I was wondering if any of you can can tell me where to turn for literacy support for my son who is in Y2. He struggles greatly with handwriting in particular although is doing well in all other areas of school. I just donít know how to help him. He gets frustrated and sad and it is so hard for him. I have always felt that something isnít quite right with his fine motor skills (he is clumsy, zips, laces, cutlery and scissors are all a challenge). I have been in regular contact and raised my concerns with every teacher he has had and the answer has always been that ďhe will catch upĒ. Well he hasnít, if anything the gap between him and his peers are widening and it is becoming a barrier for his learning. It is crushing as it is putting him off School when he is actually very able and bright (teachers words not mine). How do I help him? How do I find out whatís going on? I have pushed for a meeting with SENCO anD they have discarded my thoughts of dyspraxia and or dyslexia. They have finally acknowledged that there are some motor skills issues and he is enrolled on some intervention programme for this next year. What else can I do? We do lego, baking, colouring, playing instruments etc etc to build up his fine motor skills but it has made zero difference. Zero.
Hi, I canít comment on motor skills issues but you mentioned handwriting as a problem. The way schools approach handwriting nowadays is a mess. Our school got things sorted by getting in an external consultancy called The Magic Link. I was about to use them privately when our school started using them. Itís not cheap but very good.
I know itís money but generally speaking I find one on one tutoring really helpful when my daughter has a mental block on something. I hate to be using tutors at primary school level and never thought I would but here you go.
Hi , have the teachers considered that your son might have dysgraphia- a couple of children have this in my daughters year group and when it is a long writing task they are allowed to use computers, the difference in the actual content of their work has been amazing.
Thanks everyone. Interestingly I have been reading up on dysgraphia and it somehow seems to fit. I will approach School about this. Very open to use tutors. I need help to help him for sure! If anyone knows of someone who is good AND encouraging then please let me know. Any help would be much much appreciated. Will look into the magic link as well. Pls keep ideas coming, really appreciate them.
Sunshine House (Southwark Child Development Centre tel. 020 3049 8100) used to have a 'Doodling club' to improve hand writing ran by Occupational Therapists, it was a helpful group. I am unsure if it is still running as i am aware lots of services have been cut due to lack of funding. It might be worth exploring or asking your GP for a referral to assess fine/gross motor skills as that assessment could inform school and also might be helpful at home to make some minor adjustments that could make a significant difference.
I am a local teacher and tutor. With your reference to clumsiness, my first thought is also dyspraxia. If you have had no joy from the SENCO, you might want to share your concerns with your GP and see if a referral can be made that way. Unfortunately with schools' budgets being slashed and changes to the SEN funding, receiving a diagnosis (and subsequent support) has become a prerogative of only those who are seriously behind, and it seems your son is meeting expected standards. As regards the pencil control, I would suggest that you continue to focus on the fine motor skills, see if you can find something that he likes (or at least tolerates!) which involves fine motor skills, especially if it involves using a pen. Things like dot to dot, maze patterns or simple colouring using a book or sheets with a character he likes. Perhaps use some blackboard paint and create him a graffiti/street art chalk board. Praise his every attempt. Ask his teacher to give him highlighted lines to write on. (This is a common strategy to help children whose writing is inconsistent in size and formation). I would not waste money on a handwriting tutor, but if he needs some letter formation support that is an ipad app called Fuzzy something, which he might enjoy. The chances are his penmanship will improve with more practice (his school are certainly right on this) and that practice is better if it comes from something he enjoys doing rather than sees as a chore. He is still very young, so please do not worry too much, instead focus on building his confidence in order to lessen the frustration.
Thank you so so much so much valuable information. Thank you everyone! I have been wondering about dyspraxia but it does seem pretty specific. For example he has no issues with coordination what so ever. Excels in karate, boxing, dance, football etc so it is literally small handmovements that he struggles with. Soylent Green, thank you! So much for your information and reassurance. Very helpful. Do you think as a teacher that he is still able to catch up? Ie could it correct itself? Pls if you can find out what the app is called kindly let me know. Iím not from the uk so unsure about the standards and targets. In y1 he was exceeding and at expectations for everything apart from his writing he was below +. According to his teacher he has zero chance of passing ks1 sats for writing in May which made me very concerned. If he does fail (fail, the boy is 6 😰), then what happens?
Hi all, I called sunshine house earlier in the week and by luck there was an OT walk in clinic the following day. I went along without my son as requested and brought his home learning journal and a video of his pencil grip. The OT said he meets the criteria for an assessment and he is now on the waiting list. Iím so grateful. She didnít rule out dyspraxia and said that we should keep an open mind for now. She will email his school senco and tell them not to punish him for his writing (they have done this a lot) but that they need to encourage him and praise his efforts. Isabe looked at magic link and it looks brilliant but with a young baby Iím not able to travel to north London right now.
> Thank you so so much so much valuable information.
> Thank you everyone! I have been wondering about
> dyspraxia but it does seem pretty specific. For
> example he has no issues with coordination what so
> ever. Excels in karate, boxing, dance, football
> etc so it is literally small handmovements that he
> struggles with. Soylent Green, thank you! So much
> for your information and reassurance. Very
> helpful. Do you think as a teacher that he is
> still able to catch up? Ie could it correct
> itself? Pls if you can find out what the app is
> called kindly let me know. Iím not from the uk so
> unsure about the standards and targets. In y1 he
> was exceeding and at expectations for everything
> apart from his writing he was below +. According
> to his teacher he has zero chance of passing ks1
> sats for writing in May which made me very
> concerned. If he does fail (fail, the boy is 6
> 😰), then what happens?
That is wonderful news. With your comment that his coordination is good in other ways, it might just be a matter of hyper-mobility which is holding him back. The OTs will advise on this and possibly give you some finger/hand exercises for him to do. Of course he is able to catch up! And don't fret about the SATS - that is what his teacher is doing, hence the crazy claims. Keep him happy, keep him enjoying school, keep his self-esteem intact and it will quite likely all fall into place.