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Y5 son says he is stupid

(58 Posts)
goodygoodymummy Wed 16-Dec-15 22:18:23

Sorry, this may be a long post, but I really need advice. My y5 son has slowly over the past two years and in particular over the last six months got very demoralised at school. He now often says he is stupid and has special needs. We have told him he is a bright child and that this is nonsense. Think it stems from the fact that although he is just about the oldest in his year, he is one of only three children not to have gained their pen licence. He is left-handed, and he says his hand hurts when he writes. They other two children who have no licence both have statements. He tries and tries, but it is never good enough. For what it is worth, although not perfect, we think his writing is fine. I approached his teacher and mentioned the pen licence thing was affecting his confidence, and she didn't want to know. Said he just had to try harder and do more joined writing. Surely if this is affecting a child's confidence so much, they should give him the pen licence? The other kids all use pens in lessons and he is still stuck using a pencil. Lots of the children two years younger than him have their pen licences. What would you do??? Please help/advise? Feel both angry and very very sad.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Wed 16-Dec-15 22:23:56

If his wrist is hurting hes holding the pen wrong or pressing too hard. You should be able to take the pen off him when writing with no trouble.

He should not be able to see the mussels in his are contractiing.

Look at that first.

DS school doesnt do handwritting lessons.

Is he being teased? That would make more sense than the actual pen.
The teacher should deal with that.

Squashybanana Wed 16-Dec-15 22:31:00

My kids' school does pen licenses, I wonder if its the same school....! I would request one to one or small group additional handwriting teaching. School cannot both say he has a significant issue with writing (doesn't get a pen licenses even though most get them younger) and at the same time assert that he doesn't need help. In the meantime tell him handwriting is independent of intelligence and that many doctors are famous for their terrible writing!

CocktailQueen Wed 16-Dec-15 22:36:09

I'm not a fan of ruddy pen licences for the same reason. DS is a leftie and his writing ranges from readable to - not. There's no similar award for maths or PE or music or a anything, and I think it's unfair.

Anyway. Can you buy some handwriting practice resources? Or some pencil grips - they help to improve grip and should make it more comfy to write.

Geraniumred Wed 16-Dec-15 23:40:02

Primarys do make such a fuss over beautiful handwriting. The standards aren't so high in secondary. I 'm a leftie and I find that my handwriting is neatest in a cheap Parker cartridge pen. Left handed pens make mine look worse. Go in again and make a bigger fuss. It really isn't worth losing confidence over.

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 07:08:48

If his hand hurts when writing he might benefit from occupational therapy. Often the pain is caused by poor shoulder girdle strength (which mans child uses whole arm/upper body when writing), poor wrist strength/ rotation and/ or finger strength /flexibility.
There are lots of great fun exercises to help. I'd recommend the Speed Up book as something accessible and age appropriate.

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 07:10:42

QueenC Thu 17-Dec-15 07:24:35

I have no advice over the handwriting but if he's really unhappy then I advise to try and speak to the teacher again. If you get no joy then speak to the headteacher. It's not right that a child should feel stupid and demoralised. Is it just about the pen license or are there other things he's worried about?

In the meantime just keep praising him for his other skills and good work and try and boost his self esteem. Easier said than done I know (have a yr5 girl).

lostInTheWash Thu 17-Dec-15 08:12:59

Happened to DD1 in yr5 - only girl not to have one and later one fo the few in the class.

Every time we mentioned it to her teacher - one of her better ones it was oh yes I must find ten minutes to test her.

She couldn't pin point exactly what was wrong - and gave an impression it was just her finding time. An entire school year and she never did - DD1 confirmed she hadn't been tested despite us pointing out the effect on her confidence to the teacher.

However there are issue though - grip strength - she holds too hard - speed isn't great and pressure - goes through loads of pages.

We are currently having a go with the Speed Up book mrz has linked too- mainly as other children have some handwriting issues but with idea it might help her a bit too.

It's not too bad - though this week been awful for finding time to do the homework.

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 08:15:41

Do they actively teach handwriting? It's part of the new curriculum.

BarbarianMum Thu 17-Dec-15 09:32:24

Has his pen grip etc been investigated? Could he be slightly hypermobile - that would explain both the pen and the poor writing.

In your position OP I'd get someone to look at this seriously now. I think it might be an occupational therapist that makes the original assessment. If he is hypermobile then there are things they can do to help (pen grips, exercises) and he'll maybe need to type more rather than write at secondary level.

Honestly, I'd get it checked out. Maybe he does just need to try harder but if there is a problem....It is very disheartening to be criticised and held back for something you can't help.

Luna9 Thu 17-Dec-15 12:07:53

I would write a letter to the head teacher;

RoastedParsnip Thu 17-Dec-15 12:11:32

also, he might actually find pen helps his writing as there is less friction/ drag and easier to mark make if too little pressure is an issue.

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 12:37:46

Actually for a leftie there is lots more friction using a pen. Left ganders push the pen rather than pull which can be a problem especially for children who press on. A soft (2H) pencil is probably the best option

RoastedParsnip Thu 17-Dec-15 12:40:02

oh, thanks mrz. very interesting. sorry to give wrong info!

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 12:47:59

You can buy pens that light up if child presses on too hard to use at home and I've used carbon copy pads - write secret messages if press on too hard the message can be seen on the page/s underneath or if you want the child to learn to press on harder they've got to make sure they make more copies and keep the pen lit.

Cedar03 Thu 17-Dec-15 13:00:28

As a leftie myself I wondered whether he moves the paper so he can see what he's writing properly? Depending on how he holds the pencil he may be obscuring his writing with his hand. He may need to sit with the paper at an angle so that he can see it as he writes.

Handwriting is part of the curriculum and is one of the things that Ofsted judge on (within general presentation of work I think). It was highlighted for my daughter's school as an area that needed improving when they were inspected last year. This is why primary schools pay a lot of attention to it.

hufflebottom Thu 17-Dec-15 13:02:14

Berol (I think) do a left handed handwriting pen. It has the finger and thumb grips for the best way to hold it.

I got one for dd (only left hander in a house of right handers) as I struggled to show her the best way to hold it.

Also has he been shown how to write left handed. Eg: the cross on the 't' goes right to left. Some of the letters are formed the opposite way round. It's a thought.

mrz Thu 17-Dec-15 14:22:02

It's only cross strokes that are formed differently most letters should be the same regardless of whether right or left handed. Tilting the paper helps and it's useful for a left hander to sit to the left not right of a right handed child (so don't bump elbows)

Michaelahpurple Thu 17-Dec-15 23:04:47

Many thanks mrz for the writing scheme suggestion. My year 5 boy looks set to have a broken voice before he gets his licence, and his writing is getting worse - the only letters on the line as his Ps hopping on their tails and all verbs look the same. He is hyper mobile and never sits properly either. Excited to see come materials not targeted at year 2

mrz Fri 18-Dec-15 06:03:18

If you can persuade your GP to make a referral to a paediatric occupational therapist they can offer appropriate support/ideas for individuals.

goodygoodymummy Fri 18-Dec-15 11:49:52

Thanks for all the great advice. I ordered the Speed Up book and it arrived today so hoping this might help. We already use dyslexia/dyspraxia pencils and pens at home and he has some for school too. Will study the Speed Up book and use over the holidays and report back. Last day of term! fwink

PettsWoodParadise Sun 20-Dec-15 18:20:36

If it's any consolation DD never officially got her 'pen licence' and she was top of the class. She is coming to end of Y6. I kept telling her her mind was just too quick for her hand. She was exceptionally late on deciding if she was left or right handed and I think she has a latent lefty ability but ended up right handed and left footed (she trips over all the time poor poppet). Yes we've worked on it, yes it isn't perfect. No it doesn't mean she is stupid. She did far better than many of her classmates in some recent grammar tests so don't get stressed about it. Tell your son that poor handwriting is often a sign of genius, he needs to work on it but it isn't the end of the world, and boost his confidence that way. I have also met some children who are extra-mobile and have difficulties writing as a result so no harm also getting a check up from your GP. X

Kennington Sun 20-Dec-15 18:30:06

I am a leftie and have terrible handwriting - I feel your sons pain.
It got me down so badly at primary school but got better at secondary school and I could manage exams ok - computers are a life saver
It is quite difficult for right handers to understand.
When I went to uni in my undergraduate class about 40 percent were lefties it was odd!

mrz Mon 21-Dec-15 07:12:58

Some of the most beautiful hand writers I know are left handed. Being left handed doesn't mean that you can't produce beautiful script.

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