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Please help - excellent reader, struggles to write and therefore not doing well at school

(5 Posts)
lisbey Mon 12-Oct-09 21:29:10

DS1 is 8, yr4.

He reads (according to the school) like a 13 yo, but he finds writing very very difficult. He has never established a proper pencil grip and whenever I've tried to speak to the school, they've said it was due to lack of effort, or being a boy, or that it will come with maturity. I eventually got him referred to OT through my GP and it turns out he has hypermobile fingers and virtually no strength in his index finger. With hindsight, it's obvious when you watch him, he almost never uses his index finger ,will use thumb and 3rd or 4th finger to line up soldiers etc. We now have exercises etc to do and OT feels improvement will be seen in c. 6mths.

The school recognises that he is an excellent reader and bright, but he is in low sets for maths and literacy because he can't produce much written work. I am very concerned that he is doing work beneath his mental ability, is not being stretched and will become bored, although I do appreciate he's not demonstrating that ability on paper. I am also very disappointed that the school has not supported him with his writing difficulties sooner.

Parents evening is coming up. What should I be asking.expecting of the school?

jennifersofia Mon 12-Oct-09 22:03:50

Great that you have got onto the OT, that sounds like it is being productive.
I would def. ask to speak to the SenCo, and ask if s/he has any ideas of things that would be helpful to him. Does school know about OT involvement? Do they have anyone that they can refer / bring in to help him? It very much sounds like a physical problem, which hopefully can be overcome. They might not have much experience with hypermobility, but they should be willing to find out.
I would discuss your concerns re: academically. Where do they feel he is in terms of mental ability? Do they have any suggestions for a way forward with helping him to produce more written work?

hocuspontas Mon 12-Oct-09 22:08:23

While he is improving under the OT could he not use a laptop/notebook in the meantime for written work and maths?

lisbey Tue 13-Oct-09 19:35:56

Thank you. I have considered asking if he can use a lap top or similar, but haven't because if he avoids writing, how will he improve? but also because his poor finger control means he's not very good with a keyboard (or buttons, or knife & fork, or opening crisps etc) either.

If I make a fuss and ask that he's put into a group that reflects his "mental" ability, rather than his written ability, do you think this would be harmful to his confidence? In the low set he is forever coming home and telling me he was the only one who could answer such and such a question, so I worry he's not being stretched, but if he can't produce the written work required, would that be more harmful?

Sorry, am really getting quite stressed about seeing the teacher tomorrow. Will need to be well prepared if I'm to avoid getting upset and/or stroppy.

mrz Tue 13-Oct-09 19:46:36

I would encourage him to develop keyboard skills and ask the school if it is possible for him to use a laptop for long writing activities and pen and paper for shorter pieces of work.

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