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experience/advice welcome -maturity

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My first child, almost 7, is in the first grade at the waldorf school. we just attended the second conference of the year with his teacher.
I am concerned about him , as is his teacher, although i dont know to what degree. The issues are over his "youngness". He has a difficult time with drawing, writing, handwork. I tend to view it as just where he is and that he will catch up , allowing him to go at his pace. He is sometimes frustrated and expresses it, although he is mostly happy. The teacher describes his manner of being as having not fully come into his body- which i do understand as far as anthroposophy is concerned.
I guess im just wondering from anyone who has the experience here as to what can i do besides making extra time to work on and encourage the use of the limbs/hands, and If the teacher isnt exactly saying so How concerned should we be??? Im afraid of getting to the end of the year and the teachers asking that he stay back.
~L
post #2 of 11
I don't have much experience with this, so I won't comment, but here is a resource that might help:

http://www.waldorflibrary.org/pg/home/home.asp

You can search the site for materials on a variety of topics and you might find something that would be helpful.

Does your school have anyone on staff who has studied anthroposophical remedial education?

This is the group to contact about anthroposophical remedial educational work. They have a variety of publications and also a newsletter. If your school doesn't currently link with them you might want to suggest it.

Association For A Healing Education
Phone Number (248) 398-7003
1403 E FIFTH
ROYAL OAK MI 48067
mjoresti@aol.com

Education Children Remedial Special Needs

Hope you find the help you need.
Nana
post #3 of 11
I would ask your teacher a lot more questions. Ask them what you can do to help him. Ask them if they would hold them back. I don't think I have ever seen this done and he would be awfully old for 1st grade at 8. Ask them what you can do over the summer to help. Talk to your teacher at least once a month on how he is progressing.

Here in Seattle, we have a great remedial teacher as well as the Handel Institute which works with issues like this. There may be something like that in your area.

You may also be worrying more than you need to and talking with your teacher would help with this too.

G
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. we did get ideas on what we could do at home: counting games, encouraging number usage in daily life, encouraging time to get fully into his play such as when digging outside. a lot of it sounds as if it is a matter of time, but of course i worry--definately. I am going to make more time doing handwork with him. I feel guilty enough that somehow im responsible ... you know.. mom guilt... - I have to take this opportunity to improve upon the situation and I know i could spend more time doing things with him.
Thanks again.
~L
post #5 of 11

experience/advice welcome.maturity

<My first child, almost 7, is in the first grade at the waldorf school. we just attended the second conference of the year with his teacher.
I am concerned about him , as is his teacher, although i dont know to what degree. The issues are over his "youngness". He has a difficult time with drawing, writing, handwork. The teacher describes his manner of being as having not fully come into his body- which i do understand as far as anthroposophy is concerned. >

My Son started first grade at 6 and a half last September in a Waldorf school. He was one of the youngest in the class. His kindergarten teacher had recomemded him staying another year for similar reasons as your son,that he seemd young and in particular that his drawing was not the level that it should be.
When the first grade teacher met with my son over the summer,she felt he would be able start first grade. Anyway once he was in class with 18 other children she changed her mind.With all the children my son was over stimulated.He could not settle down and focus. Anyway they ended up putting him back in Kindergarten. Allot of it had to do with the fact that my son is an only child and is not used to interacting with allot of children at once. However I see their point that allot of it also has to do with him not yet "coming fully into his body". He is seeing a remedial therapist at the school.She has him do things like jump robe,catch balls and bean bags,and crawl on the floor on his belly to help him get into his body. Another thing she said was good was to have him put marbles in between his toes(barefoot) and then try and and get them out only by shaking his feet.
(it is not that easy! I tried!) This supposidly helps awaken his feet and thus get him back into his body.We think he also might have a bit of sensory integration dysfunction so I am looking into getting him checked by an occupational therapist for that. I am also going to check out music therapy.

As for me although I have allot of respect for Waldorf schools I am starting to have my doubts if it is the best type of school for my son. I am planning on asking for some advice about this in another post.However I think regardless of what type of school it is important for my son to have more body awareness. So this is what we will be working until the end of this year.
We will decide then if he continues Waldorf or somthing else,maybe Montessori.

Lorraine
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Jahlia: wow, sounds like you have a very simialiar situation-- as far as the child goes. I wonder a lot about my son being overstimulated or overwhelmed. I brought this up to the teacher and he said that we have to work with what we have. I might be inclined to think that that means we wouldnt be leaving a child behiind or letting them do first over. but, i could be wrong. I am definately concerned over this. If there is any possibility that he might be unable to go to second with his class i just dont know what i'd do. I know it would be a pshychological blow to my son if this happened.
Your looking into the other options is good to hear about. Finding out about the remedial therapist is sounding like a necesary step for us. Im going to speak further with the teacher. I know of a child last year who was dealing with an issue along the lines of overstimualtion and was not able to go on and the school apparently required a special evaluation in order to consider special tutoring or such(remedial class?) to which they would not pay for . I dont know if i have the entire story, but i can get it! The mother eventually was homeschooling until a better solution was found.
I may be jumping to conclusions and my worry is getting the best of me. But i will pursue this questioning of the teacher and others, as well as spending some more time on fine motor skills as well as gross motor with my son.
Good luck to you and your son! Please let me know if you dont mind what your visit to O.T. finds.
~L
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Deborah> Thankyou for the link. I made note of it. Much appreciated
~L
post #8 of 11

this reminds me of a discussion i was just having

about my son and the sort of manual dexterity things he learned at school that are non-writing. this is not a waldorf school, his school is montessori, but they have these cool activities like using tweezers to grab beads and put them in a cup, tracing things with fingers, you know, like finger games. it just occurred to me that you could find some fun things around the house that might strengthen those skills. my kids like to stuff pennies in those paper money tubes, string beads, etc., and they don't even realize they're actually working on some important manual dexterity skills.

i do personally believe these things work because my 5 year old writes in english cursive and japanese and it happened (i feel) through the combination of the school activities and home activities at different points when he was struggling with something.

i think it can be hard to figure out what challenges are caused by the body not catching up, but i do believe there is a huge benefit from working on things consistently over time. you might not see immediate results, but if you work on some skills with some simple activities every day for like a month, i bet you will have a much better idea of what is going on and you will see some improvement!!
post #9 of 11

update on my son

[QUOTE=lauraess]Jahlia: wow, sounds like you have a very simialiar situation
<Good luck to you and your son! Please let me know if you dont mind what your visit to O.T. finds. >

Lauraess,
I thought I would update you as to what I have been doing with my son in regards to his "not coming fully into his body” and immaturity.
After my last post I took him to see allot of specialists.
The first was something called spatial dynamics, a type of movement therapy
created by Rudolf Steiner, if I understood correctly. The man who did it immediately told me he was not used to working with children my sons age and indeed, he could not succeed in getting my son to follow him at all.

The second thing we tried was music therapy. The women who did it also worked more with older children. Although I liked her I just felt it was not what my son needed at the moment.
Then we tried something called Brain Gym. My son definitely liked this more. It works with sensory integration, which he needs.

Finally I found an occupational therapist who specializes in Sensory Integration dysfunction (SID) in young children. I’d been looking for one for a long time. She (the O.T.) was able to test my son and confirm that he does have SID, which explains why he gets over stimulated so easily and can not focus when in a large group of children, especially when there is allot of noise and the children are close to him. The O.T. also confirmed that he has problems with his fine motor skills. This explains why he is having so much trouble with drawing and writing.
On this point the O.T. differs with the Waldorf teachers.
Where as the Waldorf people were of the opinion that children's drawing develops on it's own and that if a child's drawing is not yet at first grade level the child should stay back, the O.T. believes a child with this type of disorder (also called Written output disorder) will not improve on his own and that he must be treated for it. The O.T. also felt my son should have been allowed to go to first grade.
Otherwise I find the anthroposiophical idea of "not being in the body" or of the "soul having difficulty incarnating in the body" not contradictory to the Occupational therapy’s idea of Sensory Integration Dysfunction.
So my son will be seeing both the remedial therapist at his school as well as the O.T.
And I have been so busy every day giving my son massages with different types of brushes, doing exercises with him (catching ball, wheelbarrows, crawling on his tummy like a lizard), taking him to the park now that it is nice for swinging and sliding on his belly, as well as working on his writing everyday!

Lorraine
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Lorraine, I am glad to hear you are making strides. I am sure your persistance will pay off for your son and yourself. I am curious about the sensory integration dyfunction, although i have heard of it before. Did i read another of your posts saying you were reading a lot on the subject? or was that ADD?? anyway, I will be leaning toward that area in searching for what-if anything - is holding my son back. I dont think he is off the mark so much but just enough to concern me. As of now, we are trying to talk to the teacher a little when we can and working with our son on his string games and knitting and drawing/writing. Now he is learning the flute in class and so we must work on that too as it requires the finger dexterity he lacks.
I hope you find the best fit for your son. keep up the good work mama!
~L
post #11 of 11

book on SID

[QUOTE=lauraess] < Did i read another of your posts saying you were reading a lot on the subject? or was that ADD?? >

The book I am reading on Sensory Integration Dysfunction is called
"The Out of Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz I find the title terrible but otherwise it is a very informative book. The author also has a website which I have not yet checked out www.out-of-sync-child.com.
Good luck for you and your son too!
Lorraine
p.s. i just wanted to add that my son is not as extreme as many of the cases described in the book,and that it is why it was difficult for me to diagnose him on my own. I actually read the book over a year ago but felt that it did not really apply to him.Now I feel bad about that because it seems that the younger children are when they are treated for SID, the better the chances are for them to improve. for that reason I would advise any parents who feel their child might have SID to get them evaluated by an OT right away!
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