Professor Mom

Chronicles the life of a mom, teacher, and writer trying to stay sane amid the chaos of daily life.

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mouse's picture mouse

I was actually surprised to discover that a study like this hasn't been done before. Some sources on Asperger's information that I've read treat fine-motor issues as fairly standard--not necessarily a symptom, but a common trait, at the least.

Scooter got into the system here via OT, and the evaluator paid special attention to handwriting-related skills. Now that his finger strength has improved (thanks, Legos!), he still has pencil-positioning and letter-formation problems, which sound consistent with the information from the study.

We've already got the green light on taking dictation when it seems appropriate. His OT has also sent home a special pencil grip and suggestions about writing on slanted surfaces and helping him remember where to put his left hand. I can't say he's completely turned around, but we're a little closer to a workable balance.


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

I'm glad things are turning around--it can make such a difference. L.'s school has been good about letting him dictate reading logs, etc. to us, so thank goodness. Alas, pencil grips and things like that haven't made much difference, but I think these things were implemented rather late in the game. As they say, early interventions are so key!


mouse's picture mouse

We still don't have everybody quite on the same page. The OT is making sure Scooter has specific supplies in his classroom, because it's not something his teacher thinks about. Also, I've found one frustration can be having read about these studies and running into professionals who still have no idea--either they haven't read the same things or they read them and then continue to operate as they always have.


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

Oh yes, I agree. I'm toying with sending the article to the teachers who work with L., but what with all the other issues we're meeting about tomorrow, I don't want to add more fuel to the fire.


Omaha Mama's picture Omaha Mama

It's great that there are so many technologies coming available to overcome writing challenges, wouldn't it be a dream if L had a voice command word processing tool at his fingertips all the time?! The rough part is that students are asked to show what they know IN WRITING so much, that it is so tough when you struggle with writing. I'm sure it's also very hard for you as an English professor, knowing how much you require from your own students in terms of written work. I wish L didn't have to work so hard at it, it would make life a lot easier if he could just have an easy time with writing. I hope someday it will come easier.


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

I know, there are so many assessments that are writing based, and here in NC there's a big writing test this year, too. It's hard when so much rides on it...


mouse's picture mouse

I know that by high school, at least, there are ways of getting an exemption to take writing assessments on a computer. I had a couple AP students who managed to qualify. Scooter's IEP team already says he's headed that way, but the meantime requires a balance of handwriting and starting to teach keyboarding.

(And, wow, I just spent several three-minute blocks trying to get Scooter to write out three sentences. Now we're doing the same for a coloring assignment.)


Aliki McElreath's picture Aliki McElreath

The homework thing will be the end of us, I'm certain. It's funny--it was never easy with L., even in first grade, but I kept expecting it to get better as the material got more challenging/interesting. Maybe we need to wait longer--high school perhaps, if we haven't completely lost our minds by then!