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How to help DS whose mind is further ahead than his motor skills?

(14 Posts)
HonoriaGlossop Thu 04-Sep-08 11:05:33

Just wondered if anyone had some advice for the new term! DS six and just gone into year two. He never loves school but I know that he finds the difference between what he THINKS and what he can actually write or draw, very very frustrating. He has hypermobility which makes motor skills very difficult for him and he's behind his peers.

School are aware and he has an IEP which means that his targets are more geared towards him but in a way that only ADDS to the frustration, for instance he had a sheet where he had to write his thoughts about a country they'd studied and he wrote "It is hot" whereas when he was telling me about it he would say things like "It is sweltering and baking and all the ground dries up and cracks and the plants are brittle" etc etc etc.

Wondered if anyone has any thoughts to help him get through this period where he just can't transfer his real thoughts onto schoolwork?


Chocolateteapot Thu 04-Sep-08 13:45:12

My DD (dyspraxia and hypermobility) went through a stage of this in Year 1/2. The SENCO put on the IEP that she should write 2 sentences maximum then the classroom teacher should scribe for her or she should be allowed to talk into a tape recorder. It did help her at the time.

asteamedpoater Sun 07-Sep-08 19:10:54

I'd be interested in any advice from this thread, too! My son is only 4 and going into reception, so it's unlikely to be a huge issue for him for a while, but he is also hypermobile (we're seeing a geneticist soon with a view to diagnosing Ehlers Danlos syndrome), and thus has problems with things like pencil grip, pressing hard enough with a pencil for anyone to read what he's writing or see what he's drawing, and using scissors. He is also very bright - can already read fluently, count into the thousands, do sums, etc. If he were asked to colour in 3 balloons or something similar, he would be simultaneously bored stupid at the ease of the counting and upset at his difficulties with colouring in... I'm really not sure how a child with his developmental profile could be catered for in a class of 30!

Romy7 Mon 08-Sep-08 14:29:24

Honoria - are they going to let him use a keyboard in juniors? i know some places don't like it until secondary, but if he's finding it frustrating already, then i'd be spending yr 2 gearing the OT up to a recommendation for a laptop? has he followed write from the start etc?

have y'all tried the stabilo s'move easy? l or r handed pens and pencils which can help a little...

asp - if they are dxing ehlers danlos i assume you've had OT support? our OT has always gone into nursery/ school for advice and to target set for IEP. dd2 (same age- started this morning lol) loves the computer and education city etc etc - you can move the levels up and down. i have no idea how she manages the mouse - it's a mystery to me - but where there's a will there's a way it seems... have you been recommended a writing programme? we don't need to worry about support as dd2 is statemented with 1-1, but it will be interesting to see how they do challenge children who can read etc but who don't have the fine motor skills nec to display their ability in the traditional sense! i'm quite looking forward to it!

asteamedpoater Mon 08-Sep-08 16:03:33

No OT support, yet (and no PT since he started walking at 23 months) - big waiting list... Ds was seen for a brief review by the OT about 9 months ago, so that she could at least meet the people on her waiting list, and we got some advice on activities to strengthen shoulders, arms, hands, etc, but nothing else, not even a full, formal review. Mind you, the exercises she suggested have helped. I'm hoping if we get a diagnosis we will at least get some advice on how to protect his joints from injury and whether we should be doing anything about his severely pronating ankles!!!... In the meantime, he's done a lot of swimming and keeping active and he is really doing well on that: doesn't seem to suffer any pain and is getting quite strong.

Romy7 Mon 08-Sep-08 16:15:37

do you see orthotics? best to keep on top of ankles if they are getting worse... dd2 has boots and they keep umming and aahing about splints. latest theory is that instead of splints, they'll give support most of the time (ie supportive school shoes/boots) but encourage time out of shoes/ boots and in other forms of footwear to help strengthen ankles... so dd2 gets to wear trainers for pe, which makes me laugh as that's the time she's most likely to need extra support lol.
our OT also suggested using a quadropod grip instead of tripod as her thumb joint doesn't provide a support under pressure lol, it just bends and the pencil skitters off...

we've also discussed lycra/ neoprene glove type splints to provide a more stable base, but they seem like such a pita i'm waiting out on that one...

i might be tempted to get school to request an up to date OT report as soon as they highlight his fine motor issues - sometimes that's more successful! OT might suggest an angled writing board, that can help - might be an idea to see if it works at home?

HonoriaGlossop Mon 08-Sep-08 18:44:10

oh thanks Romy - just spotted this again, thought I had no replies!

Unfortunately for my ds the local waiting list for OT assessment is two YEARS....have been advised to put in a complaint but that's no help to ds really. Am thinking of paying privately - overdraft or credit card sad

We have taken a lower case keyboard in to school to help ds (he was finding it difficult using a keyboard as he does not read yet and though he can recognise letters, it was a double job for him having to learn to write in lower case but type in upper case).

Trouble is until he can read I don't think the keyboard will help that much anyway; takes him just as long to find the letters on a keyboard as it does to write letters.

I just can't think of a way to help him get over the frustration of not being able to write anything near what he is able to think; unless it's having a scribe and the teachers seem unwilling. They want him to 'practice' all the time. Just typing this I see i've got to go back about it and be stronger with them.

HonoriaGlossop Mon 08-Sep-08 18:44:57

and thank-you chocteapot! The scribe idea is the best I think smile

asteamedpoater Mon 08-Sep-08 20:06:07

Hi, Romy7, (and sorry, HG, for part-hijacking your thread...),

Does your child have Ehlers Danlos syndrome or something similar? And what is a quadropod grip?...

Alas, no to having had any input from orthotics. My ds used to have piedro boots, but stopped getting those when he stopped getting PT - was told that while he was young it was better to try and do without them to strengthen up the ankles and then go back into them later on if they are still required. However, there have been quite a few comments made about his pronating ankles at recent appointments (with paed. and with a neuromuscular specialist), so perhaps if we do get a diagnosis from the geneticist, we'll be able to get a proper assessment done of them after that! It's getting annoying having people in shoe shops comment on it as though I haven't noticed... Still, as I say, he doesn't seem to find it painful and I also have very flat feet and pronating ankles and don't suffer from it as a result, unless you count not being able to wear high heeled shoes, and I'm now in my 30s (albeit I don't pronate as much as my son!!!).

Hassled Mon 08-Sep-08 20:14:18

I have a Dyspraxic 10 year old and am lucky that on the whole the schools have been very on the ball and helpful. Like your son, DS2 is bright and articulate but just can't put his thoughts on paper without a huge amount of time and frustration.

The teachers have scribed for him on occasion and they have experimented with dictaphones (as DS2 could talk for the UK this was a mistake ). But since Year 3 he's been encouraged to do more and more on the computer to develop his typing skills, and in Year 5 he started touch-typing lessons at school.

This year, Year 6, we're hopeful he will get a laptop from the Access Through Technology fund (county council-administered) which he'll be able to keep through High School. SO there is lots that can be done - his typing is now at least three times the speed of his handwriting and he can keep up with the production of "written" work along with his classmates. It might be worth talking about access to the class computer with the teacher - it will take some time but if the handwriting isn't a problem that will go away then at least it's a longer-term solution.

LIZS Mon 08-Sep-08 20:16:24

ds is similar and has just had an EP assessment at 10. His verbal comprehension and imagination are apparently significantly ahead of his age and more so his ability to write it down but he has recently started to use a writing slope which has helped. He also does touch typing which may enable laptop use later on. He has had OT since he was 6 although that was initially abroad and we had an 18 month gap for NHS when we moved but even so he has made good progress.

Romy7 Mon 08-Sep-08 20:42:38

Honoria - i've got an sn keyboard going spare as dd2 can manage with a regular one now... colour coded for vowels etc and larger buttons, but it is caps not lower case. it was a marvel for dd2 tbh (although a nightmare to mn on grin). CAT me if you think it would help - they're about £30 on e-bay if you want to try and find a new one iirc...i spent a while as an lsa scribing for secondary pupils as the lea were too tight to supply laptops - eventually we fought to get them and i have to say the difference in the kids was amazing - a burst of independence after being followed around the school by adults. scribes are great, and good for 'stretching' intellectually at this point, but really try to plug the keyboard as well - the more he can do now, the easier it will be later for him to get some independence... we use a v-tech smile at home for dd2 to improve her joystick and button skills too, lol. she was completely rubbish to start with and i was convinced it would never work, but she has amazed me!

asp - no, she has athetoid cp, but the presentation in her is fairly similar - lots of hypermobility and low tone (with a helping of fluctuating tone and ataxia to ensure she gets enough bruises by failing to stay upright lol). either way - the coping mechanisms for fine motor in school seem to follow a very similar line! she's still in piedros at the mo.
quadropod is essentially deeloping a grip using four fingers to hold the pencil rather than the traditional 3 - in theory spreads the pressure and doesn't put the pressure onto the thumb joint causing it to reverse... i have to say i find it all v tricky particularly when i have to try and mirror it as dd2 uses her left hand into the bargain... grin

asteamedpoater Tue 09-Sep-08 13:15:25

Thanks, Romy7. My ds1 used to use his left hand, too, but has suddenly developed an intense desire to be right handed, so that he can see what he's writing, and is diligently practising writing on a blackboard with his right hand (we were told writing on a blackboard would be a good way to build up his upper body and hand strength!!!). This should make my life easier, if he can manage to train himself to be right handed! (I used both hands until I was 6 and am still pretty good with both, so I hope he isn't just a left hander being eccentric and can cope with his self-imposed change!!!).

Interesting what you say about using 4 fingers, as my husband and most of his family write holding the pencil with 4 fingers and all have quite hypermobile fingers, particularly their thumbs. My pencil grip has never been entirely orthodox, either, but hasn't caused me any problems.

Which 4 fingers are supposed to be used? My husband puts his forefinger and middle finger on top of the pencil, with the ring finger underneath instead of the middle finger. Is this a quadropod grip??? If so, my son sometimes adopts that grip, anyway, because it helps him press more firmly. Or is the grip something completely different? (I've even heard of another type of grip where the pencil rests between the forefinger and middle finger, instead of between thumb and forefinger).

Romy7 Tue 09-Sep-08 14:20:41

yes - sounds like the same thing as your h does... i think the blackboard thing is a lois addy trick too - and i think they also advise getting a freestanding one and chalking on both sides at the same time (ie mirror images) to get some idea of relative strengths and weaknesses on each side (vaguely remember reading in a book which may or may not be still lurking on my shelves....)so that you can target more effectively... never tried it though!

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