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post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
OP here. We've had OT take a look, and the feeling was that the penmenship was within the realm of normal for the age, but would need to progress with his age. In other words, it's sort of barely OK, and my guess is that we'll need some OT help.

The real issue is producing content when asked. ( And let me say that verbal IQ, reading comprehension, etc.-all are in the gifted range. This isn't really about a subjective wondering if his written work is a marker for giftedness. It's why the subject is so confounding to me. This child has more ideas, more plans, can recite complex plots from memory (think Lord of the Rings). ) A few things happen when he is asked to write. On some days he is able to produce what is asked, which is generally a few sentences to a paragraph. Other days he stalls, thinks, does anything else he can, saying he can't think of anything to write. Finally, under pressure, he will complete the work. Sometimes he is missing another "fun" part of the day to complete the work. The less usual, but occ. happens, is just an outright not doing the work.

When we talk about it, ds says that he can't think of what to write. Even with prompts he struggles. He is also amazingly stubborn and persistant, so if he feels that he covered a topic 6 months ago during writing time, he won't re-visit another aspect of that topic, ie "Fun things I did over the summer". To be truthful, I saw (and wrote about here, I think), the same issues last year with coloring, believe it or not. In kindy he would often not color, or finish, or even start because he was deciding about a particular color, or combination-and he would end up in the same boat. "Work" not done, sometimes missing something to finish.

So, what is this? It's not comfortable for him because he's generally loving and a pleaser, and this creates conflict for him. I think that if he could make himself have an easier time of it, he would. Where are the thousands of ideas he talks about all day? The creative stories, fantasies, etc. The reading and links folks have provided are giving me some insight, as well as helping me see that this is not just us. My best guesses are that this is asynchronous development as well as a very stubborn personality, and some potential OT issues. We're dealing with some distractibility issues as well, esp. when there is downtime or anything that doesn't engage him. He has great auditory skills, so he can listen to a little of something and manage to get all the concepts without being fully engaged.

Gosh, it's overwhelming to share all of this, and I know it probably sounds like a big mess. If you've followed this thank you.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
OP here. We've had OT take a look, and the feeling was that the penmenship was within the realm of normal for the age, but would need to progress with his age. In other words, it's sort of barely OK, and my guess is that we'll need some OT help.
Is there any question in your mind if he is *just* gifted or if he is possibly 2E?

My 2E DD struggles with fine motor skills to a point that blows me a away, these issues are associated with ASD such as asperger's.

Quote:
He is also amazingly stubborn and persistant,
rigid thinking is another flag.

I think there is a blurry line between gifted kids who have a few ASD traits but not enough for a dx or to interfer with their lives, and 2E kids where the traits are just extreme enough to warrant interventions and accommodations so they can reach their potential.

BUT I think that many younger children are required to do far more writing that is appropriate for them. I think this is sometimes more true of gifted kids because their fine motor skills are age appropriate and developing normally, but sometimes adults expect them to be inline with their other skills.
post #23 of 37
Fine motor skills really go down the tubes when fetuses are exposed to a high level of testosterone. This is also correlated to ASD, visual spatial tendencies, etc. You're basically getting a male who is more male if that makes any sense. I've often wondered the same thing about my lefty son. Left handedness is also correlated to high fetal testosterone and slower development of fine motor skills. His handwriting is okay for now, but most of the boys have terrible handwriting. I think this is more normal than not.

I'm not sure if you are familiar with myers-briggs personality sorter, but to the OP, you're son sounds like a textbook example of a P (perceiver) type. These people are full of ideas, but the ideas just spill out from inspiration and cannot be summoned at will. Perceivers are also terrible with organization which is what writing well is all about, getting the great ideas down with some sort of organization so that the reader is not completely lost. The opposite type is the judging type of personality and these people are naturally organized. They don't have as many ideas, but organization is not as difficult for them, in fact many enjoy it.

I've noticed on this forum that people seem to think that perceivers have a learning disability, especially add or executive fuction disorder. I think it is just a common personality type in gifties and non-gifties, not a disorder, but not exactly the most adaptive personality for our highly organized and deadline oriented society.
post #24 of 37
so when DO their writing skills improve?

my dd is in second grade and she STILL struggles with penmanship for two reasons. her thoughts are faster and it is too tedious. its an extremely emotional thing for her because she writes the minimum possible and then regrets it esp. when she has to write a story.

is there a learning how to type program for kids? she loves chatting and emailing online and does not have a problem with that. she is not as fast as she would like to be on the computer.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
so when DO their writing skills improve?

my dd is in second grade and she STILL struggles with penmanship .
She's really, really young. Really young.

My *just* gifted DD homeschooled until she was 10 and didn't really do a lot of writing. She started school and really worked hard for a year, and now at 11 is an excellant writer. I don't know if her educational path had pushed writing if she would have gotten the hang of it sooner, or if she just would have been more frustrated.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
so when DO their writing skills improve?
I don't know if there is an easy answer. For my brother, it didn't happen until college. But, when it did happen it really happened. He went to one of the best law schools in the US, didn't make Law Review, but wrote an article that was so good that the Law Review published it.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
so when DO their writing skills improve?
I've been following this thread with interest. My older DD is similar in many ways to the OP's son. For her, there was a huge leap in writing stamina between second and third grades.

In second (age 7) she literally could not write a paragraph without it being a huge struggle. Now in third grade (assuming she is not overtired, hungry, etc.) she can sit down and write a page long book report, start to finish, in about 20 minutes.

They also taught her in school this year a visual technique for outlining, called a writing "web". I was always taught the traditional outline, but the web really works for her because she is highly visual. She can use the web to capture her thoughts and then write the paper from the web.

She also learned cursive this year and she loves it, which is amusing to me because I hate it. And her cursive penmanship is quite good, although her printing has also really improved.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
OP here. We've had OT take a look, and the feeling was that the penmenship was within the realm of normal for the age, but would need to progress with his age. In other words, it's sort of barely OK, and my guess is that we'll need some OT help.

The real issue is producing content when asked. ( And let me say that verbal IQ, reading comprehension, etc.-all are in the gifted range. This isn't really about a subjective wondering if his written work is a marker for giftedness. It's why the subject is so confounding to me. This child has more ideas, more plans, can recite complex plots from memory (think Lord of the Rings). ) A few things happen when he is asked to write. On some days he is able to produce what is asked, which is generally a few sentences to a paragraph. Other days he stalls, thinks, does anything else he can, saying he can't think of anything to write. Finally, under pressure, he will complete the work. Sometimes he is missing another "fun" part of the day to complete the work. The less usual, but occ. happens, is just an outright not doing the work.

When we talk about it, ds says that he can't think of what to write. Even with prompts he struggles. He is also amazingly stubborn and persistant, so if he feels that he covered a topic 6 months ago during writing time, he won't re-visit another aspect of that topic, ie "Fun things I did over the summer". To be truthful, I saw (and wrote about here, I think), the same issues last year with coloring, believe it or not. In kindy he would often not color, or finish, or even start because he was deciding about a particular color, or combination-and he would end up in the same boat. "Work" not done, sometimes missing something to finish.

So, what is this? It's not comfortable for him because he's generally loving and a pleaser, and this creates conflict for him. I think that if he could make himself have an easier time of it, he would. Where are the thousands of ideas he talks about all day? The creative stories, fantasies, etc. The reading and links folks have provided are giving me some insight, as well as helping me see that this is not just us. My best guesses are that this is asynchronous development as well as a very stubborn personality, and some potential OT issues. We're dealing with some distractibility issues as well, esp. when there is downtime or anything that doesn't engage him. He has great auditory skills, so he can listen to a little of something and manage to get all the concepts without being fully engaged.

Gosh, it's overwhelming to share all of this, and I know it probably sounds like a big mess. If you've followed this thank you.

I'd start with trying to remove some of the conflict and easing up the pressure a little. Does he have an IEP at school? Even if he doesn't, is the teacher willing to accommodate anyway? If his developing his writing skills is a separate item on his IEP, then it may be easier to get some accommodations for classwork. I'd try to adjust the teacher's expectations about written work assignments and ask to substitute some oral and video documentary reports or Powerpoint presentations or photo essays/posterboard work. If s/he isn't already giving these assignments in class, s/he may be pleasantly surprised how much more creative and interesting the output is, and how engaged the students become with these sorts of projects.

I would include him in the "negotiations" about how much written work he needs to do over a term. He's probably feeling overwhelmed about writing too. He may be a more able to focus and more willing to complete one or two larger project if he knows that he doesn't have to work on 10 or 20 smaller ones too. Or maybe he prefers a series of smaller written assignments, if he knows he can use a different method for his larger projects.

Once some of the pressure is off, you can focus on sorting out his specific issues and figuring out a few techniques that will help him develop his writing ability.

One thing I wanted to mention was gross motor skills. I think they've been mentioned in this thread (or it may be another one, I can't remember, sorry). Gross motor weakness is sometimes an undiagnosed contributor to poor writing. Activities like swimming, dancing, fencing, and gymnastics will help develop core trunk strength and muscle tone.

I think for gifted kids with writing issues, it's helpful to take a long term view. We get so used to our kids learning things at an amazingly quick pace. It can be daunting if they don't master something immediately and without effort - for them and for us. Take heart - with guidance and support, it will come along eventually.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
I'd start with trying to remove some of the conflict and easing up the pressure a little. Does he have an IEP at school? Even if he doesn't, is the teacher willing to accommodate anyway? If his developing his writing skills is a separate item on his IEP, then it may be easier to get some accommodations for classwork. I'd try to adjust the teacher's expectations about written work assignments and ask to substitute some oral and video documentary reports or Powerpoint presentations or photo essays/posterboard work. If s/he isn't already giving these assignments in class, s/he may be pleasantly surprised how much more creative and interesting the output is, and how engaged the students become with these sorts of projects.

I would include him in the "negotiations" about how much written work he needs to do over a term. He's probably feeling overwhelmed about writing too. He may be a more able to focus and more willing to complete one or two larger project if he knows that he doesn't have to work on 10 or 20 smaller ones too. Or maybe he prefers a series of smaller written assignments, if he knows he can use a different method for his larger projects.

Once some of the pressure is off, you can focus on sorting out his specific issues and figuring out a few techniques that will help him develop his writing ability.

One thing I wanted to mention was gross motor skills. I think they've been mentioned in this thread (or it may be another one, I can't remember, sorry). Gross motor weakness is sometimes an undiagnosed contributor to poor writing. Activities like swimming, dancing, fencing, and gymnastics will help develop core trunk strength and muscle tone.

I think for gifted kids with writing issues, it's helpful to take a long term view. We get so used to our kids learning things at an amazingly quick pace. It can be daunting if they don't master something immediately and without effort - for them and for us. Take heart - with guidance and support, it will come along eventually.
Agree with all, but would like to comment on the last paragraph. I just had tear-filled conversation with DS over this issue, having to explain asynchrony to him. I do have a long view, and right now what I foresee as a strong potential is that DS checks out of school because he can't demonstrate his abilities, the work doesn't seem meaningful or relevant to him because he's forced to limit his expression to what he can write, and that he's forced at times to work on lower level work due to the writing issues.

For some kids, writing doesn't come along eventually, or never comes in line with their other abilities. I anticipate that every year of school will have this as part of the struggle and will depend on the teacher's ability and willingness to accomodate. DS already thinks that he's better off learning stuff on his own and that school is about things other than learning.

/solo pity party online
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

For some kids, writing doesn't come along eventually, or never comes in line with their other abilities. I anticipate that every year of school will have this as part of the struggle and will depend on the teacher's ability and willingness to accomodate. DS already thinks that he's better off learning stuff on his own and that school is about things other than learning.

/solo pity party online
Well, when I wrote "it will come along eventually", I had my earlier post in mind as a qualification about expectations for "it will come along". That's where I wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
At 17 y.o., he's still the king of the minimal summary and he'll never win a Charles Dickens award for verbose, dense writing. He recognizes how to approach a writing assignment though, his grades are good, and most importantly, he can communicate effectively in writing.
Effective written communication was our goal here. That's all. Not Booker Prize winning prose or Pulitzer Prize winning journalism. It isn't easy and it takes a lot of adjustment of expectations. Writing may never be a strength, but my ds learned that it doesn't have to be a constant overwhelming struggle or a dismal failure either. He knows that he often communicates better in other media. I think it's unlikely he will choose a career in any area that requires a huge amount of writing. That's okay - he's learned what he needs and will focus on other areas of strength.

And yes, we have had frequent conversations with teachers over the years about expectations with writing and accommodations. We left the tears and arguments behind a long time ago though. Usually, we roll our eyes when the issue comes up now, and quite often, laugh a little too. "Expand! Expand!" is a rallying cry around here. This week, he wrote an essay for English lit.. It was 2 pages long. He realized on his own that he needed to re-draft it and expand on what he'd done. So he sat down and did it.

Here, with my ds at age 17 and almost finished high school, we're well along a journey that many of you have only just started. I wish everyone all the best with that journey.
post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Agree with all, but would like to comment on the last paragraph. I just had tear-filled conversation with DS over this issue, having to explain asynchrony to him. I do have a long view, and right now what I foresee as a strong potential is that DS checks out of school because he can't demonstrate his abilities, the work doesn't seem meaningful or relevant to him because he's forced to limit his expression to what he can write, and that he's forced at times to work on lower level work due to the writing issues.
/solo pity party online
I am concerned about this as well. I can see it in a small way now, and it's definitely a concern because it affects self esteem. I'm worried about getting into a negative pattern of expectations/low written output, that just turns ds off completely. All of the ideas of pp's regarding techniques, accommodations, etc. have been great. I'm going to re-read carefully.

Taking the pressure off seems key because I think that this could really color ds' view of himself.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
I anticipate that every year of school will have this as part of the struggle and will depend on the teacher's ability and willingness to accomodate. DS already thinks that he's better off learning stuff on his own and that school is about things other than learning.

/solo pity party online
i hear you mama. i hear you sooo well.

and this is what i have done because this has been a concern of mine since dd was 3 when she first called herself an 'alien' (she totally understood the meaning of alien then). and i have "worked" with her about being different. that different is not bad. yes it might be lonely but look at the cool things you can do.

dd agrees with your son.

in K she told her teacher "i come to school to party and i go home to learn". she is a 'checker-outer' at school too. has done it since K.

having a child like this i find what has really helped is to take a philosophical look at life. even thru the struggles i KNOW it has made a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE difference to dd to 'talk' about like/dislike, alone/group, success/failure. i know she has really, really needed that perspective in life so that she today in general has a more balanced outlook on life rather than a v. sad one.

WOW i had no idea writing took soooo much time to really master.
post #33 of 37
I've been following along and thinking about responding. We are still... searching... I will say in our quest to help DS with his writing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samm View Post
I agree with joensally about an OT assessment. My DD's OT pursued handwriting interventions not because of her scores (not bad enough for insurance purposes and certainly not bad enough for school intervention), but because of the large gap between her verbal abilities and her writing.
DS has had about 6 weeks of OT. He's learning cursive in hopes that will improve his writing and make him more comfortable writing. At this point, though, I think he is getting fairly bored.

OP, if you want to see our ongoing saga you can search for threads I have started, lol.

DS is 8 and in 2nd grade. We held him back last year for a combination of writing issues & social anxiety. Now, a year later the social anxiety is gone but the writing is still problematic. I am *very* worried about him next year (he is ready to go to the 3rd/4th split) but hope it will work out.
post #34 of 37
I've been reading about NLD (Non-verbal learning disabilities, meaning there are no learning disabilities associated with verbal skills, but only with non-verbal ones). Verbal abilities are usually in the gifted range.

There are some things there that seem to fit dd1, but others I'm not so sure about. Some have described it as Aspergers lite, but I think that's not really the whole picture.

Here's the Hoagies page about it:
http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/nonverbal_learning.htm

The act of writing can be very difficult for kids with NLD. It's worth looking into.

I think there must be a spectrum and perhaps some kids have a tendency toward NLD w/o having full blown NLD.

hth
post #35 of 37
don't mean to threadjack but my dd is almost 7 is struggling with writing. has trouble with copying from the board, and writing simple words and sentences. one thing in particular that i'm curious about is she can spell words correctly orally, but when you ask her to write it down she can't spell the same word correctly that she just spelled orally. she got a 33% on her last spelling test and the teacher (per my suggestion) quizzed her orally immediately following the test (after seeing how poorly she did) and my dd got a 94%.

we had her vision tested by a developmental optometrist and her fine motor portion of the test was at level for her age (putting +'s in progressively smaller circles and was timed). on the visual discrimination she scored the equivalent of a 13 year old (the highest you could get - she didn't miss any)... on visual memory (not requiring writing) she scored the equivalent of an 11 year old. but on the same section (visual) but a different subtest when she had to use her visual memory and recreate it on paper with pencil she scored as a 5 year old. the optometrist said that is a concern since there is such a large discrepancy between that and her visual memory and discrimination (13 yo and 11 yo scores).

i'm just curious as to what would cause her such difficult with writing.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by minkin03 View Post
don't mean to threadjack but my dd is almost 7 is struggling with writing. has trouble with copying from the board, and writing simple words and sentences. one thing in particular that i'm curious about is she can spell words correctly orally, but when you ask her to write it down she can't spell the same word correctly that she just spelled orally. she got a 33% on her last spelling test and the teacher (per my suggestion) quizzed her orally immediately following the test (after seeing how poorly she did) and my dd got a 94%.

we had her vision tested by a developmental optometrist and her fine motor portion of the test was at level for her age (putting +'s in progressively smaller circles and was timed). on the visual discrimination she scored the equivalent of a 13 year old (the highest you could get - she didn't miss any)... on visual memory (not requiring writing) she scored the equivalent of an 11 year old. but on the same section (visual) but a different subtest when she had to use her visual memory and recreate it on paper with pencil she scored as a 5 year old. the optometrist said that is a concern since there is such a large discrepancy between that and her visual memory and discrimination (13 yo and 11 yo scores).

i'm just curious as to what would cause her such difficult with writing.
Has an OT done an eval? Have you read The Mislabeled Child? I'll have a look in my copy and see if there's anything in there.

DS has dysgraphia/written output disorder and something happens in the translation into the pen. He can spell way better orally than in printing.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Has an OT done an eval? Have you read The Mislabeled Child? I'll have a look in my copy and see if there's anything in there.

DS has dysgraphia/written output disorder and something happens in the translation into the pen. He can spell way better orally than in printing.
no OT done. while i love her teacher, she is new, this is her first teaching job (started in january) and she thinks dd is just maturing late. however, her difficulty in writing was first pointed out to me back in october 2008 by her kindergarten montessori teacher. so it has always been a problem. i can't get the district to do anything about it b/c her teacher thinks she'll catch up eventually. she also struggles with reading and her grades have been slipping the past few months. i dread what the summer break will do. she regressed tremendously last summer and i expect the same to happen this summer too.
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