Should I be worried about my 9yo not being able to do buttons?

(19 Posts)
Uhplistrailer Thu 14-May-15 14:10:17

I feel ashamed that he's got to this age and I haven't noticed it before.

DS has always had issues with moving and handling. Very bright, bookish and scientific otherwise.
Always falling over and hurting himself, but he's tall and thin so alway just thought it was because he was a bit gangly!
Very clumsy and generally a bit of a scatterbrain.
Hates sports, has trouble catching even now.
Has had issues with his handwriting for a long while and is given extra handwriting help at school.
Really can't tie knots, although doesn't really have shoes with laces so it's never really been an issue. Shoes with laces are on my list of things to get him!
He also has sensory issues with clothes. Loves things to be very tight, hates seams on socks etc, but this has never been too much of an issue and not really sure if it's relevant to this.

Last week I asked him to hang up his shirt and he started to put it on and I asked him why. He told me that he can't do the buttons up unless it's on him. I asked him to try and he just fumbled around and gave up.

This has been playing on my mind ever since and I wondered if I should be worried about it?

flora717 Thu 14-May-15 14:14:06

So he can do them up when he's wearing the thing. I do struggle with buttons if they're not up against something (a door works if on a hanger). But if you're worried perhaps start discussing with the teacher (is the handwriting improving?)

exexpat Thu 14-May-15 14:14:33

Have you looked at the possibility of dyspraxia? Sounds like he ticks many of the boxes.

DS is mildly dyspraxic - clumsy, struggled with lots of fine motor skills (buttons, laces, zips, cutlery, handwriting etc etc), never learned to ride a bike, had sensory issues with clothes and so on. Never formally diagnosed as we were not in the UK, but if we had been and he had been diagnosed, he might have benefitted from help at school.

He is now 16 and has outgrown many of the issues, but is still not as coordinated as his peers, I think.

Uhplistrailer Thu 14-May-15 14:18:57

I was thinking dyspraxia too, but there are lots of things avout him that aren't typical of dyspraxia, for example, has ridden a bike well since he was 5, walked from 11 months, crawled, rolled over etc at a 'normal' time.

Gosh, I'm thinking of more things he has trouble with, spreading on bread, cutting with his knife and fork.

I don't want to over react and to waste SENCO's time.

exexpat Thu 14-May-15 14:30:08

DS also sat up at 4 months, crawled at 8 months and walked at 11 months - it is more fine motor and some balance things that he struggles with. You don't have to tick every single box on the dyspraxia diagnosis list to have it - there are degrees and variations.

I really don't think you would be wasting the SENco's time to raise your concerns - this is the kind of thing they are there for, and I wish I had had access to one earlier in DS's school career.

As it was, we moved back to the UK school system when DS was in year 4. I knew his handwriting was bad, but thought he would catch up (the class he joined had already learned cursive handwriting, but the school he was at overseas had not taught it yet) so didn't press the school hard enough for help. It wasn't until just before year 6 Sats, when his teacher casually mentioned that his handwriting was so bad that his test papers would need to be transcribed, that I realised quite how much of an issue it was.

Luckily it has improved enough that it didn't affect his GCSEs, but I'm sure it would have been much better if he had had some intervention earlier.

Idocrazythings Thu 14-May-15 14:31:32

Are his fingers double jointed? Maybe he has some hypermobility issues? If that's the issue OT could help with strengthing exercises and special pencils etc?

My 9 1/2 year old dd is still getting the hang of "properly" using the knife and fork .. I think it's a tricky skill

TeenAndTween Thu 14-May-15 14:34:53

Go and ask SENCO re DCD (developmental coordination disorder) and dyspraxia. You need an OT assessment.

DD1 had various problems at primary but they were put down to other things. Issues became more pronounced at secondary, finally got diagnosis y11 which explained lots of things, but too late to get the support she really needed for GCSEs.

DD2 has DCD but not showing other things associated with dyspraxia such as the sensory and organisational stuff. She gets special TA time each week to do various motor skills exercises. She's 10 and can't walk down stairs confidently without a bannister.

Uhplistrailer Thu 14-May-15 14:36:03

Yes, very double jointed. He loves making people squeal in horror at his bendy arms and fingers!
Yes, it's hard to tell wether it's a tricky skill or something he's having significant problems with. He kind of tears at his food and I think he gets tired with trying as he tends to shove it in in great lumps!

Glad to hear he's grown out of it a bit. I agree early intervention is better, which is why I'm feeling a bit guilty that I'm only just linking it all together!

DazzleU Thu 14-May-15 14:43:07

I don't think you'd be wasting the SENCO time - it sounds like it is the fine motor skills that are affected not the gross ones like involved in bike riding.

I have dyspraxia - can ride a bike as parents spent many hours ensuring I could, can tie laces again because of a lot of practise. Still had very bad handwriting.

My DC can do buttons - but struggle with laces which are theses days easy to avoid and I wonder if that part of the problem - even shoe buckles can cause problems.

Unlike me all mine crawled and walked at normal times.

They get some help with co-ordination skills at school

mrz in primary section often post a list of thing to help co-ordination skills - www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/2341952-Ds-5-year-1-hopeless-at-writing it's on this thread might be worth a look.

Charlotte3333 Thu 14-May-15 14:43:46

It sounds a bit like DS1, 9, who has hyper mobile joints and dyspraxia. He's very coordinated when it comes to bike riding, roller skating, horse riding and all that because we're quite a sporty bunch. But he walks into walls, falls over nothing and finds certain fine motor skills a huge ball ache. Tying laces, doing up zips on coats, buttons on jeans, anything fiddly.

DS1 has had OT which helped enormously with his core stability, and as a TA I do a lot of work with the less-well-coordinated children at school so have always done it with him at home. Anything which crosses the mid-section is great; something as simple as a long piece of wallpaper taped across the width of the table or across a large section of flat wall, stand DS in front of it with a chunky pen and get him to use a straight arm to write lines, zigzags, anything across it. We get the younger ones at school to draw roads and drive their cars back and forth, always keeping arms straight and not twisting their bodies so the arm always crosses their torso.

There are loads of exercise programmes, too, and working on catching and throwing skills will help. We also bought DS1 a cheap table tennis set from decathlon, it clips to the side of your kitchen table and, mad as it sounds, it really helped DS' coordination skills.

Feminine Thu 14-May-15 14:48:12

My youngest son has dysgraphia

My Phone Is PlayIng Up Unfortunately.

He has simlilar issues

Feminine Thu 14-May-15 14:49:56

I will try to come back

Uhplistrailer Thu 14-May-15 14:58:04

Thank you! Any advice welcome.
Hoping to speak to his teacher at pick up.

Idocrazythings Thu 14-May-15 15:02:42

OP. You might want to look up "benign hypermobility syndrome", my child has it, he has a collegan disorder called Ehlers Danlos type 3. With these things it's good to get some documentation and intervention so when they are older (like 17, or even university) and have to sit exams etc they can be allowed extra time, use of a laptop or similar. It also allows them an actual reason to sit out on sport if they need to because their joints ache or if they need little mini breaks in class time. Mine is only young and so far is doing ok, just needing extra support with fine motor skills.

I'm not suggesting for a minute your DS has either of those things but it might be worth talking to your GP/senco. I always think. "You don't know what you don't know"

switchitoff Thu 14-May-15 15:07:24

Yep. Sounds like it could be dyspraxia/DCD. Definitely go and get it checked out. I think it's one of those things that can easily be overlooked, especially if as you say your DC is bright - so try not to feel too guilty.

I spent years shouting at my DS to use his cutlery, not his fingers; to walk down the stairs properly i.e. alternating the leading foot; to take better care of his possessions and stop losing everything all the time!!; because he's so academically able it never occurred to me that he simply couldn't do those things.

For us the difficulties with organisation/planning/understanding instructions are the hardest things to manage once in secondary school. So having a diagnosis has been incredibly helpful, as the school understands his issues and provides help and support.

switchitoff Thu 14-May-15 15:09:59

Oh yes, he has hypermobility too in his fingers. He now has special pens (shaped like a sling-shot) which overnight turned his hand-writing from looking like a 4 year olds to actually being pretty good for a 13 year old.

Idocrazythings Thu 14-May-15 15:40:07

Often kids with hypermobility have sensory issues too (like you described with clothes) because of the low muscle tone that can go with it. They need to move fidget a lot because everything feels so loose and the pressure of clothes provides more stimulation to them. The OT can help give tips on a "sensory diet" as well. Which is nothing to do with food but keeping them moving

popcornpaws Thu 14-May-15 17:00:30

Your ds just sounds like my dd when she was younger, she is what we would call in Scotland "hawnless"
She did pick these skills up eventually, just in her own time and there are no issues now.

hackmum Thu 14-May-15 17:06:10

It does sound like dyspraxia - I'm not an expert, obviously, but those are very typical symptoms. I guess not every dyspraxic has the full set of symptoms. (I speak as a self-diagnosed dyspraxic - I was very like your DS as a child, but in those days I don't think dyspraxia had even been identified as a condition.)

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