days at "Stalag luft Pussycat" a local place which calls itself a "cattery" but in no way at all compares with the wonderful Purrfect Guests in Dorset which Droosie is used to. At Purrfect Guests there are photos of all the regular guests on the walls (they have a beautiful one of my previous cat Grace) and Kim or Clive (Guest) ask what your cat eats and always have (or can get) what food the cat is used to, they even provided a stool for Grace to help her climb up onto the cat activity perch when she stayed there as a very old lady. Stalag luft Pussycat though is very different. On my arrival with Dru I was asked what food she ate "oh Sheba or that As Good as it Looks stuff" I said. "No we meant wet or dry food" came the discouraging response. Having agreed "wet food" with them I then followed them down into the depths of the grounds past rows and rows and rows of cat pens - evidently this place "packs em in" during the summer. Dru was found a pen right at the very bottom which was at least within a shed type construction and warm.  She remained there for only three days but I have had to promise her "never again" as she has bitterly listed all the failings  and the lack of pampering she was used to at Purrfect Guests.

Dru has settled in very well to her new surroundings and best of all it's on a really quiet road so she is able to go out again - something she loves doing. In the recent snow she was in her element and thoroughly enjoyed watching J and I construct a snowman and then having a closer look.

J is still having a few difficulties at school - his  reading concerns me as I feel he just doesn't "get it" and most books he brings home are read either from memory or by looking at the pictures and guessing the words. When shown the words out of context he struggles. I am awaiting a further meeting with the school to discuss the application for a Statement of Special Educational Need. More than anything though I am anxious for him to "get" reading as without this so much else will be closed to him. Currently I am considering investing in a programme called "Headsprout" an online phonics based reading programme which takes children from non-reader to reading at the level of around 8 years. It's expensive but might be worth it if I think J will sit and concentrate on each "lesson" of around 20 mins. The trial lessons have been moderately successful in that J likes computers and enjoys sitting and playing with different programmes. The "Rocket" theme of the Headsprout program is also a hit. It's an American site with American pronounciations of words but that is immaterial if it works for J.  A speech therapist I know raves about it and used it with all her children who can read well with no problems. The other positive aspect of this is that J would have daily practice with learning phonics and blending them together which due to pressures of staffing and workload I suspect he does not get in school. I read daily with him at home but he struggles with concentration and sitting down to practice reading is not high on his agenda. Sitting down and being read to or "reading" a story to me (from any book where he has memorised the narrative) is a big hit though and we spend time each day doing this. Headsprout works out at about £100 for the full program of 80 sessions - at just over a £1 a session I don't think that's too bad - now I just have to find the cash - maye the next payday at then end of this month..