Dysgraphia? ADHD? Just a dreamer? What does this sound like? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 10-year-old daughter is a very bright girl, but she struggles in some areas. I can't seem to put a finger on what it is. Not that I want to put a label on her, but I wish I knew what it was behind all of this so I could research that area and learn how to best help her. I have homeschooled her from the beginning, but as she gets older and it seems like she should be able to do some things, I find myself getting frustrated with her. I know that's not fair to her. I think I need to learn how her brain works so I can guide her more appropriately.

 

Honestly, I feel silly even asking about this because I have two toddlers with very serious special needs and cognitive challenges, and here I am concerned about my very intelligent 10-year-old. Yet things are standing in her way, and I fear they will only worsen as she gets older.

 

First, she is so bright and active and cheerful and friendly that until someone sat down to do formal schoolwork with her, there's no way they would know she had any struggles at all. They are there, though. Here's what I notice:

 

1. She started reading Bob Books at age 3 as we did Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Some of her features sound like dyslexia, but I've ruled that out in my mind as she is an excellent reader. She is reading books like Chronicles of Narnia now with no difficulty. She breezes through thick chapter books in a weekend. Her reading comprehension is excellent and always has been.

 

2. Her spelling is atrocious. For the last three years I thought that maybe it was because I didn't do many formal spelling lessons with her. But my husband reminded me that she should know how to spell at least simple words from exposure to them through reading alone, which is how he and I learned to spell most words when we were kids. Then I thought maybe she forgot everything she learned about phonics from Teach Your Child to Read and the couple Explode the Code books we did. Next, I thought maybe phonics were the wrong way to teach her. But that's not really it either, because she can decode words easily. She just can't encode them. At other times, I've thought the problem was that she couldn't slow herself down enough to think about the individual letter sounds. Even when we try to coach her through a word by helping her break it down into sounds, it's like it's still a complete mystery to her how that word would be spelled. Now that our 7-year-old can give a decent guess at how to spell any word by sounding it out, we see just how much the lack of this skill is paralyzing our 10-year-old. And it does paralyze her.

 

3. Letter order seems to be a problem for her. On Friday she made an Easter card. She wanted to write "Jesus died on the cross for you." She got "Jesus did," then asked me how to spell died. I said D-I-E-D slowly, and repeated it a couple times as she wrote. I suggested she squeeze an E in before the D. She still couldn't get it right. She ended up with "Jesus dide" on her paper and didn't seem to notice it was misspelled. It's like her mind doesn't connect with what she writes, but it connects very well when she reads.

 

4. She still reverses some letters and numbers — more than other kids her age or at her general learning level. She's a lefty and some say that leads to more letter reversals. We have used Handwriting Without Tears from the beginning. On the card I mentioned above, the J in Jesus was backward.

 

5. The physical process of writing more than a few words has always felt like torture to her. I am a professional writer, yet I have not even begun to introduce her to the mechanics of writing a paragraph — let alone an essay or report — because it is such a stretch for her. She's a fifth-grader and this is starting to worry me. I've tried to have her do copywork the past couple years to get her used to writing at least something. She hates it, but I have kept the passages interesting and short (I used a Queen's language book) and only expected a little each day. Sandra Wise Bauer in the Well-Trained Mind talks about separating the process of writing down the words from the process of creating the stories, so I have allowed her to use Dragon software to dictate stories into our computer. I also have her doing BBC Dance Mat Typing lessons online. Whether it's the novelty of it or something else, my daughter says typing is easier for her, yet getting a sentence on the screen is still excruciatingly slow and even basic words are misspelled.

 

6. Overall, she is an excellent communicator, only not in writing. She frequently gives excellent speeches at homeschool and 4-H events. She develops her own outlines and can formulate good ideas, but needs great help to write them down. She learns well by hearing. I can read her a book aloud and she absorbs the information.

 

7. Though she seems to be a good auditory learner, she can't seem to follow more than one or two directions at a time. I'm serious when I say that my 4-year-old can follow multi-step directions better, and he is cognitively challenged and autistic! Everybody sometimes walks into a room and forgets what they are doing; she does it many times every day. If I need her to do even something simple, I have to break it down as she goes (take the dish to the kitchen, now put it in the sink, now run water on it, now put it in in the dishwasher). She loses things all the time and simply cannot find something even when it is right in front of her.

 

8. Part of me thinks my daughter might have ADHD. While she is quite active and impulsive, I wouldn't say she's hyperactive. It's more that she is a dreamer. She is always the last child to finish a project when we get together with other kids, whether at home, Sunday School or our homeschool group. Even when she was 2 years old participating in crafts during storytime at the library, she took forever to choose which piece of construction paper she wanted for her craft, let alone the time it took her to go through each step. Every day, I find her just standing and staring when she's supposed to be doing something important, such as chores or getting ready for church. Even when we are busy getting something done before rushing out the door, if I say something to her or she needs to tell me something, she stops her task to listen or talk. She cannot carry on a conversation and work at even a simple task at the same time.

 

9. Her "executive planning" skills are poor. She almost missed a party this morning because she could not budget the hour of time available to feed her animals, shower and get dressed. Although we tried to tell her "you have 45 minutes, better hop in the shower," "you only have 15 minutes, it's time to get your shoes and coat on," she still couldn't do it. My husband actually started pulling out of the driveway with our other daughter in the car so at least one of them could make the party, and this daughter finally ran out of the house in snow in her stocking feet, holding her shoes and with no coat on (though she passed several coats on hooks on her way out the door) and jumped in the car. There was PLENTY of time and plenty of warning and plenty of coaching from us, but she could not get herself ready properly (admittedly, our coaching went from gentle to very frustrated within the hour). Then, she was signed up to go to a special program at the library tonight that she has been looking forward to for two months, and the SAME THING happened again. After talking about what could go better to get ready after the morning party, she promised to come inside at 5:20 p.m. to get ready for the library event. She didn't. I had to call the neighbor to send her back home, and even then she couldn't plan out her 30 minutes just to wash hands, change her clothes and get in the car. We were late (again), and then she asked if we could stop and do an errand before we got to the library, yet she didn't want to be late to the library!

 

10. As much as her dreaming is problematic, it's also a gift. On one homeschool field trip when she was about 8, we were supposed to leave one area of a state park and walk to another area. She didn't start walking when the leader told us to go (she is pretty compliant, so it wasn't misbehavior), so I called her name and guided her along. Another homeschool mother who had been standing nearer to her was so impressed that my daughter made a keen observation about the clouds that I couldn't hear. I guess that's what she was "dreaming" about. She does intuit things other people miss.

 

11. My daughter does very well with mental math, far better than I did at her age. But when it comes to putting her work to paper, it falls apart. Long division and multi-digit multiplication are difficult, I admit, but she's having an awful time remembering what step comes next. I've worked so hard to help her organize her work. I know it's hard to keep the columns lined up, for example, but she can't keep the steps straight. This might still be OK in 5th grade, but it seems to follow right along with how she is such a good reader, but struggles so to get words on paper.

 

12. She has an incredible level of persistence, which makes me think ADHD maybe doesn't fit her. She's on a competitive swim team and her coach is always so impressed that when the other kids are complaining about how many yards they've had to swim, she just keeps going and with a smile on her face. She raises meat goats and generally wins or comes in second place in showmanship, both because she works hard to prepare and because she can focus in the show ring. It's odd, because in other areas she lacks focus. She's like that with everything except writing, grammar and written math.

 

Thanks for any insight you can provide. She is a bright and ultra-responsible girl, yet I want to work with her challenges and strengths instead of against them.


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#2 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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Still reading through your post, but first I'm responding to #2/spelling.  

 

She might be a good reader, but if she is a really great reader, she might be "zoning out" when she reads and not picking up on things like spelling.  When I plowed through books at that age, I would have a picture running through my head, and sometimes that picture and the words that created "sounds" in my head would cause me to not truly "see" the words on the page.  It was a rich, amazing experience, but it didn't help with spelling.  

 

While spelling and reading do go hand-in-hand, spelling a word properly from scratch is an entirely different process.  

 

ETA: It sounds like she is very bright, and it does sound like there is some difficulties there.  I, too, was a dreamer and I still get distracted with thinking and watching.  I guess I would start with the things that affect the rest of the family (like getting ready to go) and the things that cause her to feel bad about herself (and therefore making the problem even worse).  The rest I would stay mindful of, but not try to resolve for now.

 

A suggestion for the math: treat it like you would reading.  Comprehension comes before reading skills, so sophisticated books can be listened to and appreciated, but when it comes time to learn to  read for yourself you use simpler books.  Perhaps she needs to work simpler math on paper to boost her confidence--stuff she knows well.


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#3 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 10:12 AM
 
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Some random thoughts because that's how I roll. Haha.

We think of ADHD as an inability to focus, but some ADHD kids hyper focus, so they can actually be very focused at times.(like at her swim meet, or when she can't talk and work at the same time). There is also ADD, without the hyperactivity. there are lots of books written for coping strategies for kids and adults. Because she's a homeschooler, I would recommend an adults book as it deals with things that are more relevant instead of focusing on school.

She sounds a lot like my ten year old dd. but somehow, my dd seems to be outgrowing a lot of her issues, or at least coming up with coping strategies. Instead of being chronically rushing and late, she now gets ready for events super early. Like in the morning, for an evening activity. for years, we had to remind her to hang her coat. Every. Time. Now she hangs it. Every. Time. I don't know what has changed in her brain, but I think as she spends more time away from us in organized activities, she compares herself and feels a bit self conscious and I think that has motivated her to change, along with some maturity.

Some kids with and without ADHD or dyslexia also have irlen syndrome. It may be something to look up, if you haven't heard of it. There is a long self test you can do with her. It may not be her issue, but it might be worth looking into to rule out.

Would graph paper help her line up her numbers in math? It could be a temporary tool to get her used to it.

Have you considered using a spelling workbook with her? And do you pick one thing for her to correct and practice each day from her copywork? Like if she makes a letter backwards, have her write a sentence with lots of j's in it asking her to focus on the way you would like her to make j's or have her copy a misspelled word ten times. Though with copywork, there likely won't be a lot of misspellings. Maybe some easy dictation could replace the copywork so you can see what needs work?

She sounds fantastic! I'm not going to say don't worry about her issues, but her gifts make her sound like she will be just fine. Most adults have these sort of gaps. One person may excel at music and mechanics but have atrocious handwriting and that's okay. Another might be a great writer, but horrible housekeeper and that's okay too. They can usually find ways to deal with it. But I get it, we want our kids to have as many skills as possible going into adulthood.
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#4 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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Spelling specifically. I was a bad speller my whole childhood and I had read whole libraries by the time I was ten :-). What it actually took to get my spelling quite good was a. learning latin and b. doing lots of creative writing. I wouldn't sweat it.

 

I only have a nearly 10 year old so no expert but from what I'm seeing around me, 9/10/11 is the age of gaps, of uneven development. I have a 9 year old who just could NOT write a paragraph. I mean it would take days. But he reads all the time. I think you are spot on with dancemat, that's what we use for my son and its helped him start structuring creative writing. But I remember having terrible handwriting and taking ages to write as a child-although I did a lot of drawing so my fine motor skills must have been good-and in the end I just did a lot of writing, fiction and non fiction, mainly outside of school, and it came together.


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#5 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

Spelling specifically. I was a bad speller my whole childhood and I had read whole libraries by the time I was ten :-). What it actually took to get my spelling quite good was a. learning latin and b. doing lots of creative writing. I wouldn't sweat it.

 

 

If she is a strong sight reader, that could double the difficulty with spelling and writing.  Learning a strongly phonetic foreign language with quite rigid letter pronunciations, like Spanish or German, can help sight readers get a handle on the relationships between letters and sounds.  It definitely helped dd1 out of a funk.  It doesn't have to be learning for fluency, just dabbling in the language can help focus on the words differently.

 

I'm no expert, but she does sound like she has ADD symptoms.  And, yes, many, many adults deal with disparities in skill and focus.  That doesn't mean drop the issue, it just means that this doesn't have to completely resolve itself in her childhood.  It would have been nice for someone to help me more for these very reasons growing up!


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#6 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 02:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

If she is a strong sight reader, that could double the difficulty with spelling and writing.  Learning a strongly phonetic foreign language with quite rigid letter pronunciations, like Spanish or German, can help sight readers get a handle on the relationships between letters and sounds.  

My experience as a reader and watching my kids learn to read has been that strong sight-reading skills have helped with spelling. In the example above, where the OPs dd spelled "died" as "dide," she used an appropriate phonetic spelling, but failed to see it as incorrect. My own kids all learned to read primarily as sight-readers and while their spelling skills lagged behind their reading skills for a while, they all ended up being excellent spellers by age 10 with no phonics instruction (though they intuited phonetics in good time) and no spelling instruction. They couldn't always necessarily tell me why a word was mis-spelled, but they could always see that it just didn't "look right," since they were very attuned to the appearance of words.

One thing that helped them use their visual skills to improve their spelling was to write on the computer, where they could choose a font that was familiar to them from all their reading and see what the word looked like printed on the screen in clear text. I mean, if you're struggling with rudimentary handwriting *all* your words will look awkward and unfamiliar just by virtue of the letter formation challenges. Putting them in a conventional font neatly on a screen really helped them see when the words weren't right.

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#7 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 09:02 PM
 
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She sounds a lot like my 11 year old ds, whom I believe to be dysgraphic (I've never had him assessed).

 

For him, phonics has never made sense. When he learned to read, he couldn't sound out the words (so if you showed him the word sad, he could tell you what sounds the letters made, but couldn't put them together to make the word). He learned to read by poring over comics and eventually figuring out what the words said - whole language approach, I guess.

 

I had hoped that spelling and writing would happen the same way, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be. My son is visibly uncomfortable with writing - within three or four words, his face goes grey and he gets circles under his eyes. Typing is also difficult as he struggles to memorize a keyboard. Like you, we've tried a lot of different approaches. We started with All About Spelling, which is phonics based - it at least gave him a sense of how letters go together to make words, but beyond three letter words, it just didn't work for him. We're doing sequential spelling for him now, and it's helping a little, but it's still a real struggle for him. I'm doing HWT now to try to help him get a little more automaticity with his writing (for dysgraphics, they are not writing the letter, but actually drawing a picture of the letter - so every time they produce the letter they have to think about what it looks like, how to make their hand produce it, which direction it goes in .... and then they have to think of the next letter .... and then they have to think of the next word ... you can imagine how it's so painful for them).

 

I've come to accept that if it is dysgraphia, it's a neurological thing and that writing will never be comfortable for him. Depending on who you talk to, occupational therapy exercises (or cross brain exercises, brain gym, Daine Craft) can be helpful to a certain degree, but I think it will always be a struggle.

 

It's great that you're using dragon. Is that working well for her? I've held back on it with my son as he stutters a bit. For now he dictates to me and I write everything down. I'm thinking about buying WordQ/SpeakQ to help him be more independent.
 

My son also has all the issues with executive planning. Daily chores are such a challenge and it's SO hard not to get angry. Some days I'm pulling my hair out (dude, it's the same list every day, and the list is on the ipad and you just have to follow each step!!! lol).

 

That being said, his creativity and talent are mind-boggling. He can't 'write' but he dictates thousands of words to me every week - fantasy stories that he writes for an online club he's in. His vocabulary is enormous. His knowledge of history has far surpassed mine already. Thank god for technology. I think that by the time he gets to university, he'll be able to do everything on some kind of device. I really don't think his dygraphia is going to hold him back.

 

I'm not sure I have any real words of wisdom for you. Just keep to keep encouraging her and celebrating her gifts. Try to keep any skills that involve writing to short bites. Maybe for math, keep to a few problems at a time and maybe do the writing for her - have her tell you what to do and you write it down - talk through the steps together. I've noticed that lately, since we've been working more on the writing, he's struggled more with the math, so I've been scribing some of it for him. There's just a limit to how much he can write.)

 

There's a dysgraphia facebook page which is helpful (if you think this sounds like your daughter) - just search for dysgraphia. Another site I find helpful is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeschoolingcreatively/messages. It's a site for what they term 'right brained learners'. Whether or not you like that term, there are lots of moms homeschooling kids who learn differently and there are always great suggestions and dialogue on there. There is also http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/forum/6-the-learning-challenges-board/. Homeschooling Creatively is more 'let them learn in their own way in their own time' and the well trained mind forum is more focussed on interventions and treatments (not saying one is better than the other - they're both valuable and useful - it just depends on how you roll in your family.)

 

Hope that helps. Sounds like you're doing all the rights things for your daughter. :)

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#8 of 18 Old 03-24-2013, 10:00 PM
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Wow, I will be following this thread because it sounds like my daughter.  With the exception that my dd still struggles with reading and I am confident that she is dyslexic.  I have wondered (for a time now) if her struggles are just because of dyslexia or if there is something else going on too. 

 

Amy

 

ETA her executive function skills have improved this year.  She would get very irritated/upset when she couldn't get ready in time, etc.  That irritation seemed to somehow fuel her.  It isn't perfect yet, but she is now quite methodical in getting herself ready for her dance classes--she gets ready well ahead of time so that she doesn't feel rushed.  Feeling rushed makes her 3 times as slow.  


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#9 of 18 Old 03-30-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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Has she had an eye exam by an EXCELLENT provider? Not just someone that dilates eyes and hands out prescriptions for eyeglasses?

 

The best way I can make a recommendation is to give you info on the person I take my kids to. Then maybe that will give you clues on what to look for in a good eye practitioner.

 

http://www.optometrists.org/visionnow/

 

I read this book on dyslexia and it was very helpful since I had no clue what dyslexia really is. I did get offended and stopped when she said parents are not experts and should leave education to the experts, but up until that point the information was very good.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Dyslexia-Complete-Science-Based-Problems/dp/0679781595/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364642561&sr=1-1&keywords=overcoming+dyslexia


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#10 of 18 Old 04-22-2013, 02:52 PM
 
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This really, really, really sounds like dyslexia to me. Please don't rule it out simply because she is a "strong reader." I work with many children who are dyslexic, but are above grade level in reading. Children who are dyslexic do not understand the relationship between sounds and letters, however they may be able to memorize whole words by shape.  Many gifted dyslexics have this ability, but are unable to decode nonsense words or spell words they can easily read. 

 

Dyslexia also affects math (my area of specialty), understanding time,  and spatial thinking.

 

Please take a look at this checklist...

http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/inclusiveservices/disabilities/checklist

 

At any rate, I would look into getting a screening. Often these are provided free of charge through the local public school system. Good luck!

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#11 of 18 Old 04-22-2013, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. This is all so helpful! I'm absorbing everything, so please keep it coming.

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#12 of 18 Old 04-23-2013, 12:35 PM
 
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I second getting an evaluation done. We are currently getting one done for our 4 year old. It won't hurt, it's free thru the schools (even if you're homeschooling) and it just gives you more information. Not a bad thing at all,

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#13 of 18 Old 04-25-2013, 10:56 AM
 
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Just another observation

 

"Long division and multi-digit multiplication are difficult, I admit, but she's having an awful time remembering what step comes next. I've worked so hard to help her organize her work. I know it's hard to keep the columns lined up, for example, but she can't keep the steps straight."

 

Ok I use math at university level (science/math courses). I can't keep the steps straight. I have to go back and check for stuff like long division periodically. This, I would not worry about. At this age, strong mental math, IMO, is really great. Long division, long multiplication-they are tools. If you sat me down then yes I could work out from first principles how to do it-because I have good mental math. But to do the odd sum day to day, I'm happy to just look it up when needed.

 

What I'd make sure with her is not that she can do long division perfectly but that she knows how to look up how to do long division-that she can follow instructions for how to do it. She's always going to be able to remind herself how to do it, certainly so long as the internet exists :-)


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#14 of 18 Old 04-25-2013, 12:22 PM
 
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I haven't time to read the whole thread, or even the entire first post, so please forgive me if I get some details wrong. The use of Dragon software is hurting her ability to learn spelling. I didn't have word processing software, except Notepad and Wordpad, which come with the operating system. My son wrote, and I read and color coded spelling errors and grammer errors, and punctuation errors. Then he would read through and make corrections. To avoid having to correct the same words in the next story, he learned correct spelling.

Keep in mind that her strengths are likely different than yours. Make sure you aren't projecting and comparing her abilities to your own. I sometimes do that with my son. It's unfair and not constructive.

I hope later I can read more carefully and see if I have better input to offer.
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#15 of 18 Old 04-26-2013, 05:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I haven't time to read the whole thread, or even the entire first post, so please forgive me if I get some details wrong. The use of Dragon software is hurting her ability to learn spelling. I didn't have word processing software, except Notepad and Wordpad, which come with the operating system. My son wrote, and I read and color coded spelling errors and grammer errors, and punctuation errors. Then he would read through and make corrections. To avoid having to correct the same words in the next story, he learned correct spelling.

Keep in mind that her strengths are likely different than yours. Make sure you aren't projecting and comparing her abilities to your own. I sometimes do that with my son. It's unfair and not constructive.

I hope later I can read more carefully and see if I have better input to offer.


Totally disagree with that. For some disabilities that may be the case, but if it's dysgraphia, using dragon will not impede her ability to spell. IF it's dysgraphia, no amount of practicing will make the writing process easier. Spelling is a separate skill from writing and needs to be worked on separately. To produce written work, any accomodations that she can use will be helpful. For my son, I'm starting him on Dragon this year. To this point, as I felt he was too young to use dragon effectively, I've scribed for him. With me scribing for him, he writes thousands of words. If I left him to write without help, he would be producing nothing ... not because he doesn't want to but because he can't.

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#16 of 18 Old 04-26-2013, 05:36 PM
 
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Totally disagree with that. For some disabilities that may be the case, but if it's dysgraphia, using dragon will not impede her ability to spell. IF it's dysgraphia, no amount of practicing will make the writing process easier. Spelling is a separate skill from writing and needs to be worked on separately. To produce written work, any accomodations that she can use will be helpful. For my son, I'm starting him on Dragon this year. To this point, as I felt he was too young to use dragon effectively, I've scribed for him. With me scribing for him, he writes thousands of words. If I left him to write without help, he would be producing nothing ... not because he doesn't want to but because he can't.

I admit I only skimmed the original post. I would try letting her write on the computer, the way I described, and see if there is improvement. If there is no improvement, then I would decide what to do next.

And I also scribed for my son when he was younger. But this child is ten, or do I have that wrong?. I think that was when my son started writing on the computer himself. Anyway, of the child has no disability that is impeding learning to spell, then dragon is a crutch that will hurt her in the long run, in my opinion.
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#17 of 18 Old 04-26-2013, 06:46 PM
 
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This sounds a lot like my son who is 10, except for a couple of things. He isn't all that persistent...he gets frustrated and gives up also. He doesn't have a problem with spelling or letter reversals either. But putting things into words on paper is a challenge for him. He has always spoken like an adult, with a massive vocabulary, but getting those thoughts in order paper for a writing assignment is difficult. He also struggles with working out math...especially with following the directions or working out word problems. Following multi-step instructions in general is hard for him. He is a dreamer, and is often the last to finish (or start) assignments or activities. He also has a horrible sense of time. He still can't read a clock and can't tell how much time is passing. I asked him what time he eats lunch at school and he doesn't know. Most kids are looking at the clock, desperately waiting for lunch! The doctor will ask him how long his head has been hurting for example, when I know it has been a few days and he will say "a few months". Everything is "a few months".

 

He had developmental delays and lots of therapies for speech delays, sensory issues, fine and gross motor issues, etc. Out of all the diagnosis we have heard, dyspraxia seems to fit, and also ADD without the H.

 

My son had trouble with handwriting because he couldn't hold a pencil. We used weighted sleeves, weighted pencils, Handwriting without Tears and lots of OT. He still has an odd grip, but he can write so much better now. For the longest time he didn't space between words, but finally, in 4th grade he figured out how to do it. He still has a habit of indenting every line so that it appears his margin is shrinking....I suspect some sort of visual motor integration issue issue (he wears glasses). His teachers send home word searches and they are like torture to him! I think they are worried about him not being able to line up his answers on the bubble sheets on standardized tests. The visual processing thing and dyspraxia could also explain why he always hated puzzles. I would hand him one and he would immediately throw it across the room as a toddler. As he got older, he would politely refuse. 

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#18 of 18 Old 04-28-2013, 11:02 PM
 
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Hi, this is very very  much my son's profile, except for the early reading part. He is 9 this year and has had OT for motor skill planning, vision therapy and handwriting therapy. He is very bright, cannot double-task, reversed very badly when he was young (and does it very occasionally now when he is tired), could not read for the longest time. He was diagnosed with SPD and poor binocular vision at 5, Irlen syndrome at 7 and mild dyspraxia at 8. 

 

I do not think your daughter has a vision problem based on the fact that she read well from a young age, but you can double check on her reading accuracy for short text and her eye-hand coordination.

 

My son was not diagnosed with ADD even though he does daydream and cannot double task. His reversals and executive planning function would come under his SPD. His writing difficulties were first red-flagged when he was 6 and undergoing evaluation for dyslexia, but we did not do anything as we were still investigating his eyesight. In hindsight, they were due to vision, lack of orientation (left or right), and weak fine motor muscles. (Spelling is another layer of it -  I am in fact here to look for a spelling curriculum) His planning has improved with age and practice, but it still takes a lot more effort on everyone's part (and a lot of teeth-gnashing) than his little brother who just gets his act together without a word.

 

He is similarly good with mental maths, but has difficulties with long division as he would lose his place. By then his vision was more or less in place, and it was easier for us to pinpoint the confusion - a difference in thinking speed, writing speed and remembering what goes where. He now gets around it by voicing out the steps to keep the processes more or less aligned.

 

He did a course of handwriting therapy over last November and December and they have helped greatly. We tried using a lot of different grips and positions previously but nothing worked. It turned out that he could not bend a particular finger, and his fingertips lacked strength and dexterity. To compensate for this, he developed a strange grip that led to cramps and shooting pains up to the neck. Hence he wrote very slowly and took long breaks. The OT gave him a series of finger exercises promising that he would feel a difference in 4 weeks, and he did! His writing speed has improved dramatically to near average speed, and this has allowed him to spend more time on the finer points of writing instead of just aiming to complete a piece of work before the sun goes down, wearing all of us down in the process. He finished a short composition (2 sides of a lined A4 size paper) for his teacher in an hour two weeks ago and it was sheer relief for both of us to know that he COULD complete it in that time-frame. AND not feel totally chewed up and spat out by the end.

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