Monday, February 14, 2011

Handwriting Causing Tears

Above you see the frustrated attempt of this year's Valentine's Day cards. Making the cards was enjoyable as it always is but the addressing part lead to the frustration. It seems like the last few weeks has brought this issue to light, Monkey has issues with her writing. She avoids it whenever she can, the little Smarty Pants told me she didn't need to write out all the names to address her cards, she could just cut out and paste all the names on the list. While I applaud her resourcefulness, it just highlights the issue she is having.

A few weeks ago at the parent teacher interview we were told that Monkey needs to practice her writing because it's poor. She's an A/B student except for reading and writing. The teacher told us that we need to practice more with her because her writing is becoming an issue. She told us that her grip was OK she just needs more practice.

The next day I was watching her write, guess what? Her grip isn't OK. And as I watched her write I remembered what her SK teacher at her old school told us just before we moved, that she had some fine motor issues and needed some help to work on that. Like I said that was just before we moved, so we moved 2 houses 2 days after Christmas, then I was put on bed rest with Tutu, then my MIL got sick and I was taking care of her. That comment got lost amidst all the other obligations and duties, but it came to the forefront as I watched her write.

I felt like I failed my child, this is a feeling I've had alot the last 2 years, so what to do about it? I asked the teacher during the interview about a triangular pencil to help with her grip, we have yet to see or hear about it. I've been searching for information on how to help her but I know she requires some extra help.

If I've failed Monkey then so has the school system. How can one school identify a problem and the next school not even recognize it. The worst part is that Monkey is starting to bring home D's on her assignments, not because she doesn't know her stuff but because the teacher can't read her writing. The first half of the year the teacher gave her more leeway in regards to that but not anymore. How does the teacher not feel that there is a more serious issue then just needing practice if the assignments are sent home with comments like:" good ideas Monkey, but I can't read your writing", " excellent story but your writing needs improvement", etc. That is so frustrating to me.

I feel helpless to help her since we do practice with her (or try to) but this is causing her such anxiety. She has develop nervous habits of chewing her hair, her sleeves or the neck of her shirts. The more anxious she is the more she does this, it then because a vicious circle because she gets anxious about writing and starts to chew, comments are made for her to stop and that makes her more anxious. Anything to do with writing causes big fights in our house. We've tried those copy and trace books with the dry erase markers, we have those magna doodle type books, we have workbooks, we even got her a Tangled Diary to help get her excited to write. None of that works for her. I feel like we need to escalate this.

Today I have to pick up Monkey early from school since I need to take her to the allergist to get her re-tested for her peanut allergy. Since I'm picking her up early I'm going to talk to the principal at the school about what we can do to help her. I'm going to address my concerns with the fact that this school didn't pick up on her issues and what school board resources can be used to help her. To get Monkey working with a occupational therapist to resolve her grip issues. I'm also looking into the program called Handwriting without Tears. I will see if the school has access to that since right now it's sold out at Chapters.

I will do what it takes to get her back on track, this is affecting her on so many levels. I may have been a bad mom by missing this but now I will fix this. We will start doing crafts again, things like playing with playdough, beading and knitting to improve her fine motor skills. I just hope it will be enough, it's already affecting her school life.

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