"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Positive News

I'm happy that I can share positive news with you today.

When I walked into school with Katya this morning, I met the young man of yesterday. When he saw me and Katya, he looked searchingly at my face and said, "Good Morning, Katya!" while looking at me. He then started to move off, but the smile and "Good-Morning" I gave him must have inspired his confidence, because he stopped, came back and then said sincerely, "About yesterday, I'm sorry." I smiled again at him and told him, "I forgive you."

The teacher was not there yet, but the para apologized that she hadn't caught that yesterday. I assured her that I had seen she was busy farther down the row of kids (after all, she can't be every where at once with 25 kids!) and she said she promises me that none of the other kids in the classroom struggle with treating Katya nicely like this boy does. That they have worked with him and will definitely keep on. I pointed out to her that I have seen the others be very nice and welcoming each day to Katya, and I know that they are! (There are several girls who are going way above and beyond even to include Katya and make her feel welcomed--even trying to learn some ASL signs to use with her.) And that we understand that this situation needs more work, and we'll keep working together--on both kids--Katya and this young man--and hopefully by the end of the year they will be able to be civil to each other. ;-)

When I picked Katya up, the teacher told me that she had talked personally with the boy after she got to school, and she had asked him to think about how he would like it if he couldn't say a single word. He LOVES to talk and talks almost incessantly, the teacher said, so he had gotten pretty solemn at the thought of not being able to talk. He finally said, "That wouldn't be good!"

I feel good about the way the situation was handled by the school--clearly he is a young boy and needs more teaching in this area. While Katya needs continued teaching as well, she has made HUGE strides in her behavior towards other kids and she is the one with the huge disadvantage. If she can learn and grow and improve, he should be able to as well. Hopefully as they both improve, the relationship will improve as well.

And now for happy news about Katya's music lessons! These are excerpts from the last music lesson she had. See what you think about the encouraging things the teacher had to share!


1. Ring Bell-- Katya rings

2. Place red stickers on double black keys ( C# and D#)
 She did this eagerly. This time instead of placing the stickers on all the groups of two and then coming back to draw on all the Letter Cs beside them as we had done before,  on her own she drew the C in the correct place after the first group and continued to do it that way.  This shows me that she remembered the routine,  has an orderly mind, has initiative and enjoys doing things herself. She chose the correct key 1/2 of the time, I think because she was in a hurry to do it and wasn’t being careful to watch what she was doing.  She then took much of this task on herself, and was consumed with this project.  Her attention span is growing as she is staying at the piano much longer on her own without wandering off.  I had to redirect her occasionally as she would race ahead and miss the groupings of 2 black keys.  (We also needed to pause and hop on each set of keys as well)

3. Draw a hill on a piece of paper, a Katya figure and the steps up and down.          After I drew the hill, I took her hand and she and I drew the details on the girl.  With a Lego doll we climbed up the hill and came back down.
4. Climb up and down a five tone scale by transferring the concept to the piano keys.  Right after I drew the hill on the keys, she on her own! without any prompting climbed up and down the keys without the doll tracing the hill line drawn on the keys as we had done last week  Earlier lessons she would climb up the hill and just keep going, not stopping at the G, (5th tone) Again she is remembering the routine and understanding what I am trying to teach her.  We were all thrilled and cheered and clapped.  She knew she had done well and was clapping as well, smiling. I rewarded her with bites of granola bar :  )

5. Rhythm instruments.  She enjoyed tapping a new bell suspended on a string.  The M. girls and Katya accompanied me playing a cheerful, march on the piano. 

6. Music game: Ring Around the Rosie.  She joined our circle and after the first round, understood, enjoyed the game and “fell” at the right time. 


Did Katya practice this week?  Did you instruct her to do to do these steps?  Did you climb up and down the hill with her?  If not she is getting this on her own and has a great memory.


Did you note the things I put in bold? So awesome! Especially the part about her getting "Ring Around the Rosy" and being able to participate with the other kids! Do you remember that a year ago Katya had no concept of playing WITH other kids really? Now, more and more, we see this coming. . . .

And the answer to the teacher's question?? Nope. We had a crazy week and did not once (to our shame) manage to get any practice time in with Katya  . . . she really truly remembered all that and went back and showed improvement without ANY practice help at home during the week . . . now how cool is that??

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