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Writing hypermobile finger splints

(88 Posts)
zzzzz Sun 30-Dec-12 11:45:06

Ds has hypermobile middle knuckle joints in each of his fingers and probably very loose connection across the knuckle joints. They cause him a lot of pain and he finds writing difficult. If I support his hand he writes surprisingly well. Soft pens and slippery surfaces help too.

I wonder if any of you have tried splints or supports. I was thinking something like this

http://www.3pointproducts.com/oval-8-finger-splint---consumers/

I'm worried about the level of pain he experiences and if damage is being caused long term. I would also love him to be able to write unaided, not least because it looks lik I am doing the writing IYKWIM and he definitely is!

porridgelover Mon 31-Dec-12 15:33:03

Piano/any musical experience is great IMO.
Lots of research to show children with musical education tend to do better at social recipricocity, long term education etc (though whether its because the music is the cause or the symptom of involved ambitious parents is not clear). (Dare I mention Therapeutic Listening again.....)

Splinting for handwriting: not a lot of research, but what I have seen tips slightly to the 'no benefit' side of the equation.

zzzzz Mon 31-Dec-12 16:00:36

www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/messageboards/NF2322273?thread=5802240

Interesting to read about it from adults.

I think for ds it would be better to have something he rests on rather than is strapped on to him.

PolterGoose Mon 31-Dec-12 17:13:36

I've had some more thoughts grin

Seating and table height - my ds is hypermobile in every joint except elbows, OT was very pleased that ds still sits in his Tripp Trapp chair as it is really good for posture and gives support to his feet and legs. It is really hard to write if the table is too high, so if your ds were to sit higher he may not put so much pressure on his finger, hand and arm joints.

Using a softer more giving surface - eg an old fashioned A3+ sized blotter, they are softer than a table surface.

Using really good quality paper - I too have hypermobile joints and can only write comfortably on very smooth paper, my favourite at the moment are the Muji lined pads. Best biro type pens I've found are either the Bic ones with 4 colours, that are just a bit thicker or Zebra ball point pens which have a rubbery bit to grip. Gel pens are awful as you have to control the pressure in a way I just can't do, they hurt to write with.

Ds really likes the Berol school handwriting pens as they are quite indestructible and work with soft and firm pressure, so they cope well with the need to constantly change position and pressure because of pain.

auntevil Mon 31-Dec-12 17:18:10

DS has been doing various OT devised hand exercises for 3 years now. School are very good and give him daily sessions of 15 minutes (no statement) .
He is 10 now, and his writing is acceptable, but he cannot write for very long. He is truly ambidextrous in that he can swap hands part way through work and the teacher has no idea if he has/hasn't or which hand did what grin
My personal opinion is that if a DC can form letters well enough to write, they could fill out a form with name address etc. Using the written word to express ideas, enhance education, should not be a gruelling exercise that needs to be endured. For any piece of written work (remembering that my DS is Y5 - so more length is required) - he can choose to type. For lengthier assignments, he can use other aids. He still writes routinely each day and keeps up his OT exercises, but it's brain rather than pain I want from him.

PolterGoose Mon 31-Dec-12 17:41:19

And another one from me smile

Because of all ds's additional needs I forget about my own foibles (because of course I've neer been formally dx with anything but have spoken at length with various professionals assessing ds and taking history which makes me aware of some of my own difficulties confused)

I find writing using a clipboard helps, again, it means I can constantly adjust my position, can sit on sofa or bed, usually sitting on my legs in an awkward pins and needles provoking manner! Ds has often used a clipboard for longer pieces of writing, he often likes writing laying down on his tummy.

Obviously none of my suggestions are based on anything other than personal experience etc etc

mymatemax Mon 31-Dec-12 18:01:31

ds2 manages best with the table that sort of goes around the chair, so table is n shapes with chair that slides in to the arch IYKWIM. That way his arms are supported, he has less wriggle room & his feet are flat on the floor.
There is much less for his to worry about as his body, feet & arms are all supported so he can concentrate on his fine motor.
It also means he doesnt grip so hard so is able to tolerate holding a pen for longer

zzzzz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:02:05

Making the writing surface softer and less cold would probably help. We do a lot of other work on those silicon mats ( 2mm thick flubber) and ds likes them, so it may be that they soften things. I have old fashioned sloping kids desks (think inkwell in the corner) but am not sure what would be best for chair? Foot rest? On wheels office style?

Clip board is a good idea. We like to move around a lot so that would work. Keep all thoughts coming please, this is brilliant.

auntevil I want him not to be embarrassed (not that he ever is) filling out forms. I doubt weather anyone will write for sustained lengths of time in another decade!

polt I scrunch up like that from choice too!

zzzzz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:06:37

What I need is something a bit like this

http://www.lightinthebox.com/Ladybird-Soft-Gel-PC-Mouse-Hand-Wrist-Rest-Support--SMQ3910-_p82340.html

But with a moulded dent for his hand/wrist to nestle in on wheels so he can move it.

zzzzz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:06:59
PolterGoose Mon 31-Dec-12 18:29:07
zzzzz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:42:46

No I hadn't. Young lady I owe you a coffee. grin

PolterGoose Mon 31-Dec-12 18:53:39

grin

madwomanintheattic Tue 01-Jan-13 01:08:03

Ah, that makes it much easier, lol.

We bought dd2 her first keyboard when she was three, for fine motor stuff. grin

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 01:14:42

I'm thinking of getting DS 5 an alpha smart to use in school and teaching him to touch type!

porridgelover Tue 01-Jan-13 09:09:40

Polter that aid looks really interesting! Thanks.

sazale this was recommended to me by an OT, though I havent got it yet (on to-do list).

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 12:45:32

Thanks porridge, that sounds good.

I do want him to learn to write but the anxiety it causes him and the effort it takes are causing him barriers to accessing the curriculum. I'm trying to find alternate ways of him to display his knowledge as he's very intelligent. He can't communicate it verbally as he has social anxiety which manifests like selective mutism.

He can't write words/read independently yet due to his phonological processing difficulties so he's finding school very difficult indeed and I want to make it as easy as I can for him.

zzzzz Tue 01-Jan-13 13:14:10

sazale. A couple of ideas that might help.

Typing, BBC does "dance pad?" typing for free on line, which a friend swears by for her ASD/dyspraxia child. I will check the name and get back to you.

For writing I would try a Montessori solid alphabet (you can buy one or just make them on paper or tiles). Ds also loves leaping about on a big floor alphabet (nb try to find a lower case one). Start with word building, have a box with solid little toys in (eg small plastic dog, pig, hat, pin) vary materials and style if possible so collected from different sources is better. Choose a thing and then try to write the word. Take turns like a game or work alone.

I would recommend Montessori Read and Write by Lyne Lawrence as it has lots and lots of activities and games in order, so slowly adding skills.

I think you are right to persue this as the difference in people's perception of ds before and after literacy is quite marked.

From a Mummy point of view it is also another window into your little person.

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 15:21:01

Thanks zzzzz,

I'm doing alphabet arc and some other activities with him at home as guided by an independent SALT that I ended up getting involved as school just kept fobbing me off and nhs salt was only dealing with his speech sounds and no one was looking into the impact on his literacy. The problem is he's shattered by the time he gets home from school and doesn't want to do more activities so I have to find ways of doing them without him realising.

School have promised loads but are yet to deliver and CDC won't advise on social anxiety until they've decided what's causing it! In the meantime he's really struggling and hates school. As he's a rule follower and exceptionally well behaved he'll never cause them a problem. The OT has advised Ed Psych involvement in her report but I doubt that will happen.

I'm considering applying for a SA for him but I'm aware that there aren't many kids in our LA in KS1 with one.

I have a dd 14 with HFA (and other developmental difficulties) who I was constantly told would be fine (she is academically bright) so I'm very suspicious of school. I got a statement for my dd last year and she is now in special school.

It's the fobbing off of the things they say they're doing/gonna do but then don't. He's supposed to write with a felt tip but I know they make him use a pencil. His pencil grip that was provided by OT went missing and I said I'd replace it. The SENCO insisted I didn't that they would and whilst clearing his drawer out at Christmas noticed one that is not the right one.

The SENCO didn't know he was bright until I told her! My 11 year old nt son left Y6 this year with level 5a's across the board and ds5 appears much more bright than he was at the same age but he is on p levels but school won't tell me his exact levels!

I do wonder if I'm over reacting because of DD's difficulties but she missed out on early intervention and I'll never know if things could have been so different for her. I don't want to chance it a 2nd time.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for the info, it's greatly appreciated.

zzzzz Tue 01-Jan-13 16:43:50

Im out on phone but I think you shouldnt wait for help from school.

zzzzz Tue 01-Jan-13 17:20:47

The vast majority of siblings are 5 to 10 IQ points different from each other. So if your other children are bright it is probably a good idea to assume your ds is.

I rally sympathise with the tired child who needs major input on top of the school day. It is very difficult.

Holidays are obviously a good time and weekends. Make everything as stress free as possible at home (I know you do this anyway, you aree a Mummy). The truth is that children with sn have to work ten times as hard as other children. It is like having a very gifted child. If you'd given birth to an Olympic gymnast there would be endless extra training, special diets and equipment. Same thing just none of the applause! grin

This is a good syllabus

myfamilyschool.narod.ru/MONTESSORIALBUM.doc

Scroll down to "language" which is what we would call literacy.

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 19:24:09

Thanks zzzzz,

I think I need to concentrate on 1 or 2 areas but as there is so much he needs it's hard to prioritise. It's going to have to be the reading and writing (or alternative forms of displaying his knowledge).

zzzzz Tue 01-Jan-13 19:29:52

While I am knackered most of the time, I have to admit the endless striving for more skills everyone else gains easily is not all bad. There is nothing more satisfying than when your carefully laid plans work. It is also really challengeing always having to think of another way of getting a new skill.

I will never be bored, probabley never have empty nest syndrome, and even if the rest of the world don't get it, I know these children are a gift.

sazale Tue 01-Jan-13 19:32:36

The vast majority of siblings are 5 to 10 IQ points different from each other. So if your other children are bright it is probably a good idea to assume your ds is.

I didn't know this. That's very interesting. Despite all her difficulties (ASD/SPD/Dyslexia/ demand avoidance/hypermobility/significant impairment in motor skills?ADHD traits) my dd left primary with 4b's accross the board with the school saying she could have done much better if she would just concentrate!! By the end of year 8 where she had been out of mainstream classes for 1 year and only been completing set work in the student support unit set by the teacher she had increased to a 6c in maths!!

When I mentioned that my ds was very intellegent to the SENCO she was very shocked!! They are such a secretive school it drives me mad ggrrr lol!

zzzzz Tue 01-Jan-13 20:11:18

It's one of the things I took away from Thomas Sowells book "Einstein's Syndrome" (though I find him a little too "it's not ASD-ish" to take all he says seriously). I've read it in other studies. I do think it only really can only hold true if you dc's disability doesn't result from injury, but it makes sense from my experience.

Sowell recommends having your other children's IQ tested if it is hard to test your child with sn, and then arguing statistics, with IQ doubters.

The staff at ds's old school sometimes found it hard to understand. I think they pitched a couple of years below his chronological age. The problem for ds is he is very bright so although he appears to be able to muddle along, he actually is massively disabled by his language disorder and masks it to a point, the result is he appears daft and is bored.

survivingwinter Wed 02-Jan-13 22:55:08

my dd also has hypermobility due to brain damage and just wanted to second what was said above about how supportive seating can help with fine motor. we just got a chair through OT which frees up dd s arms as her core is weak. She can't hold a pen correctly and writes with her little finger primarily. IT says in long term will cause pain in the radial nerve (sp?)

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