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Handwriting suggestions please

(78 Posts)
claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:46:06

Ds aged 9, has great difficulty with writing. He can write if its something that interests him, but other than that just refuses point blank.

He has hypermobility, uses the wrong muscles etc to write with, so its obviously a tiring experience for him.

His tutor has tried a scribe etc, but it doesnt appear to make it any easier for him.

His tutor has just left, she couldnt get him to write and has left it for me to do.

I have tried encouraging him. He has some sweets he can have after and ive told ds no x-box etc until he writes 2 lines.

Any suggestions?

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 12:33:57

Well the speech did seem to be more for my benefit than ds's.

I think the point of it was, she is just here to do what the government tells her to do, tick boxes. Which we knew anyway. She agrees with my suggestions, but then doesnt follow through with them.

Getting dressed for example ds doesnt see the point of wearing clothes, which he finds uncomfortable when at home. So in order for him to getted dressed, i provided a reward chart, with a movement break outside for getting dressed. As soon as ds got dressed for a week, the movement break stopped. Box ticked.

She agreed with my suggestion of a dictaphone and even suggested ds being able to type, instead of write. But then continues getting him to write. So bits he will write, she does, bits he refuses, get left for me. I assume this will show up in a report somewhere as 'ds will write for her, but not me and i have to use other methods!'

Maybe she's trying to get you onside.

Not very professional really to be so openly anti-LA though it did make me smile.

I don't know what it takes to get someone competent I really don't. We have to fight so hard to get people that we can barely call adequate and are then expected to be as grateful as if we'd won the lottery.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:54:46

Exactly for starters he has no idea what she just said to him. He has no idea what jumping through hoops actually means, he remembered this part of the conversation, as he was thinking of the circus tiger jumping through hoops!

This is how she explains everything to ds, when he doesnt understand something too. She seems to think his level of understanding is far greater than it is. SALT "verbal instructions/explanations are to be kept short and to the point, avoiding abstract language and supported with visual cues, prompts or pictures"

She does seem quite anti LA policies and time wasting though.

mrsbaffled Wed 24-Apr-13 11:54:14

Hello, not read the full thread yet, so apologies if I repeat things.
My DS was an extremely reluctant writer up until mid year 3. He has hypermobile elbows, fingers and shoulders, SpLD in fine motor control, spelling and writing.

This is what we did:
Physio gave us some shoulder girdle exercises and told us to let him do lots of swinging from the monkey bars in the park.
I have set up a desk at home with a chair the right height, foot rest, writing slope and ergonomic pencils / pencil grips (the fat ones work best).
We saw a behaviour optometrist who dx eye tracking issues. He had a course of vision therapy which cured the tracking and it involved RRT which helped with his general core strength and fidgetiness.
The SENCO taught DS how to do mind maps. He was allowed not to write in sentences at school, and just draw a mind map instead.
I taught him to touch type. Then he could use an Alphasmart in school for writing sentences.
They said he didn't need to learn cursive (a real mental block for him).
He is doing Word Wasp to help with spellings.
For homework he dictates to me. I write it down, then he copies what I have written.

18 months on he mostly chooses to physically write with a pen and paper and rarely chooses the Alphasmart. His spelling is attrocious, but the actual formation of the letters looks much more like his peers now. He can write a whole page of text now, which is wonderful! (Needs a lot of translation still, but the content is good, and he doesn't normally scream about it anymore).

By the way, when I say best, I don't mean inspirational......grin

That is probably one of the best speeches I have seen from a professional. I love the honesty.

It's all complete drivel of course but I can't help but liking her a bit.

The thing is, why on earth would your ds jump through her pointless hoops, even if she is honest about them?

PolterGoose Wed 24-Apr-13 11:38:08

hmm

I'm sure she could have explained it better.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:33:15

This is what she said to ds, without even pausing. After i got ds to express to her that he doesnt see the point, it doesnt interest him and hurts his hand.

"Shall i tell you one of the reason, i will be honest with you, i dont see the point to a lot of things, but the trouble we have got and something i have no control over, i would like to have control over, because i keep saying i am going to go and work on the government so i can tell them what they need to do. The thing i dont have any control over, is in this file, ive got, do you remember i showed you your targets and things and we have to do, we call it jumping through hoops actually and sometimes we have to jump through that hoop to do that, even if we dont want to do it or we dont see the point of it and then if you have jumped through that hoop, we forget about it after that, you see and then we go onto the next thing, so sometimes i might say to you from now on , this is a hoop, alright and you have got to jump through it, get it out of the way, do it, finished, out the way, tick the box and then we move on, alright, how about that. Because you know at that back here i have these targets, haven’t i that i write in and you are quite interested in theses, you know, and we have little things you have to do and there are a little list of things and you just think oh ok, whats the point of this, im not quite certain, but we have to do it. Because somebody in the Government thinks its a good idea. Not me, someone else, dont blame me"

Ds just sat there, glazed over.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:11:15

I agree, ds very much likes to be in 'control' as do many ASD kids. However I like to have strategies to deal with it, rather than force. I find with force it just makes ds either a) dig his heels in even further or b) becomes overly compliant. With a) ds is then being 'disruptive' or with b) he then directs his feelings inwards and self harms (by scratching himself in private) and also b) can result in more outwardly self harming (head butting walls in anger etc)

He also has trouble understanding her explanations. Today for example when i got him to express to her what he finds difficult her explanation was so long winded and contained lots of words he doesnt understand, he just glazed over. He is again left feeling 'whats the point' in expressing anything.

He recorded her explanation with his new dictaphone and just sat there nodding! She was talking about the government and that she cant control everything and targets and jumping through hoops and went on for about 10 minutes.

After she left ds was giggling about 'jumping through hoops', he said he had visions of the tiger in Madagascar 3, jumping through hoops in the circus!

PolterGoose Wed 24-Apr-13 10:27:48

It's hard though, she is right that a lot of our education seems pointless at the time. And when your ds returns to a school he will have to do stuff that seems pointless. It is inevitable.

I have had many a discussion, argument and meltdown with ds because he 'can't see the point' of something they are doing in school. A huge part of formal schooling is fostering compliance, most children just do the task because 'the teacher said so' but for many of us here that just isn't enough and it is really tricky to deal with.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:15:26

I spoke to the tutor this morning and told ds to explain to her what he found difficult.

She told ds that it doesnt matter if it makes sense to him or not, everyone needs to do things that dont make sense to them. The Government require her to tick a box, whether she agrees with it or not.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 08:32:17

Vorpent, thanks very much, everyone has come up with some great ideas.

I have been asking ds what he finds difficult recently and he has been very good at expressing himself. Seems we have a few problems.

1. The biggest problem for him seems to be it needs to make sense to him. He explained writing a blurb there was 'no point'. What is the point of the blurb, when you just can just read the book.

2. It has to interest him. Or as he would say if it 'needs' to be written. He did a small amount of writing yesterday with his tutor, it was facts from his memory about a panther. When i asked why he could write this but not a blurb, he said it 'needed' to be written.

3. He finds writing tiring and it hurts his hand, if more than a few lines.

I think typing is the way forward for ds and something i will be helping him with. Its just getting everyone else to agree!

vorpent Wed 24-Apr-13 00:02:54

Hi claw, just seen this thread, hope I don't just repeat what's already been said.

Sounds like everyone's giving you a really hard time for doing what you know is best for your son. My sympathies! From what you say about how his tutor speaks to him, my son, also, would be getting very anxious and difficult to teach in that atmosphere.

I don't know much about hypermobility as such, but we had similar difficulties getting our dyspraxic son to write, and after practising with him for a year and seeing little or no progress and a very unmotivated, unhappy and under-achieving boy, I decided to give up on handwriting and get him touch-typing. Luckily his brave class teacher supported the idea, so long as we taught him to touch type and supplied the laptop. We've never looked back, it's completely transformed him.

The way it seems to me, asking my son to handwrite is a bit like asking a short-sighted child to read without glasses. Why ask a child with a disability to manage without the assistive technology that would make it so much easier for him? And who handwrites these days anyway?

On the subject of scribing, I think the problem is that it stops children from feeling in control of the task and makes them dependent on an adult, which they'll resent if they're, er, a little bit independent-minded.

I think switching to typing helped my son in two ways. Firstly, he knew very well that his handwriting looked terrible and was illegible. Teachers would have to ask him what he had just written. So that wasn't great either for his self esteem, or for his teachers' perception of him. Like it or not, most people see messy work and judge the child subconsciously by it. Secondly, he was devoting too much of his processing power to moving the pencil correctly, and not enough to the content of his work. So basically when he types, he's free to concentrate on the content, which improves dramatically. Plus he can read his own work back, which helps with coherence and error checking.

On a practical note, we used Nessie Fingers typing program to teach him to type. It's got a lot of quite fun games and helps with spelling, as you can select word lists to practise based on common spelling patterns. We did it a little and often, maybe two sessions a day of ten minutes, with big rewards for progress.

Good luck, whatever you strategies you decide on!

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 13:40:56

Keep, i really couldnt care less if she likes me or not. Being liked isnt my motivation, i see her as a potential ally. The evidence is mounting against me, it shouldnt be about me, it should be about ds, but the fact is it isnt. 2 ms schools who have failed ds, but blamed me. A social worker, who has not read a report etc and taken what school is saying as gospel. All of which i complained about, the more i complain, the more people cover.

At the moment i have CAMHS on side, but there is certainly going to be a feeling of 'mum removing anything that upsets her ds'. I have to be seen to be working with her. I dont think her teaching is appropriate, isnt how it works, my opinion counts for nothing. No one has recommended that her teaching isnt appropriate or that ds cannot cope with ms teaching.

At the end of the day, yes she says cutting remarks, yes she doesnt really understand ds. But ds is not self harming, he is not talking of killing himself, he has made some huge improvements, so is obviously a lot less stressed than he was before, she is not ideal, but she is tolerable.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 23-Apr-13 12:51:49

No offence but in picking your battles you seem to be tolerating teaching that is not appropriate - not because you think she understands his needs and can help him reduce anxiety but because you want her to like you. I am worried that this tolerance will look odd, that the 'normal' response is to be outraged. He has extreme anxiety and can't cope with critical and judgemental comments even if they are the norm in the m/s or when dealing with 'disruptive' DC in a PRU. You can't do anything about dumb-ass comments at school but you don't give access to your child to someone who makes such comments.

Part of DS1's ASD profile is that he holds grudges for years and has an exceptional memory for perceived slights, he has extreme emotional responses and he perceives normal banter as bullying or abusive. He is at significant risk of serious mental illness in later life. The stakes are high and so I am willing to risk being misunderstood or considered mad MBP momma.

By the time you get to appeal part 4 you want to be in a position where DS is able to attend school and that multiple reports agree that m/s is not suitable. If we win at tribunal I am aware that it is going to be hard work to get DS1 back into school. The longer he is out of school, the harder it is.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 11:35:56

She was suggesting that this school would be suitable for ds and the school i should name. I think she is well aware that i couldnt afford such a placement.

I have a rep for not working with professionals and complaining, one i am trying to live down, not play up to. It doesnt help that ds will becomes overly compliant, appears to understand etc, etc. This is exactly why i am in this position in the first place. Ds is telling her she has pretty hair, hugging her, iniviting her round to have dinner with us, nodding in agreement with whatever she says (even though he clearly doesnt understand), not because he likes her, but because he wants her to like him.

I really have to pick my battles and this isnt one.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 23-Apr-13 11:14:35

Are you sure that this tutor was suggesting that the LA fund the indi school placement or that you should pay the fees personally?

You might find it interesting to do a Data Protection request with the LA in which case you will have access to the EOTAS file. Then you can read what she writes about you in email exchanges.

I complained to the co-ordinator about two tutors for being harsh and cutting towards a child who is unable to attend school due to extreme anxiety. The tutors were replaced and I received a personal apology and the co-ordinator commented that they clearly needed to do observations. An email was also sent slapping down tutors who concern themselves with tribunal issues.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:38:07

She is ok really, i have to bite my tongue sometimes, a few minutes ago i heard her raising her voice and saying to ds "NO, NO, NO, do it like this, its not rocket science" when he didnt understand. She can be very cutting and harsh with her remarks sometimes.

Ds slips very easily into an overly compliant role, pretending to understand, being overly nice and giving compliments, giving cuddles in order to be 'liked'.

btw, have you thought about Baston House? As Secondary approaches etc.?

She sounds okay though.

Yes. That is what you must do. Engage. Ask her advice. Even for small things. Make a bit show of how much you trust her and she'll find it difficult to betray you.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:21:19

God spelling mistakes! i have lost my glasses and cant see properly!

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:19:13

Yes, at the last meeting a few weeks ago, a 'progress update' meeting. She was saying that ds is making progress, slowly, but that it isnt going to happen over night.

and oh yes, i always run my ideas by her to see what she thinks, she is very opinionated and its hard to get a word in edgeways! She is one of these of these people who like to know best and a bit of a know it all really.

However if i fed her ego, she can also be very supportive and sing my praises at meetings.

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 10:09:10

I think that the older kids need to understand that ds and his tutor take priority on the days she comes tbh.
Glad the dictaphone idea is eg accepted smile

Does the tutor think she has made progress?

Could you 'ask' her opinion on your idea to move him to another room, and if she wants this then let her witness, deal with and then write about the fall out?

At least it shows that you are considering ways to make her job easier and thinking of your ds!?

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