As parents we almost always sigh with relief when the last school door closes for the summer! Along with our children, we have worked really hard keeping track of schedules, homework and other assignments, and outside activities plus daily cooking, cleaning, washing, etc! Before you jump into your summer schedule (which is almost as busy!), take time to decompress with your child, especially if its been a year of struggle. This might include taking time to talk about the past school year and writing your child’s thoughts down by his yearly school picture: What did you like about the year? Friends? Teacher? A special subject? What did you like least about the year? What was your favorite subject? Why? Then you may want to take […]
Many of you have engaged your child in therapy this past semester and faithfully followed through all suggestions feasible with your families lifestyle. Suddenly you have realized that great progress has been made in one area while another area has appeared that needs work. How do you prioritize what you can realistically handle with your child time wise, financially, and family wise? Prioritizing needs will change as your child’s academic needs change. That is why it is important to have one or more professionals that will help you understand your child’s changing priorities. This may mean that you need to switch from your favorite professional to a new professional at times which I know can be very difficult emotionally for you and your child. But […]
If you do decide to take a break from tutoring/therapy during the summer, its important to do the following: Ask your therapist/tutor for her opinion. Consult your doctor if there is a medical condition that requires ongoing therapy. If they agree, then together decide on activities that will help with the goals you all have decided on. Choose fun, realistic ones. Make a commitment to set aside a specific time during the summer days to continue to work on the above activities. Some children lose what they have learned unless reinforced. Have a specific date to begin therapy/tutoring again. If you don’t, it will be easy to not start again. Make it clear to the therapist/tutor what your plans are for the school year. Will […]
Every parent and therapist has high expectations for the summer months. Considered “free months”, we tend to forget about vacations, camps, Vacation Bible School, etc. that fill up those “free months” very quickly. As your summer is unfolding and you are dealing with priorities of yours, your children, and the therapist, its important to talk with your therapist/tutor to determine what the goals are for the summer months and how these goals will be achieved. Make sure the goals are realistic for your family and your child. Have FUN activities that will encourage those goals when you go on your trips. It might be writing daily in a journal to help with handwriting. Reading maps or signs along the way to help improve reading skills. […]
Computer: A computer helps eliminate the questions of “How do I make the letters?”, “Where are the letters placed on the line,” and “Where is the sentence placed on the page.” computer use is not to replace handwriting as worksheets still demand legible handwriting but does offer recourse for longer assignments. In severe cases of dysgraphia, software allowing a student to dictate into the computer is available. Consider an Alpha Smart instead of a LapTop: www.alphasmart.com Shorten writing assignments Encourage editing and proofreading. Encourage a good pencil grip. Use an inclined clipboard and a gripper if needed for hand fatigue or discomfort.
5. Decrease copying: Copying from the board: Copying requires looking up, remembering what you want to copy, looking down at the page and writing what you remember (hopefully). Then you must look back up again and repeat the effort. For those children who are dysgraphic and have difficulties focusing as well, copying from the board may be very tedious!!! Ask the teacher to have the work on a paper to be placed on the desk for copying. If copying is for “copying sake”, why increase the writing frustration. Just provide a copy of the work whenever possible.
4. Make sure the letters are taught carefully and correctly. Each person helping with writing should use the same font and the same verbal instructions. Once a child has been thoroughly taught the correct letter formations, have him close his eyes and write the letters. This is done to ensure that the letters are pictured correctly in his mind and formed correctly with his fingers. Those that cannot be made with eyes closed need more practice. Something to try: If your child has been thoroughly taught the lower and upper case alphabet, you might try this exercise. Place a piece of paper longwise in front of your child. Ask him to write his name with his eyes closed. Then ask him to write the upper case […]
Dysgraphia due to Motor clumsiness: Spelling words may be relatively good. Copying may be readable but if the writing appears neat, it may have taken the child a long time to copy the words. Drawing and activies involving hand and finger movements are difficult for the child. Dysgraphia due to Poor Understanding of Space: Spelling words may be good but copying is not very readable. Drawing skills may be difficult but skills of the hands and fingers are good. Classroom modifications in addition to and with the help of tutoring or theapy are strongly recommended. Through understanding your child’s strengths and his weaknesses, helping others understand this, and seeking the appropriate help, your child will have greater opportunities for expressing his wonderful creative thoughts! He or she may join the ranks of […]
When we consider all the major components of handwriting that have to be integrated for legible handwriting, one wonders how any of us can write. This seemingly simple task requires organization, sentence formulation, spelling, punctuation, fine motor skills, visual perceptual abilities and much more. Articles such as “Dysgraphia” by Margaret J. Kay EdD 2010 and “Developmental Dysgraphia and Motor Skills Disorders” by Ruthmary Deuel have referred to different subtypes of dysgraphia, as listed below. Upon exploring which type of dsygraphia your child has, in conjunction with professional testing, you may be able to better determine contributing factors to your child’s writing issues and the appropriate professional to work with your child. Next post we will look at the three subtypes of dysgraphia mentioned in the above articles.
Often a therapist has good intentions in telling a parent about their child’s weaknesses and the progress that is anticipated. I learned recently that “my good news” and the parent’s expectations did not mesh. I began my conversation with “I have good news that I think you will be happy with”. As I unfolded my observations which revealed a mild problem as compared to many of my other clients, the parents were clearly upset. They expected no problems and I was excited to find a mild problem. As a therapist, sometimes we see things differently from the parent’s viewpoint as we are so absorbed in improving the child’s issues. This is all said to encourage you as parents and teachers to help us therapists understand the […]