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#1 OrganicAnn

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 09:18 PM

Another website with claims of helping kids with ADD. Anyone try this? What do you think?

My DD has fine motor issues, so I'm not sure it would help her even if we tried it. I didn't look into the cost, but I think it is in the workbooks and the music you have to buy.

I like the idea that handwriting can help with ADD. I'm just not sure I can believe it. You hear about in past generations how much handwriting training they received. I know my mom was telling me about all the handwriting exercises they did every day in school.

http://www.retrainth...penmanship.html

#2 wapiti

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 10:41 PM

I have no doubt that writing can help the brain - intuitively - but intuitively I also feel it must be cursive rather than printing in order to do so (and I can't explain why I feel that way - I just do! that's pathetic, LOL). Writing is sequential and about language. That part I get. And it makes sense that writing is sort of the opposite of reading, and one affects the other, kind of how translating from English to Latin (writing in Latin?) helps one's ability to translate from Latin to English (reading Latin).

What I don't see is what reading necessarily has to do with ADHD. Certainly, people with ADHD tend to have right brain strengths and left brain weaknesses, to put it simply, but I thought the main problem with ADHD had something to do with executive function or working memory. I can't imagine that either of those would be affected by handwriting, but it's also quite possible I'm overlooking some aspect of handwriting.

Some schools do lots of writing already, anyway (one of my ds8s has quite a full journal from school; the other one had to write a book report - in second grade. graded with a rubric and everything. don't get me started.)

That's all I can think of right now. It's an interesting question :)

ETA: looking at the products, WAY too expensive, IMO. I didn't see inside all the handwriting books, but the little tiny pic of the additional exercises is a handwriting exercise like the ones contained in the cursive books I use, by Diana Hanbury King, which are far cheaper at around ten bucks. I guess the little trick is in combining the music to the handwriting, but if one knew what the music was, I dont see why one couldn't simply play it. Therapeutic listening has a place, and this isn't the first time I've heard that it helps the brain change faster, but there are so many other factors involved with that. Interesting idea, way too expensive, IMO. I have thought about making my kids listen to our therapeutic listening program while doing cursive LOL, but I never got around to trying it, i.e., I never got around to making/convincing/begging them to do it. Maybe I'll try it.

Edited by wapiti, 20 July 2011 - 10:52 PM.


#3 mcconnellboys

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:37 AM

More support for me continuing handwriting practice with my somewhat dysgraphic son! (His problems are with mechanics now more than the formation of letters, etc.)

#4 OhElizabeth

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 10:18 PM

I guess I'm trying to figure out how this is different from Callirobics, which is of course a fraction of the price. I think her point is interesting, that doing the music plus handwriting you are stimulating the weaker side of the brain. Or flip and say it the other way: my dd has a hard time doing Callirobics (handwriting to music) because it uses parts of her brain that are weak. I just assumed it was a working memory issue (listening to the music while remembering what you're doing and getting all that motor control to work). It hadn't occurred to me the benefit went further.

I guess it can't hurt, and I'd be interested to see it. My concern is just the price. $100 for a level is really ouchy when Callirobics looks extremely similar and is a fraction of the price.

#5 NCW

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 09:03 AM

I have owned Callirobics for years, and I like it. I have used it with my children, and with other's children when appropriate.

I went to a handwriting class - it was a very good class, and the instructor mentioned she prefers this program (Retrain the Brain) over Callirobics because she thought the music is better. I have had students who cannot stand Callirobics music, so I thought I'd try this.

To be honest, I put on the Retrain the Brain CD and can't stand it. I can hardly believe the instructor of the handwriting class who recommended it has even listened to it. The music sounds out of tune to me, and her voice is grating...but I am a tad sensitive auditorily, so take that into account. The manual, which I really only perused, seems to incorporate Brain Gym exercises. The materials look xeroxed, and the writing exercises are just stapled together. It is way too expensive for what you get.

For a lot less $$ you could buy the new Brain Gym Teacher Manual and Callirobics. Their music is in tune, at least. Writing is a rhythmic activity, and the music aids in developing rhythm in handwriting for children who lack internal rhythm for motor activities. It also gives good time boundaries for the length of the exercise (write until the music stops).

#6 OhElizabeth

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 01:37 PM

NCW, since you've used Callirobics quite a bit, what is your take on kids who find it HARD? Should I just keep having her do a page over and over till it gets easy? Is it hard because there's something else she needs to do first? Because it's drawing on working memory to have the music going while you write, ie. it's overloading her working memory? Should I be doing it another way?

Honestly, it got so frustrating for her, and we were so busy, we put the Callirobics aside. I'd like to get back to it and could work it into her schedule (which I'm working on this week actually). I just kind of got to the point where I wasn't sure why it was so uncomfortable for her and what to do about it. Unfortunately, she does have some of the whiner side that Hunter was talking about in her "need character to do what you've gotta do" thread. But sometimes whining in an otherwise compliant kid is a sign that something isn't right, kwim? Any ideas? And really, I don't mean to make it sound worse than it is. She can physically make the shapes. It just takes a lot of effort, and that plus the music makes it very challenging. She has NO rhythm or ability to say tap to music, and she definitely has working memory and executive function issues. When I talked about it with another OT (we're no longer using our first OT and I was looking for a new one), she said there could actually be other issues affecting it like auditory processing, dichotic listening (fancy terms), and how she's handling that sound. I don't know. Something more to learn about.

#7 OrganicAnn

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 08:08 PM

I wish someone would come out with just the music and we could use whatever handwriting workbooks or practice we wanted.

Oh well. Interesting discussion.

I had not heard of Callirobics so another thing to look over.

#8 OhElizabeth

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 08:15 PM

Ann, I think what you're missing is that these (or at least Callirobics) aren't handwriting books. These are developed by therapists to help the dc develop the automaticity and motor control FOR handwriting. They use precursor shapes so that when the dc goes back to his regular writing he'll have more control.

So for instance they might spend the whole two minutes writing humps over and over and over, all connected. And the music for that will be really smooth and legato. The next page might be of jagged peaks. So then it will have choppy music to which they attempt to replicate those jagged peaks, over and over and over. Handwriting is made up of so many components, and they're attempting to help children be able to make those components accurately.

And if that sounds strange, I had someone from the BJU Press tell me at the convention this year that that is how she, as a dyslexic, finally remediated her own handwriting. She spent large amounts of time DOODLING, just making lots of those same types of shapes we were doing in Callirobics. So there's definitely something to it. It's just when you add in the music you're trying to use more of the brain to make it work. My dd's executive function part of her brain isn't so hot, so for instance she can't play notes on the piano to a metronome. She just CAN'T. That's how the brain functions, and it's something we need to work on.

Where that was going, I don't know, lol. Oh, there are terrific samples of Callirobics on the lady's website and also probably at CBD or Rainbow. Look at them and see what you think. They'll give you a pretty good sense of what it's like.

#9 OrganicAnn

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 08:24 PM

Thanks that of course is what I wasn't gasping. I thought it was just a certain type of steady music.

#10 NCW

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 11:19 PM

For OhElizabeth - interesting question. Usually we've done many other whole body rhythmic exercises first - balancing with side-to-side movement on a platform swing, rocking side-to-side on a balance board, etc.,..after that is easier, I often add a metronome or music (often Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention, or Therapeutic Listening) until it's easy with both. I've met kids who can't "hear" the metronome, so sometimes we begin with them watching the flashing light on it while they listen. I've met kids who lose all the rhythm they had when I add the metronome because the sound totally disregulates them (my son, for one), so I started with softer sounds that I made, like a soft snapping of the fingers. I do think metronomeonline.com may have adjustable volume, but I haven't tried their website yet.

By the time we begin Callirobics, it's usually within their ability. However, when the designs are difficult, I watch them and break it down into steps, usually based on what I think is making it hard.

So here are some ideas; if they seem stressed, reluctant, distracted, or disorganized, we back off and do the Brain Gym PACE routine briefly, and perhaps lazy 8's. This can make a big difference. Sometimes just turning the music down or off until they master the pattern, and then re-introducing the music later works. Sometimes I make the designs smaller or larger, whichever is easier. I often only assign one of the designs each day, not two as the book suggests. We typically use a slanted writing surface and paper of their choice. Sometimes I make a model for them to trace over - yellow highlighter works well for this - for the first few lines, until the movement is easier. Always I allow them to first watch me do it, so they see the movement first and can use imitation.

Callirobics also has different levels, and it seems to me the lower the level, the shorter the music selection. If a kid really struggled even with modifications, I'd probably drop Callirobics for the time being and use the Barchowsky handwriting warm-ups, which are just rhythmic movements that the child counts to, rather than any outside music. Usually they can't do the counting and writing together, so I do the counting for them. The movements are also easier to make than the Callirobics movements - generally just the beginning stroke of various letters.

So far I have had kids stick with a page until it gets easy, usually a week or two, but occasionally longer (usually that means they haven't been doing it at home every day). I have also, for kids who are doing well with it, allowed them to page through and pick their own exercise a couple in advance of where we are if it seems appropriate - it gives them control and helps with motivation. Most of all, I care that things move along at their successful pace. I need them to trust I won't ask them to do things that are out of their ability range, so that when I ask them to try new things they'll be willing to do so.
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#11 OhElizabeth

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 11:56 PM

NCW, I understand what you're seeing, and a lot of lightbulbs are coming on!!!!!!! I was just reading some things in The Mislabeled Child by the Eides that are in that vein. I think dd has some issues with how she processes sound that, as you say, are getting in the way. So your idea of breaking apart the sound from the movement and building up each component slowly makes a lot of sense. Whew, I just had not made that connection on my own.

So how useful are the slant tables? I had heard of them before and never pursued them. When the kid is 11 or 12, they start to get kind of picky and dont' want to try stuff or be weird. Something I could rig up and try with her would be good at this point. Then if it isn't useful or well-received, I'm not out much.

I had heard of Barchowsky before but that's all. I can't get either of her books through the library, humbug. I'm looking at them on amazon and trying to figure out whether those warm-ups would be in the Fix it Write or Fluent Handwriting. Or maybe they're somewhere else as well? And see, for as much as dd has never really liked the BJU handwriting I started her with, I'm not sure she's interested in changing. So the Fix It Write is in the right vein. I'm just not sure it has all the components you're referring to. But is it that the movements are different or just the things you do with the strokes?

In the Fix it Write sample Barchowsky shows an alternate grip with the pen going between fingers two and three. I'm going to show that to dd to see what she thinks. That might use stronger muscles for the writing and actually be more comfortable, don't know.

How this is a stretch, but now that you're enlightening me on handwriting, do you have any comments on typing? She has never excelled at it either, and at this point I was thinking of switching her over to a Dvorak layout to see if it would help.

I've been thinking about this some more, and I think it is the fluency and rhythm in her writing that makes it look funny. It's legible, and all the parts are there. It just doesn't look pretty or comfortable. It always looks a bit awkward. 80Xs better since VT, but still awkward. It sounds like Barchowsky is working on that, but is it a concept or do I need the book? And if so which one?

Edited by OhElizabeth, 24 July 2011 - 12:22 AM.


#12 merry gardens

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 12:03 PM

Can I just say that I love this topic and don't have much time to post right now!!!
To the op: yes, I believe there is something to the concept behind this program. Movement both reflects and affects what's happening in the brain--and writing is a very precise movement. It's not a "cure-all" but it's part of the equation. Last year I looked into both that program and Callirobics. I found more reviews of Callirobics, which is cheaper, so I went with Callirobics.

I have owned Callirobics for years, and I like it. I have used it with my children, and with other's children when appropriate.

I went to a handwriting class - it was a very good class, and the instructor mentioned she prefers this program (Retrain the Brain) over Callirobics because she thought the music is better. I have had students who cannot stand Callirobics music, so I thought I'd try this.

To be honest, I put on the Retrain the Brain CD and can't stand it. I can hardly believe the instructor of the handwriting class who recommended it has even listened to it. The music sounds out of tune to me, and her voice is grating...but I am a tad sensitive auditorily, so take that into account. The manual, which I really only perused, seems to incorporate Brain Gym exercises. The materials look xeroxed, and the writing exercises are just stapled together. It is way too expensive for what you get.

For a lot less $$ you could buy the new Brain Gym Teacher Manual and Callirobics. Their music is in tune, at least. Writing is a rhythmic activity, and the music aids in developing rhythm in handwriting for children who lack internal rhythm for motor activities. It also gives good time boundaries for the length of the exercise (write until the music stops).

Thanks for the review comparing the two programs. :)

#13 NCW

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 12:51 PM

So I just went and took another look at the Retrain the Brain book and materials, since we're discussing it. I bought the level for 3rd grade and up, and it does come with a 130 page spiral-bound book. Someone may find this information more useful than I did. Here are the chapter headings:
1. America, We Have a Major Problem (discusses dominance, handwriting, reading methods, learning disabilities)
2. Why Are The Kids' Brains so Different Today? (education, handwriting)
3. Why the Massive Increase in the Need for Special Education? (TV, computers, video games, stress)
4. Brain Anatomy 101 for Novices
5. Stimulating the Brain's Time-sensitive "Windows of Opportunity" (multi-sensory stimulation)
6. Capitalizing on the Brain's Neuroplasticity (inhibitory control, movement)
7. An American Phenomenon - ADHD (personality or pathology?, TV, Brain imaging differences, regulating emotional energy flow)
8. The New Education Paradigm - Brain Compatible Learning. (learning styles, movement, cross laterality, music, internal rhythm, positive affirmations)
9. Peering Beneath the Surface: Handwriting and Remediation
10. The Learning Style Characteristics of the Right and Left Brain
11. Results of Using Multi-sensory Handwriting in Various Grades
12. A Historical Perspective on the Origin and Evolution of Handwriting Therapy

Callirobics doesn't give you any of this information - just exercises and music. Retrain the Brain also comes with a template (stencil) of the exercises for those kids who are having trouble with them - just start with the stencil. I forgot that last night when I was writing. The teacher manual includes warm-up exercises that appear to be from Brain Gym: double-doodles, cross-crawl, lazy eights, alphabet 8's, some tactile exercises.

#14 NCW

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 01:15 PM

So how useful are the slant tables? I had heard of them before and never pursued them. When the kid is 11 or 12, they start to get kind of picky and dont' want to try stuff or be weird. Something I could rig up and try with her would be good at this point. Then if it isn't useful or well-received, I'm not out much.

I had heard of Barchowsky before but that's all. I can't get either of her books through the library, humbug. I'm looking at them on amazon and trying to figure out whether those warm-ups would be in the Fix it Write or Fluent Handwriting. Or maybe they're somewhere else as well? And see, for as much as dd has never really liked the BJU handwriting I started her with, I'm not sure she's interested in changing. So the Fix It Write is in the right vein. I'm just not sure it has all the components you're referring to. But is it that the movements are different or just the things you do with the strokes?

How this is a stretch, but now that you're enlightening me on handwriting, do you have any comments on typing? She has never excelled at it either, and at this point I was thinking of switching her over to a Dvorak layout to see if it would help.


Wishing I knew how to put answers in after each question, I'll just do them in order:

A slanted writing surface helps us all. Old desks were often built with a slant. One thing we often recommend is just taking a sturdy empty 3" binder and rotating it. It's not as durable, and is slightly smaller than ideal, but is a great option for many. Slant boards made for the purpose are ludicrously overpriced - often $40. I found some laptop trays at IKEA that work just fine for many: http://www.ikea.com/...oducts/60150176. The surface is unfortunately textured, but a notebook or piece of cardboard solves that. Some don't like the lip on the bottom, some like it a lot - luckily my dh can cut it off with his bandsaw if I need him too :D

Barchowsky: Neither of these are consumable workbooks. Fluent Handwriting has a nice section covering just how to do the rhythmic exercises/warm-ups she recommends. It then goes over all the letter formations. Printable work-sheets are on a CD-ROM. Improve Your Handwriting is organized differently, into daily exercises to improve one's legibility - it is written to the person doing the exercises. It has the rhythmic warm-ups built into the daily exercises as worksheets to xerox. Otherwise, all the writing is done on paper of your choice. She discusses improving manuscript by moving to italic, or improving conventional cursive if you prefer that.

Keyboarding: I admit right now I know more about handwriting than keyboarding. Keyboarding programs/software have not worked for my own children (maybe too distracting?) but my daughter learned very well and my son has made a good beginning with AVKO's workbook. There is a multi-sensory keyboarding program that is on my wishlist, however, from First Strokes: You have to scroll down to page 14 of this catalog:

http://www.thehandwr...LOR version.pdf

It is, however, just a thin manual and an even thinner student workbook - I'd buy it today if it were half the price. The instructor includes ideas like forming the letters on the student's back, memorizing strategies for the keyboard, visually occluding the keyboard, etc. If my son remains stuck where he's at, I will likely look into it more this year. FWIW, though, her Tip Grip protocol is one of the best I've encountered.

#15 merry gardens

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 02:23 PM

So I just went and took another look at the Retrain the Brain book and materials, since we're discussing it. I bought the level for 3rd grade and up, and it does come with a 130 page spiral-bound book. Someone may find this information more useful than I did. Here are the chapter headings:
1. America, We Have a Major Problem (discusses dominance, handwriting, reading methods, learning disabilities)
2. Why Are The Kids' Brains so Different Today? (education, handwriting)
3. Why the Massive Increase in the Need for Special Education? (TV, computers, video games, stress)
4. Brain Anatomy 101 for Novices
5. Stimulating the Brain's Time-sensitive "Windows of Opportunity" (multi-sensory stimulation)
6. Capitalizing on the Brain's Neuroplasticity (inhibitory control, movement)
7. An American Phenomenon - ADHD (personality or pathology?, TV, Brain imaging differences, regulating emotional energy flow)
8. The New Education Paradigm - Brain Compatible Learning. (learning styles, movement, cross laterality, music, internal rhythm, positive affirmations)
9. Peering Beneath the Surface: Handwriting and Remediation
10. The Learning Style Characteristics of the Right and Left Brain
11. Results of Using Multi-sensory Handwriting in Various Grades
12. A Historical Perspective on the Origin and Evolution of Handwriting Therapy

Callirobics doesn't give you any of this information - just exercises and music. Retrain the Brain also comes with a template (stencil) of the exercises for those kids who are having trouble with them - just start with the stencil. I forgot that last night when I was writing. The teacher manual includes warm-up exercises that appear to be from Brain Gym: double-doodles, cross-crawl, lazy eights, alphabet 8's, some tactile exercises.

Oooo! Thank you! That is once again very helpful. I'd probably love the book, but I've also read much on all those chapter topics. I have so many thoughts about all those chapter titles and more that I could probably write a book or two of my own, LOL!

...Elizabeth and others--something I'm working on with my son to teach rhythm is this principle: sound IS movement. Sound waves are caused by movement. What we experience as sound in our ears, we can experience in other ways too.

Edited by merry gardens, 24 July 2011 - 05:58 PM.
tmi


#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:15 PM

Well NCW, this has been FASCINATING. You've given me a ton to think about. :)

#17 wapiti

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:36 PM

Well NCW, this has been FASCINATING. You've given me a ton to think about. :)

:iagree::iagree:

#18 OhElizabeth

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:38 PM

Yeah, it's when you read these threads and follow the rabbit trails and it starts to get very late and night... and suddenly words like "ulnar stabilization" suddenly seem quite normal. Then you know you've gone over the top, lol. :)

#19 OhElizabeth

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 10:48 PM

But in all seriousness, get this. I showed my dd those two handwritings tonight (Barchowsky and First Strokes), and she said that her problem is that her hand doesn't move. So I'm trying to ask her to TRANSLATE what in the world that means. So I watched her, really watched her. Turns out she starts at a spot, writes from left to write as far as the wrist will reach, and then that's IT, done, stop, cram to get the rest in. Why the OT didn't find that is beyond me. Or maybe she did and I didn't get the explanation? Or maybe these kids really are mystifying? But it explains why her signature or a line on the paper will start off looking ok and get worse as it goes on.

That's when I ended up clicking something and following leads till I was reading big words like ulnar and radial stabilization. Then I knew I was losing it. The OT did comment on that, how her weak core and shoulder were causing her to lean on her wrist. Also she doesn't neurologically weight-shift properly. (I speak as a fool here.) So if your weight is all going on that wrist, it's no wonder the wrist isn't sliding along with your writing... Need to put that arm on a little trolley or something, hehe.

In all seriousness, I don't know if a slant board would help that or what. It might just be more attention. I did find a chart that had all kinds of neat stuff http://teacherweb.co...gestions-1.docx It suggests working on their stomachs (as in while lying on the floor) to strengthen their shoulders. That makes sense. The OT even had her do that once. But that's what killed me about the OT, that we'd do things *once* and never continue or have a clue why. She was just too scattered in her approach.

So anyways, that chart at that link (if it works) is interesting. I have a feeling this year is not going to be pretty. We've been doing all kinds of other stuff and not keeping up with our OT stuff at all, meaning she has probably lost a lot of the hand, core, and shoulder strength we got through OT, humbug. Also, we're going to the eye doctor later this week. Either she needs glasses or something else. She thinks she needs glasses. I'm getting my eyes checked too, as I KNOW I need new glasses, mercy. I did a scad of the VT exercises today. I haven't kept up on my own stuff, so I have ground to make up. My goal had been to finish all the basic stuff (convergence, depth perception, peripheral, etc.) before getting new glasses.

#20 NCW

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

Very fast as I head out the door-
The first thing I do when I see a child resting on the heel of their hand is check seated posture. Sometimes a different kind of chair, or an appropriately sized chair, or a wedge cushion will help. The slanted surface can help some, I think mostly because it feels slightly more awkward to sit that way, but it doesn't solve it. We address core strength, and I generally recommend they spend some time each day tracing, drawing, and/or writing on a vertical surface to increase that shoulder/arm strength. Crayola makes window markers now that kids of all ages love, and they are fun on mirrors, too.

If you have visual issues, I'm surprised your optometrist or vt hasn't recommend a slanted writing/reading surface. Every optometrist I've met has discussed it, to help angle the page for optimal visual focus on the page.

#21 OhElizabeth

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:40 AM

http://lcweb2.loc.go...ge.db&recNum=47 Have you ever seen this about the Palmer method? I had heard of it and seen the cursive, but I didn't realize how different it was the way you're supposed to use the whole arm. Dd is sleeping in (her last chance of the summer, hahaha), but I'm definitely going to have her write today and look at it some more to see what muscles she's using. After reading that Palmer explanation, things started to make a little more sense. I think she's probably using her fingers, not moving from her shoulder, and it's leaving her tired. And she's resting her weight on that hand. I want to try that Palmer approach on her and see what happens. She'll buck, but it might work.

That's a good point about then working on strengthening the shoulder, hmmm... We did some stuff with OT, but there's always more to go.

And no, our VT place never recommended a slant board. But they weren't trying to be OTs. They referred out for that. And they were quite good, a very large practice. We're going back this week for a regular eye check as a matter of fact. Dd is having headaches with her eyes again, and we need to dig to the bottom of it.

#22 NCW

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:41 PM

My last comment! I forgot to mention this morning that it is not uncommon that kids with postural/core weakness benefit from movement/vestibular activities. Vestibular input affects postural muscle tone.

Please ask your optometrist about the 20 degree slant - I'm very curious to hear what they say.

#23 wapiti

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 01:21 PM

My last comment! I forgot to mention this morning that it is not uncommon that kids with postural/core weakness benefit from movement/vestibular activities. Vestibular input affects postural muscle tone.

Please ask your optometrist about the 20 degree slant - I'm very curious to hear what they say.


I'm so fascinated that I have now turned to typing on my iPad so I can converse with you all (laptop keyboard is broken and I really hate trying to type on the iPad, so this says something!)

This last statement is very intriguing- vestibular input affects postural muscle tone - can you elaborate on the mechanism there, or suggest activities for this? Just thinking out loud. I was reading Brain Gym too late again last night and I forgot what I read :glare:.

#24 OhElizabeth

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 01:29 PM

Wapiti, I've recently started making written notes on 5X7 index cards as I read.

As far as the vestibular, well that's what the OT was having us do. She said the work we did for building strength and tone wouldn't stick without vestibular. On the other hand, the areas that she *didn't* work on got weaker, even during OT. So I'm not sure it's that vestibular directly affects it, kwim? I think it was more part of the general neurological thing of going back to the neuro glitch and moving forward. The vestibular system is the first to develop the in brain supposedly, so that's where you go back to.

#25 NCW

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 05:41 PM

This last statement is very intriguing- vestibular input affects postural muscle tone - can you elaborate on the mechanism there, or suggest activities for this? Just thinking out loud. I was reading Brain Gym too late again last night and I forgot what I read :glare:.


A quick google search:
http://neuroscience..../chapter11.html "A few of the vestibular afferents go directly to the cerebellum through the inferior cerebellar peduncle. The cerebellum coordinates the movements that maintain balance. There are many connections between the cerebellum and the vestibular nuclei."

I hope that helps. I guess you could just turn to a book like "The Out-of-Sync Child has Fun" for activity ideas. The activities I choose are based on my evaluation and clinical judgement of that particular individual. While I use vestibular/movement input often, I'm very careful to ramp up the challenge slowly. Vestibular can be very powerful input, and done carelessly can throw someone out of "balance", as it were, for days.

#26 OhElizabeth

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 06:54 PM

NCW, so are you an OT *and* homeschooling?

#27 NCW

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:27 PM

NCW, so are you an OT *and* homeschooling?


Yeah, I've mentioned it before, but not often...I've only returned to work part-time in the past 3 or 4 years. In that time I've been doing as much continuing ed as I can cram in (at least triple what my licensure requires). I think this will be my 10th year homeschooling - I worked when the kids were infants/toddlers, but my dd's kindergarten experience convinced us to try homeschooling, and we just kept on...ds has never been to school.

However, we sent dd to public high school last year, and plan to do the same with ds after he finishes 8th grade with me. We never knew when we began this journey that the kids would inherit (a bit from both sides) a tendency to dyslexia/dysgraphia.

I generally just prefer to be a "mom" here, but get so excited about what I'm learning from kids and families and other professionals and books I read and and and....so I get carried away at times.

#28 wapiti

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:33 PM

so I get carried away at times.

Please feel free to get carried away anytime :) and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

#29 OhElizabeth

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 08:39 PM

Oh I just think it's cool to have someone to talk with who actually GETS all this.

What do you think of the large muscle movement approach with the Palmer method of handwriting? I explained it to dd today, and she was aghast. She said it would make her writing too big. She's 12 btw, so you notice how her brilliance in self-understanding is clouded by her extreme opinionatedness. ;)

What I don't get is whether all the other writing methods (HWT, etc.) are supposed to be that way too, or if it really is unique to Palmer. It's just a level detail I hadn't looked at in her writing. Our OT, whom we really liked and who helped as a lot in unraveling stuff, had the side problem of just being HAIR-BRAINED. She'd start things and never follow through, couldn't explain, etc. Everything revolved around her brilliance and ability to do things. And of course we would totally mess it up if we tried to do xyz at home (the constant implication). We liked her, but that was a perpetual drag on the process and why we finally (among other reasons) stopped. Not ideal, as it means we have stuff left to deal with on our own. Oh well.

Here's a fuddy-duddy question for you. I know OT can move stim level, because we definitely found that with dd. But what about fatigue with exertion. Dd is low tone, and it's pretty real. We tried carnitine, and I can't remember what but something didn't sit right about it (gave her headaches, something). She's not low-thyroid that we can tell. She just gets worn out when she does a lot and always has. Is there something magical in one sentence we could do about that?

We're not actually doing schoolwork this week, but now I want to get her writing a bit, just to see how a slantboard, etc. would affect things. It's all very interesting!

Edited by OhElizabeth, 25 July 2011 - 08:46 PM.


#30 NCW

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 05:49 AM

Please feel free to get carried away anytime :) and thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Thanks! I bore dh daily with this kind of info...

#31 NCW

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 06:15 AM

What do you think of the large muscle movement approach with the Palmer method of handwriting? I explained it to dd today, and she was aghast. She said it would make her writing too big. She's 12 btw, so you notice how her brilliance in self-understanding is clouded by her extreme opinionatedness. ;)

What I don't get is whether all the other writing methods (HWT, etc.) are supposed to be that way too, or if it really is unique to Palmer. It's just a level detail I hadn't looked at in her writing. Our OT, whom we really liked and who helped as a lot in unraveling stuff, had the side problem of just being HAIR-BRAINED. She'd start things and never follow through, couldn't explain, etc. Everything revolved around her brilliance and ability to do things. And of course we would totally mess it up if we tried to do xyz at home (the constant implication). We liked her, but that was a perpetual drag on the process and why we finally (among other reasons) stopped. Not ideal, as it means we have stuff left to deal with on our own. Oh well.

Here's a fuddy-duddy question for you. I know OT can move stim level, because we definitely found that with dd. But what about fatigue with exertion. Dd is low tone, and it's pretty real. We tried carnitine, and I can't remember what but something didn't sit right about it (gave her headaches, something). She's not low-thyroid that we can tell. She just gets worn out when she does a lot and always has. Is there something magical in one sentence we could do about that?


I do not know enough about the Palmer method to say much. I believe Zaner-Bloser developed shortly after Palmer, and it is what I learned to write with. Back then, we spent a LOT of time writing at the chalkboard - our teacher made lines with a chalk holder for us to write on. Having the whole class see your work did a lot for me to try to do well! I'm sure it was terrible for some kids.

It is generally felt that handwriting best starts with large arm movements in the air, wall, window, etc - in other words, on a vertical surface. Then you move smaller and smaller, and paper is the very last place to write. HWT, First Strokes, Mary Benbow's Loops and Other Groups, all teach this, and probably others do as well.

As far as your daughter's fatigue goes, I probably can't be much help. I agree that the first step is to rule out anything metabolic. Choosing activities that work to improve tone (vestibular, proprioceptive, core strength) with rest breaks when she needs them is what comes to mind immediately. The more fun and motivating the activity, the more likely she'd push herself to stick with it longer. I have also had success with specific exercises for reflex integration.

#32 merry gardens

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:34 AM

Oh I just think it's cool to have someone to talk with who actually GETS all this.

What do you think of the large muscle movement approach with the Palmer method of handwriting? I explained it to dd today, and she was aghast. She said it would make her writing too big. She's 12 btw, so you notice how her brilliance in self-understanding is clouded by her extreme opinionatedness. ;)

What I don't get is whether all the other writing methods (HWT, etc.) are supposed to be that way too, or if it really is unique to Palmer...

:iagree:

I don't get it either if the whole arm should be involved in other handwriting methods beyond Palmer or not. :confused: I've been reading about handwriting for a long time, but I never looked at that question. Personally, I don't move my shoulder when I write. When we did Callirobics, I did it along with the children sometimes, and I noticed that I had to pick up my a hand and move it in order to get across the whole line. I probably do that little by little, moving it as I write separate words in a normal line of writing, but when I wrote a whole line of connected doodles there was no natural break for me to move my hand. (Since you are seeing only my typing, I'll let you know I write fast and small. If/When I slow down, my writing is neat. I've studied calligraphy and can do some fancy lettering, but I usually write fast. I have to make a concentrated effort to slow down and write larger if I want people to decipher my handwriting.)

BTW, both authors of Callirobics and the Retrain the Brain have a background in graphology. That's the study of handwriting and how it relates to psychology/neurology/personality, etc. Graphologist find meaning behind large vs. small writing. Here in America graphology seems to be regarded as part of the whole "fortune-telling/alternative weird stuff", (and maybe there quacks using it who deserve that reputation) but there's something to it that people in other parts of the world recognize as part of serious science. I believe graphology deserves respect. My mom had a neurological illness that showed in her handwriting, long before a doctor correctly diagnosed what was going on. I'm not surprised when children who have something medically or psychologically off also struggle with handwriting. Would fixing the handwriting fix the problems? (That seems to be the theory behind the "Retrain the Brain".) It seems to me that if a child can get his writing under better control, it might mean that he can get other things under better control too.

Regardless of if it improves behavior or not, seems to me that if a child has poor handwriting, we should do something to improve it! I suspect that many children for years have struggled with many of the things our children struggle with, but they didn't have fancy names for things. Instead of saying "dysgraphia" they called it "poor penmanship." Poor penmanship frequently accompanied poor school performance in other subjects and behavior, just as all those "dys"es and various other behavior problems still show up together today. I don't know if they had occupational therapists or not, but I know they had formal penmanship teachers and better penmanship instruction. They also had children who in general, learned to behave better.

I'm fairly certain my son is "wired" for ADHD, along with all the other reading and writing struggles he's had. I don't think he'd ever get ADHD or ADD at a formal diagnosis though. He's too well behaved. Very energetic, but well behaved. I get compliments on my children's behavior all the time. If people only knew....

#33 OhElizabeth

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:04 AM

Thanks NCW, that's very interesting! And I think your breaks idea is good. Camp was lower intensity this year, and she did MUCH better. It's definitely something we need to work on.

#34 OhElizabeth

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:19 AM

Merry, at least in speech going fast indicates lack of control, ie. you're going fast to cover that it's harder to slow down and do it as you'd wish. And as far as slowing them down, I was just looking at puffy ink. That lady from the BJUP said she uses it in her handwriting camps. Amazon has some in pen form, and the reviews are saying that to get it to work right you have to slow down. Otherwise you just get a thin stream that doesn't really puff. And it works better with paper with a bit of nib (photopaper, acetate, etc.), at least from what the reviews are saying. So between the two that sounds like it would be great for slowing down the handwriting and getting sensation of where the fingers and pen are at.


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