Five year old drawing skills

(13 Posts)
Matteo43 Wed 09-Apr-14 12:19:12

My wife and I (and perhaps more importantly our son's school) are a little concerned with our son's drawing skills.

First a little background. We adopted him from Russia at four years of age about a year ago. When he first arrived he was pretty wild and almost uncontrollable and of course there was a language issue. For that reason we kept him out of kindergarten but after a few months did send him to some play groups.

He's a very sociable little boy and very active. He can be a bit clumsy but seems to have no trouble running around kicking a ball or riding a tricycle or scooter.

Almost from the start (after we both spoke Russian with him) my wife speaks to him in Italian and I in English. He has taken to both languages very easily and switches back and forth with ease.

For the above two reasons I am not too concerned with his motor skills or intelligence. However, he does seem to be a bit underdeveloped with his writing and drawing skills. He can draw a circle or square without much trouble but triangles are drawn upside down. It's the same with the letter A. The letter S is usually drawn mirrored. He also does not tend to draw objects (cars, trees,, etc.) but random lines.

Is this something with which we should be concerned? I am assuming that his four years in an (albeit very good) orphanage means he is underdeveloped slightly (for example he could not even hold a crayon when he arrived).

As a parting shot he loves jigsaw puzzles and cottons on to them very quickly (it seems to me); the other day he did one with 60 pieces at first sitting. However...as usually does with his others, he did it upside down.

Would appreciate any considered or professional advice. Thanks!

mummy1973 Wed 09-Apr-14 17:51:31

Hi. My son hated drawing, colouring and mark making until he was nearly 6. I was told that other fine motor skills like cutting out and threading help.
Also dd was v keen to draw and write but she would get letters round the wrong way. Her teacher said it is very common.

mummy1973 Wed 09-Apr-14 17:54:10

oh and the teacher said boys often draw the action of something whereas girls will draw something correctly. e.g. Ds drew the speed of a car rather than the car.

ReallyTired Sun 13-Apr-14 14:29:30

What is the school doing to support your son's motor skills? Your son is little and lots of boys who have not had the trauma of being in an orphanage have limited fine motor skills at five years old.

My son saw an occuaptional theraphist at five and half years old about fine motor skills. She devised a programme which the school followed and his fine motor skills improved dramatically.

We used "Write from the start" with my son and got really good results.

www.amazon.co.uk/Write-start-Programme-Perceptual-Handwriting/dp/1855032457

Pixiepie Sun 13-Apr-14 17:48:41

At 5 he is still young. Most children at that age have some form of reversal in their letter writing.They usually correct it for themselves the older they get. I am a primary teacher and often see children, my own sons included, mirrored or reversed especially the letter b and d. very common. S is also quite common. He sounds to me like a normal little boy. I see children who are 5 come in with a variety of drawing and writing abilities. Some, like my son are skilled at drawing and some others can draw very little if anything. If you are worried, talk to his teacher as she will be the best to advise you.

HolidayCriminal Sun 13-Apr-14 18:06:19

If he's learnt English & Italian that quickly he's a bright bunny, not much to worry about!
Is he left handed?

efeslight Tue 15-Apr-14 21:58:09

I would try and give him lots of practice with play dough, plasticene, building bricks, threading cotton reels, chalks on the floor outside, painting on an easel, playing with shaving foam in a big tub, painting with small cotton buds etc - basically as many different ways of using his hands/fingers/wrist etc to carry out a whole range of actions and movements. this will help his fine motor control -
if you search/ post in 'primary education', there are lots of similar threads with loads of great advice.

Greengardenpixie Wed 16-Apr-14 13:24:17

Well my ds is 6 and just yesterday i saw him reverse one of his numbers! I remember all my older ds doing this and they are now 27 and 25!

Greengardenpixie Wed 16-Apr-14 13:25:03

..oh and can all read, write and draw.

Flexiblefriend Thu 17-Apr-14 03:03:18

I really don't think you have anything to worry about. It sounds like he is just not that keen on drawing. My DD (6) is similar. She did very little drawing until the last few months, it just didn't seem to interest her. Her writing isn't the neatest but she is rapidly getting better, and school are quite happy with her. Your DS sounds like he is doing brilliantly after a difficult start in life!

tethersend Sat 19-Apr-14 15:20:26

He may just not be interested in drawing; but, given his history, I suspect that he has not had the chance to go through developmental stages in the way an infant in a family has.

I would take it back a few stages and introduce messy play, finger painting, sand, water and all the activities efeslight describes. Focus on the process, not the result; this is key. No draw a car etc. Try using the phrase tell me about this rather than what is it? in response to any mark-making he does. Avoid colouring in and other activities where there is a right/wrong outcome.

Good luck with it all smile

Matteo43 Thu 24-Apr-14 12:52:47

Thanks for all the responses and apologies for the delayed reply by me.

Mummy73 - we're also working on his fine motor skills (making pictures with pieces of pasta, lentils, etc.) and there's some progress there. Interesting what you say about the "action" of something.

ReallyTired (yeah, us too..!) - actually, it's the school that seems to be concerned. They are trying to help him but he needs extra attention in class (especially to focus on a particular task) and one of his two teachers seems unable to provide him with this extra attention. Admittedly, I can see why this would affect the other kids in the class but still...The book you recommend looks interesting, thanks for that.

Pixiepie - thanks for the reassurance.

HolidayCriminal - I think so too (I know, I'm prejudiced) but actually he would have to be surely? Also, he occasionally comes out with quite complicated, conditional, phrases so I think he is a bright kid. As for being left-handed, he tends to do things such as drawing with his right hand but when he's eating he will often shift his utensils over.

Flexiblefriend - I tend to think so also; after all, not all kids like to draw. He did have a very difficult start in life (though luckily the orphanage was a good one).

tethersend - I fully agree; it's the early, developmental stages he is lacking. You give some useful ideas (although he actually is pretty good at colouring in - inside the lines - albeit pressing very hard). And of course, he loves making a mess...

All in all it seems there's not too much to worry about. In fact it seems that many non-adopted (I assume) kids around his age also have a similar problem (if I can use that word). We'll try some of the exercises mentioned above and carry on working with him.

Now, if only we can improve his behaviour in school...

tethersend Fri 25-Apr-14 19:55:28

Hi Matteo- not to rain on a parade, but as an ex-art teacher (I now work with Looked After Children) I would advise not to encourage colouring in; it is not a great activity to encourage creativity, and goes back to right/wrong outcomes. Try The anti-colouring book for some ideas for drawing activities.

How is his behaviour at school?

Have you had a look at the Adoption section of MN? There are some posters who are adoptive parents (and some who are not) who give excellent advice and support.

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