Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    It's pretty clear to me that my son has dysgraphia - at least; he could well have other "dys" that have not yet been revealed because of his age. He does not read or write at all yet (they teach reading/writing very slowly in France, which I personally think is wise) but has for some time written his first name in "joined up writing". It is always the same - huge, irregularly sized letters that slope up or down and with big spaces between the individual letters. Of course he is very young so it is difficult to talk about this as though it is something that may not change but seems clear that it indicates a difficulty with forming letters in the standard way. He does also have some fine motor skills problems (not gross ones) - cannot tie shoelaces, finds buttons difficult, which I presume is related.
    Does anyone have any experience of this in relation to preschoolers and any notions of help that can be brought at this early stage?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika...I work at a 4k. It is very rare that the kids can write their names well. A few can. Interestingly enough, they are all girls. It is common to see uneven letters and connected letters etc. As for reading, it's not taught to our four year olds either. It's considered extremely precocious for a four year old to be able to read at such a young age.

    I know my mom told me that when I first started writing, which was very early, I wrote backwards. You could hold it up to a mirror and read it. The problem righted itself by age six. I just don't know if at age four he is mature enough to know if he has any writing issues yet. As for shoe tying, most kids in our four year old class also need help if their shoes untie and we have to tie them for the kids (many parents just have the kids wear velcros). Not all the fours are that hot with buttons either. Most can zip better than button. And, as with the writing, it is often the girls who adapt to doing these things sooner.

    I don't know if this helped. Hope so :)
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika -

    Do you have access to an occupational therapist? No idea what the equiv is in France... here there are two related fields - physiotherapy, and occupational therapy. PT deals with muscles and joints - Occupational Therapist (OT) deals more with the brain-muscle connection (an Occupational Therapist (OT) can explain it better, but that's how I've categorized it in my brain)

    If so, it does NOT hurt to get an Occupational Therapist (OT) to evaluate J's motor skills. While you're at it, also evaluate for sensory issues.

    The chances are high that these will come back clear - there may be no issue at all. The advantage of getting the evaluation is two-fold:
    1) if there is nothing, it will set your own mind at ease
    2) if there is something, NOW is a very good time to start interventions.

    We knew at Kindergarten that our difficult child had significant fine motor skills (he started K at 4.5). Nobody else would believe us. It became painfully obvioyus by grade 2, but nobody knew where to send us (back then). Sometimes, a parent's gut feel is correct. Sometimes, we just don't have the experience to know for sure. Either way, if it is possible, it is worth getting it checked out.

    The symptoms that we saw included major difficulties with tieing shoes, doing buttons, self-feeding, and printing... in this case, the letters "looked" appropriate, but if you wanted difficult child do it, he often went bottom-to-top and right-to-left, which doesn't generate the "flow" necessary for effective written output.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Had to go look this up...

    There is a clinic (or was as recently as 2 years ago... so I suspect this is current info) run by Dr. Amanda Kirby, somewhere in Britain. She is a recognized expert on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), and has written a number of books on the subject as well.

    I was in contact with them, as part of our search for help. They do accept international patients (we couldn't afford to go), but they also told me what kinds of resources to get (the Occupational Therapist (OT), for one).

    If you or your Mom were to contact them, they might be able to tell you how you would get this sort of evaluation in France. I do know that it isn't just recognized in the "English-speaking world", because the international symposium on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) this past summer was held in Switzerland. (Its held every other year.)

    You might also want to check out www.canchild.ca.

    Clarification - IF this is anything at all, it is more likely to be Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) than dysgraphia. Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) has to do with neuromotor control, and affects the physical ability to write. Dysgraphia is a learning disability that interferes with the ability to compose written work, not otherwise explained by other disabilities. You can have both at the same time, but dysgraphia wouldn't really show up until at least grade 2 or 3, mayby not until as late as grade 5 or 6.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi Malika! Even when I work in mainstream pre-K and K classes, most of the kids can't tie shoes yet. Names are written in their own personal style because most (if they do it at all) have learned by just trying to copy what they see. As they actually learn the mechanics of how to write the letters they slowly adjust the size and spacing. But you are with him and maybe because of his other challenges you are seeing something early? Do you have an Ipad or anything like that...they have cool apps for tracing the fingers on letters to form them the right way and move on up into spelling little words. Just to cover your bases given his "issues" maybe just play with pre-writing skills like copying your lines and shapes with sticks in sand, pudding play on a cookie sheet, lots of things can help him imitate going left to right and making curvy lines etc. just to practice the underlying skills to be able to do those things once he actually is in school working on them. Just some thoughts. OH and those colored foams that you can use in the bath...those are fun to draw in too....shaving cream works great for that too...smells nice also. (In Occupational Therapist (OT) they also had him put little clips on barbies -i know not a "boy" thing but he loved it on toy horsie hair too, he also did lots of those magnet things where a magnet pen pulls a bead thru a maze and that kind of thing)

    Dont know if this makes sense, and forgive me if it is obvious info-it helps me sort thru puzzles with kids-- motor development goes from the midline out...so center of the body/core first then large muscles like upper arms etc out to fingers... So working on pre-writng we start with large chalkboard, finger/hand paint, etc...moving to pen/pencil and fine motor finger skills. Always cool to keep reinforcing the more mid-line skills to keep 'em solid.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I totally don't get the waiting to teach them to write thing, but either way, he's four. Practice practice practice. Most kids have some pretty terrible handwriting in elementary school. If he doesn't want to write, see if he'll draw, even that will help the finer motor skills and hand to eye coordination.
  7. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I could not help you as far as wether it is a normal issue or not, but if you need to see an Occupational Therapist (OT) here is what you need to look into for France: ergotherapeute. My understanding is it is the same speciality, just different word.
    I would recommand an evaluation any ways. V's Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation has uncovered a whole bunch of issues that no one else could see/understand or that I could explain myself (knew some was wrong, could not describe it properly though).
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks klltc - I googled ergotherapeute and my local town and there is one. So, when I have gathered the energy for another round of evalutations/testing, I will ring and make an appointment!
    I may be worrying for nothing with the handwriting - that would be nice :) He seems to have very little control of making small letters - his are huge and when he writes his name it sometimes covers almost the whole breadth of the page. I am afraid, buddy, that we don't practise all these extra things at home... though it sounds a great idea. J likes drawing and painting, though his pictures tend to be very short, 1 minute affairs... As for taking it slowly to learn to read and write, I do think this is wise. There is a school of thought that children are not open to this kind of activity and skill until age 7 or so (and in the Waldorf system, writing is not taught until then). Of course it depends on the child - I kind of taught myself to read before I went to school and there are kids who are hungry to learn at a young age, but it should come from the child not be "forcefed". We are in a great hurry to do things sometimes and there is little wisdom in it - it can be counterproductive. in my humble opinion! Anyway, I have just been reading about ADHD and all the attendant learning disabilities that go with it so picked out another problem to start worrying about :)
  9. keista

    keista New Member

    I had to laugh at this because over here, there is a very popular item sond on TV called "Your Baby Can Read" the theory is that BABIES as young as six months can be taught to read! in my opinion it's crazy.

    I never worried about such things at 4. The kids wanted to read, I let them, they wanted to write letters, I showed them how. They did it to the best of their ability (son actually refused to write or draw anything until he was in pre-k) They will NOT be winning any penmanship contests, but write sufficiently well. By today's standards (which in my opinion are lousy), I'm told they all write very well, which makes me feel better because MY penmanship is quite horrific.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont think you have anything to worry about yet with this issue. Neither of my 4 or 5 grands can write very well at all. Letters are very big and sloppy and all over the page. Coloring isnt very good either. Keyana is much worse. My boys were better at that age. There are some Leapfrog toys that you can use a stylus and copy the letters. Cheaper than the Ipad if you dont have one. There is also a cool fisher price one that is great for a Xmas present. Cant remember the exact name though. It has a ton of games and stuff on it.

    Cory couldnt read or write his name when he was 4. We were working so much more on behaviors and I was so scared we hadnt prepared him for Kindergarten. He couldnt tie his shoes either. Well...by the time he he got to Xmas break, he not only was he tying his shoes, he was reading at the end of 1st grade level and he was doing second grade math. This was a kid who only knew his colors when he entered K. Dont worry so much.