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lewelma

Dysgraphia as described by my ds

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After really thinking about what was said on my other thread, I had a wonderful, deep conversation with my ds about his dysgraphia. I am looking for 2 things: 1) specific ideas for how to help him, 2) what tests to ask for to help me understand his difficulty. We need to get him tested in the next couple of months for accommodations for November.

Here is some background:  

Between 8 and 11, I knew he couldn't spell and was a slow writer, but I figured that it would work its way out as he got older. We just keep working through different programs: SWR, Sequential Spelling, Spelling Workout, Spelling Power, Spelling Wisdom, Natural Speller, etc, basically every program out there with very little luck.  I kept hoping for the silver bullet and there was none.

Age 11: I finally came to the realization that my son had dysgraphia.  He had not been tested, but I worked with him with the assumption that he had it.  We spent a full year working 30 minutes a day to increase speed through dictation, proper position, better grip, etc. I finally realized that spelling lists were not working, and that he needed to practice all spelling in the context of writing. So we abandoned all spelling programs and switched to dictation. We also tried different pens, different grips, different tactile sensations, strengthening exercises etc. In 12 months of consistent effort, he increased his speed from 5 wpm to 8 wpm.  At this point I knew we had a problem.  I asked on this board, and decided both get him tested and to abandon handwriting. There were clearly two distinct problems: the lack of handwriting automation and spelling automation. 

Age 12-15: he was tested by a not very inspired psychologist as having dysgraphia.  The goal was to get him accommodations by the age of 15 and to just have this as evidence of a long standing problem, so I didn't worry that we didn't have particularly good clarity.  Based on the suggestions of this board, I switched from handwriting to typing dictation to work on spelling automation (not phonemic skills and spelling rules, as he knew these. He can sound out nonsense words without trouble). For composition I scribed or he used a dictaphone so he could type it up later. He continued to hand write his math. I came to understand that the problem was that his spelling was not automated.  He could spell 'cat' by sounding it out, but he had to sound out *every* word, which was both slow and caused him to forget what he was trying to say. People told me that spell check would be his friend, but he still had to get something down that looked like a word, and this required him to sound it out, and when you sound out *every* word because *nothing* is automated, you simply cannot write.  We started typing dictation with Cat in the Hat, spent 3 months getting the basic 100 words somewhat automated, and then moved up to Frog and Toad for 3 months.  Then the next book, then the next.  We have just finished up 3 months on Titus Groan, which has very hard words and complex sentence structure. He can type this at 20wpm with about 10% words misspelled, and about 40% words needing to be sounded out. By doing typing dictation, we were able to work on the lack of spelling automation and avoid the lack of handwriting automation.  Focusing on one thing at a time has been a great decision.  I asked if he thought it was time to loop back around to handwriting now that the spelling was generally better, and he thinks that it will not be an easy process and probably not worth his time.

Age 15: Now. After 3 years of 30 minutes a day of typing dictation, he can type about 20 words per minute.  If he is simply copying, it is 40 words/min. At this point we are moving up to the next level: he is reading a paragraph, and then writing it as a whole without looking, so having to reconstruct the logic and sentence structure.  Then read 2 paragraphs and write them from memory.  Clearly this requires a new skill of re-composing rather than typing exactly what he is told. It is going well and helping him immensely to connect his thinking to his writing.

So today we talked about his dysgraphia.  He asked me to do a handwritten dictation for him - the first time in 3 years.  He wrote at 9 words per minute for 4 minutes. This is what he noticed, in his own words (I wrote it out word for word as he told me). I will add that we have never really talked about this, so these are really his thoughts and not influenced by me. I was actually quite surprised by what he said.

Dysgraphia as described by my ds:

"It is not a processing speed problem. It is as if I'm missing a piece of my brains that allows it to make automated movements.  Each different letter is not a single sign, it is a collect of strokes that I have to do.  Y is 2 strokes; other people have a letter as 1 stroke, they even have whole words as a single movement. I tell my hand to write 'the.' It has no idea how to write 'the'. It tells my brain that. My brain say write a 't'. My hand says which stroke. I say the down stroke. Then it asks what's next. I say the up hook to connect to the h....   I am not drawing letters. I remember when I used to do this when writing thank you notes to grandma, I'm not doing that now. Each letter is composed of 2 or 3 different movements.  Some letters are only 1 easy movement like a,e,d.  O is hard for me as I do an o as an 'a-stop'. If I don't say stop, I write an a - so an 'o' is two movements.  A's are one of the only letters that is automated.  N and r are difficult.  I naturally do an r, and have to think to extend it to an n. So an n is two steps - an r plus an extension....    The problem is not just in the hand. I have no indecisiveness in my drawings. I want to draw a tree, and I imagine it and it appears on paper.  Also, numbers are one stroke, even zeros. Zeros are not like o's as zeros are only 1 movement. They are not an 'a-stop.' For math, I'm not thinking of writing it.  An equation in my mind is made incarnate. I think 'x=5', and it appears on paper.  I've never had a problem writing numbers.  There has never been a mismatch.....   It is as if I am on a moving walkway in the airport.  My thoughts are like when I walk on the super fast moving walkway. Writing for me is like when you step off.  There a physical shock of stepping off and feeling like you are wading through molasses.  It is distracting.....   When I try to write faster, my hand panics, and it starts to jitter and sends signals to my brain saying 'panic.' This negatively impacts my brain, making it unable to send better and clearer signals to my hand."

Fascinating. 

I'm open to your thoughts, but please be kind as we have been working hard on this for years.

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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Wow what an amazing description of what’s going on!  I feel like sharing that with whoever your local dyslexia people are could also be beneficial to others who are trying to understand what’s going on with their own kids!

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I have been reading this thread with interest and sadness. I have three dyslexic kids and they all have striking low and processing speeds and unusually low scores on rapid naming. My oldest daughter had to be tested twice by the neuropsych because she had such a low speed score that the test thought it must be a mistake. So, I live in this universe too. But, it is just sad to me that anyone would have to ask if there is a place in the world for these slow thinkers. When did we get to the point that we value speed over all else. I get that speed has it's place, but there is such depth and creativity of thinking in these kids. I have come to understand that they are using their brains differently to process language (the Dehaene book is really good here) and that that really does take more time, but it also gives them access to parts of the brain that neurotypical readers just don't have, and that is the source of their originality and creativity. I used to explain it to my kids as the difference between crossing the ocean on the Concord or on an boat. Yes, one is faster, but you see a whole different world on the boat. I refuse to accept that there is only room in the world for a three hour ocean crossing.

My middle DD15 sounds a lot like your DS. I thought for a while that she was not dyslexic. But. she could never learn to spell, and by middle school her spelling was still dismal, her grammar and mechanics dismal (even though she could tell you all the rules from years of trying all the programs you also tried), and her handwriting was deteriorating as she tried to compose increasingly difficult sentences and paragraphs. When I had her tested a couple of years ago I specifically asked for testing on the writing portion because that is where she struggled most and we just made the decision that enough time had been spent on remediation and it was time to focus on accommodation. She is now in public high school and types absolutely everything. Typing does help, but she still needs extra time. But at least with typing she can write with the kind of language she would use if she were dictating. When she hand writes it's like she cannot even compose at the same level. She writes short simple sentences just to get almost illegible words on paper.

As I see it, this is undoubtedly a language processing difference. While she and her siblings have slow processing speeds, they all also play classical guitar and are able to sight read music. Even my oldest, who has the most bizarrely slow processing speed, was a ballet dancer and while she had difficulty when she was younger, often just a half a beat or less behind the music on new choreography, by the time she was a teen she was able to dance and play guitar without any evidence of her slow processing speed. It is also not really just a motor function issue. My middle DD, the dysgraphic one, is also an artist, so it's clear that some things are able to get from her creative brain onto the paper without difficulty. 

The best description my dysgraphic DD has given of her experience is that when she writes it is like she has an idea but as that idea is traveling to the paper it passes a beautiful flower garden and it slows down to wander through the garden, sometimes stopping to smell the flowers or look at a caterpillar before continuing on to the paper. She says it takes tremendous energy and focus (like putting her head down and putting on blinders) to pass by without stopping and when she does she can't keep all her previous thoughts intact. This causes her great anxiety because there is such a premium placed on speed, but the only way to mentally hold and process all her thoughts at the same time is to not rush them (it's probably worth pointing out here that while many dyslexic kids have working memory issues she tested at the 99.9 percentile for working memory, so that is not the problem here either).  

Personally, I have learned so much about dyslexia over the past decade. This a a fascinating field of study with a ton of new, interesting research (some of Fumiko Hoeft's research into 2e dyslexic kids is remarkable, as well as Dehaene's research and the Eides etc). It has been helpful for me to stop thinking about these things as deficiencies. Your DS has a brain that works differently from his brother's. That's a good thing. Think carefully about what you mean when you worry about what it will take for him to be "successful." It's easy for the world to define success as going to MIT. I think that is short sighted. Even going to MIT is a chimera unless you have a more robust understanding of success than mere achievement (MacArthur genius award winning paleontologist Jack Horner flunked out of college six times before he was able to finish - read about him. Read about MIT professor Catherine Drennan. Change the way you think about these apparent difficulties. Your son seems remarkably clear headed about his own thinking process. Listen to him. He is not less than his brother).

Edited by hepatica
spelling lol
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My son had a lot of anxiety also.  I think that is a lot better now.  He can get stuff down on paper enough to have it not be a problem.  At this point at least.

He’s not too bad of a speller.

The letter automaticity has been such a problem with him.  He was in OT for years and he wanted to stop at a certain point.  

One time when he was.... maybe 8?  Maybe 9? OT told me she was a little concerned he might forget all his letter formations over the summer.

He is not too slow with typing now, it can work for him.  

I want it to be just a small part of his life.  When he was younger it was something that dominated a lot.  If it just doesn’t dominate, that is good enough for me.  If it’s not at the forefront making everything hard, it’s good enough.  

With OT I was given a mixed message..... on one hand, never expect much from his handwriting.  On the other hand, expect him to be able to do well anyway.  

He is good enough at typing for that to help a lot.  Still, he’s not great at typing.  But it works.  

http://handwriting-solutions.com/dysgraphia.asp

This is the website I was given by OT.  She said he had issues from four of the types.  I like this website a lot.  

With the best his handwriting got with OT/school (he did spelling with a resource teacher but she did it as a way to work on handwriting), he could copy single words beautifully, but he wouldn’t know what he had written.  They told me.... it was worth doing in a very small amount, but they were not seeing it as something that they thought would transfer to other writing.  But for a while he would copy his spelling list every week in lovely handwriting.  

They would consider him a success story as he is functioning in school and able to complete his work.  I consider him a success story also because he has overcome a lot.  But it’s not what I would have hoped for when he was younger.  My expectations have dropped in a way, but they have also changed, to be more about seeing him manage overall even if his handwriting is not good.

And, his handwriting is more fluent now, to where it’s not as much of a problem compared to how it used to be.  It is better.  He’s not going to forget how to write letters anymore!  

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Your son’s writing troubles sound a lot like my son’s.  

I don’t know what tests—will be all ears if anyone does.

Typing speed: you might ask him  if gamified typing could help him—if so my ds liked Typing Instructor for kids Platinum.  Your son might prefer the adult version at his age, but I never saw that. 

Dictation to iPhone has become my son’s primary method to start written work.  He mostly uses its built in speech to text, but there are also apps available.

Toward the end getting me or someone to look at spelling can help, though a lot gets on correctly from transfer over to regular computer and running spell check.  Homophones tend to be wrong and spellcheck won’t get that.  Also using text to speech can help pick up if a word is a word, but not the word meant unless it’s a homophone homophone 

Note taking in school is a big problem.  I think using technology or copying notes of class mates would be best way around this, but he’s refused either, so I can’t say.  Taking a photo of board notes would help I think, but he won’t.  I hope your son is less stubborn about not wanting to use accommodations.

After coming to realize that my son is dyslexic and dysgraphic, I realized that I have been too, but less so, so I was able to develop my own strategies for this (classes based on poetry or plays rather than long novels, for example).  

I had my own personal system of abbreviations or symbols for taking notes, for example.  Such as a backwards 3 ish symbol was my “there is/there are” symbol.  I can’t recall a lot now, but I had a lot of common phrases down to one symbol like that .  Also word endings had symbols. I recall my “tion” ending was an n written high.  Sometimes I left out a lot of letters entirely.  Prsm ^n inc might be “presumption of innocence”.   Any time a math related shortening would work in writing by hand I would use that fn function, ~ equivalent, similar etc.    

For at least some essay exams I would think things through in my head before starting to write, and then would write relatively short essay answers.

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The penmanship description says he does not have all his letters to automaticity.  He has some of the strokes internalized verbally, but not integrated visually or with his motor skills.  He hasnt moved from parts to whole in many letters.  I understand what he means when he says he drew earlier, but I believe in the terminology used by those who teach penmanship he is still drawing.  Stroke 1, stroke 2 ...still drawing, using in a sequence taught to him rather than a different sequence of stroking based on what he figures out when breaking up the image. He recalls a letter by its memorized sequential stroke parts that haven't been blended into a movement, then executes the sequence.   When he blends the strokes learned together in sequence, without pause,without stroke recall he will be writing. In reading it would be the stage of  recalling the sound for each letter then trying to blend moving to just looking at it and knowing the word.  In music he would be going note by note, having not developed the ability to phrase.  The naming of the stage is immaterial.  Is this cursive or print?  Does he vocalize his instructions outloud? Left handed taught by a righty?

 My suggestion is check out the Peterson Directed Handwriting website.  The rhythm and the letter sequences used in the How To videos are very helpful in going to fluency in each letter.   After we did that, my dc was quite sick of me as the teacher, so I shifted to self-instruction and handed him the first workbook in the Essential Learning Products Cursive series.  That book spells out legibility as the goal and is quite direct in the how-to.  The other part of this is the position of the body parts.  You might hire someone for that -- my son's older teachers were all competent in this aspect. They start with sand writing, then air writing to combine the senses and get movements to automaticity, then go to markerboard, then to wide lined paper, then finally down to college rule.  When they shift, they teach the writing finger grip on the stylus.  One simply can't control if the grip is wrong, the shoulder and arm aren't involved, the posture is awful, etc etc.  A knowledgeable person that can work with a teen is worthwhile.  

 

Your dc sounds as if he has no problem visualizing his math symbols but with writing more than a math proof he isn't at that level.   One exercise that helped my dysgraphic son move to fluent spelling was visualizing words.  Not memorizing ( which he could do very well)  but visualizing in the mind.  I asked him to tell me the word forwards and backwards, letter by letter then he shifted to doing the exercise himself...see it , say it, spell it forwards, spell it forwards eyes closed, spell it backwards, spell it backwards with eyes closed -- don't use verbal memory, use visual.   We used a marker board at first Backwards is the key.  Do part of the alphabet backwards.  Work up to all of the alphabet backwards.  Do short words backwards and work up to longer words.  Make sure he can visualize all letters if you rotate and invert them and use the sensory exercise of putting a few letters in a bag, and having him reach in and pick one, then identify from touch without looking. Practice visualizing scenes with short words in them...that can be a scenario with clues, in game. Essentially he will move to knowing intimately.  Moving from fluently writing a word to the rest is pretty easy, but there is still a choke point because they have such a large vocab and often went to use their mind to stretch their writing skills rather than spell correctly (which is why rough drafts exist, right?).  What helped my son was a patterned spelling review, the first book of the Megawords series .. just the spelling part. It helped him sort all those rules in his mind into patterns, and showed where some of the irregular words went. Took less than a month. Learning typing with a patterned typing program (meant for dyslexics) was also helpful, perhaps it would be useful as a review for your dc.

The best advice I received came from teachers trained in gifted education.  They know about reach exceed grasp, choke points in output, sensory integration etc and have progressions for skills. I suggest taking a closer look at visualization skills...how is he doing with  in game at puzzles that require rotations, with few reference points?

Edited by HeighHo
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Just pulling down some thoughts here.

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

So today we talked about his dysgraphia.  He asked me to do a handwritten dictation for him - the first time in 3 years. 

I think it's normal for kids, when the pressure goes down, to want to see what they can do. I would NOT change to trying to do actual school work with handwriting. He clearly has a significant disability, and even the typing is barely functional for him. At his current wpm he should be pondering whether to use dictation software. He might like both tools (dictation and typing) and to decide when to use which. But definitely look into dictation software. For handwriting, as his goals and help him get functional for his goals. He might like to be able to write brief notes, thank yous, lists, or fill out employment forms. This will probably max out his handwriting and it would give him functional goals. You can investigate whether he will need to hand write for essay tests (college, SAT/ACT) or whether he will have accommodations. As long as he will have accommodations, again I would not put a lot of effort into it. At best it's a disability and a drain when he's trying to strain his cognitive processes, etc. too.

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

he couldn't spell

Spelling is a funny thing. It's also going to be impacted by visual memory and language disabilities. My dd, around that age (10-12) when tested by the developmental optometrist turned out to have the visual memory of a 2 yo. Sorta explained why spelling was not going well, lol. My ds, on the other hand, could spell but it didn't seem to click or be useful. For him I finally realized that his echolalia had been reflecting a whole to parts language acquisition in his brain. Spelling, morphology, these are the *parts* of words, so if someone went whole to parts for their language learning, memorizing large amounts of language, they might not seem to get the spelling. 

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

I think 'x=5', and it appears on paper.  I've never had a problem writing numbers.

This is actually pretty common that kids with dysgraphia *can* write their math but can't do the language. The math and language are stored in different places.

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

It is as if I'm missing a piece of my brains that allows it to make automated movements. 

Yes, an OT can look at the motor planning. It would also be interesting to see if he has other indications of praxis or dyspraxia. There's a diagnosis DCD (developmental coordination disorder) and then just the subclinical, like my dd, where nobody diagnoses anything but it still is pesky and causes problems.

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

When I try to write faster, my hand panics, and it starts to jitter and sends signals to my brain saying 'panic.'

So he just told you not to work on speed. 

Honestly, what he's describing is so stressful, it sounds like you would be wise to explore dictation software first. You have the language in the brain (language disability), getting it organize (EF), crossing the midline and getting it over to motor planning (praxis of any kind), and then the physical ability to do the movements that would be necessary (fine motor, more praxis). So you're wanting to figure out where the glitches are occurring and bypass them or shorten the path. So dictation software will shorten the path. 

I would want an OT eval, because they may find some basic things like mid-line issues and retained reflexes. Working on those might not be a super magic bullet, but they might HELP. 

If you have not done a playful typing software, I would consider it. Actually he would be a super fab candidate for Talking Fingers. He's more proficient than my dd was in typing, but I had to move her over to Dvorak, a more efficient keyboard layout, to finally get her functional. You might get some info on it and see what he thinks. He sounds like he's open to collaboration and problem solving, so that would be information. Dvorak is radically more efficient and reduces the midline issues, which can make it easier to get his thoughts out. Mavis Beacon has a version for mac that does Dvorak lessons. It required some discipline, and basically I locked down the settings and forced her to change. My dh thought I was a HORRIBLE PERSON for doing this, but she's now functional typing. And I'm just suggesting that 20wpm is pretty borderline. My goal with dd was 35wpm. There is so much less finger movement on Dvorak that it was more doable for her motor planning challenges. Check it out. She went from 13wpm to over 35 wpm and functional.

5 hours ago, lewelma said:

please be kind as we have been working hard on this for years.

Don't work hard anymore. Seriously. Working hard will not change anything. He's telling you that it's setting off a stress reaction and increasing his cortisol levels. That totally shuts down learning. So you can do Zones of Regulation together, 5 Point Scale (don't get the book, just google and the concept will be obvious and you can APPLY it by making scales for lots of things, like scales for how difficult the whatever is, etc.). 

I would do OT, screen for retained reflexes yourself (because OTs often don't check for them), and see if you can find an SLP who specializes in language who will have the TNL, TOPS, SLDT, etc. I don't think you should try hard on anything at all right now. With enough tech he will be currently functional, so I would go for calm, successful output and move on. Doing things they way everyone else does them is overrated. I would MOVE ON.

If you find a psych who owns the TNL, SLDT, etc., that could be golden. Also go through those communication profiles on the Social Thinking site and let HIM go through them. Then give him some time with peers and time to process what he learns from that article. What you'd like to see is that he goes oh so and so is this profile, this other person is that profile. Then he can see himself more clearly and self-advocate.

Again, he sounds highly intelligent. It's possible that an IQ test won't show it completely, if he has language issues, etc. You're still going to do it, but just saying use your head. If he has language issues (he sounds very formal to me), then the heavy language component is going to affect everything. I have no clue why psychs always buck me and don't run the alternate IQ testing. Someday I should get that done, sigh. On my better scholarship now I think I can. You can have wild swings in IQ testing (30-50 points) because of language issues.

I would definitely move on to helping him feel empowered and functional rather than working on remediating. That ship is sailing. Others can disagree, but I'm just saying it's ok to move on. Or it's ok to say we're going to remediate but only for this highly targeted goal that is functional that he realizes he wants. 

I think your psych or SLP can run phonological processing testing, but it's not likely to show much. I don't know, see. The psych ran it on dd and he was like hello, not dyslexic. So just talk it through. SLPs are cheaper than psych hours, and they might have the TILLS. 

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(I will add.... at my son’s school they have most notes available on the Internet, and most homework is typed and submitted over the Internet.  This is huge for him.  It is so helpful.  What they (they being people who think this solves every problem) is that there IS still incidental handwriting.... there is still stuff like very short assignments, packets where various blanks are filled in and some sentence-length answers, and the need to write down assignments.  Then there is math, which — fortunately has not been an issue since long division.  Long division was not possible for him independently.  Anyway — I have heard wording for how much quantity is expected..... my son is supposed to be fine for writing sentences but not paragraphs.  So at this point — he is doing okay with writing sentences here and there, and then anything longer is able to be typed because of how the school is set up.  The school set up helps a lot and when he was younger I would be told that when he got to middle school and they had the chromeboxes it would be much much better for him.)

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Lecka makes a really good point here. My ds has an IEP, and it's very similar, specifying the amount he can be expected to write himself for a given task and at what point the tech/scribing/supports kick in. 

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OP, explore speech to text and combine it with the typing.  Modern Mac products have the speech to text functionality built in, and Dragon Speak is always an option.  I’m not saying these options are ideal or perfect, but he can make them functional enough with practice.

For the anxiety, speak with a professional and maybe consider practicing mindfulness breathing.  

 

 

 

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Thanks guys for your clarity of thought. I am quite moved that you have spent so much time to write out such thoughtful posts.  I'll be back later with comments, explanations, and questions. 

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Several ideas:  first, try each idea with a few letters for a week and time before and after to see which works best, so try idea 1 for a few letters, idea 2 for a few different letters, etc.

1. Overlearn pattern.  Up, down, across.  Or, down, right.  Or, describe in degrees.  Try several different things, whatever makes most sense to him to describe the writing of that letter.  So, for L, either down, right or down, 90 degrees, or some variation of that.

2. Mneumonic alphabet, draw things instead of letter.  Here is an example, I like the M mountain. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Mnemonic-images-to-assist-in-the-retention-of-alphabet-letter-sound-correspondence-A_fig1_237617620 There are a lot of different ideas if you search "mnemonic alphabet" and "mnemonic letters." 

3. Draw your own thing, then make it into a letter.  For example, draw a log that looks like an L, then gradually turn it into a letter L you can do really fast. (Variation of 2 but might work better.)

4. Translate into something of that shape.  letter "O" = number zero or moon as in oo.  Can he write a zero or draw a sketch of a full moon quickly? C = crescent moon.  J = upside down candy cane or umbrella handle, in might not work if thing not aligned with sound, or it might if you can associate it.

5. Overlearn the drawing of it with an app, for $5 you can get peterson handwriting incorporated into sight words, "EBLI sight words made easy." I also like that he would be practicing with the most frequent words here, which need to be written often. It also has some kind of verbal instruction for each letter, but I can barely understand it, it might be better to do your own or just follow arrows, try several things.

https://eblireads.com/app3/

Currently only iPad or iPhone but working on android version.  

I personally would stick to all uppercase but that might not work for everything he needs to write for, you can write neatly and easier in my opinion with all uppercase. At any rate, I would work on either uppercase or lowercase at once and then add the other case. Some of the lowercase might be easier flow wise.

 

 

 

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I would also investigate if you go directly from sound to how to draw the letter if that is faster than name of letter to drawing, when you are writing words you go directly from the sound of that letter but spelling and writing you usually talk about the name.  Treat it as a giant science experiment, I know you have experience with that!!

ETA: here are charts for the sound spelling patterns and their frequency:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/Phonics Lsns/phonogramsoundch.html

Edited by ElizabethB

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One more thought, could he learn shorthand?  There are different kinds, here are Geraldine Rodger's thoughts about shorthand:

Short vowels, present in Gregg shorthand manuals before 1918, were not present in shorthand manuals after that date but only unmarked vowels which could be either long or short. As a stenographer of Gregg shorthand who learned it at the age of sixteen without the use of the critically important short vowels, I can assure anyone that transcribing such Gregg shorthand, with its additional reliance on “brief forms” (a kind of sight word) can only be done with heavy, conscious, context guessing. Although I have taken shorthand rapidly and quite accurately for over fifty years, I find transcribing it requires conscious judgments (“psycholinguistic guessing”) and is therefore unpleasant. I much prefer to use longhand to take notes because I can read it automatically and avoid unpleasant conscious decoding. I pity those who must read all printed matter “psycholinguistically.” It is no wonder they prefer to watch television. 

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18 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

One more thought, could he learn shorthand?  There are different kinds, here are Geraldine Rodger's thoughts about shorthand:

Oh that is too funny.  While looking for a nonsense list to have him read for you on my other thread, we ran across some short hand and were just taking about that just one minute ago!  He has very good phonemic skills so it is possible. 

The main thing I need to think about is not what *could* we do, but what *should* we do.  We need to prioritize. 

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32 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

ETA: here are charts for the sound spelling patterns and their frequency:

This kid did SWR. He has all the spelling patterns and rules down pat.  It is the lack of automation that is the problem.

Edited by lewelma
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6 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Oh that is too funny.  While looking for a nonsense list to have him read for you on my other thread, we ran across some short hand and were just taking about that just one minute ago!  He has very good phonemic skills so it is possible. 

The main thing I need to think about is not what *could* we do, but what *should* we do.  We need to prioritize. 

Right.  But if he could learn shorthand fairly fast, it could help for quick note taking and other self-recording that he could use both now and later on in life.  If it won't be fast, I would focus on other things, and get him as fast as possible writing and typing while figuring out what to use for accommodations.  Almost no one reads shorthand any more, so it would only be useful for some purposes.  But, people who learn it well do get very quick with it!

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My dd developed her own methods combining chicken scratch and dictation/typing. Like she'd write some forms of chicken scratch to get her basic thoughts out, then go back and use tech to get them out more fully. So I think it's also ok to give them tech and let them problem solve with their own custom ways of using it. It's not really our problem to solve. We give them the tech and they figure out how they like to use it.

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Something to mention that I had forgotten about....

my son is taking a German class right now.  He has had a big problem with studying vocabulary and until recently really did not want my help.  It has gone from some offers on my side to make him flashcards and him saying he wasn’t interested, to now it’s at the point where we have stepped in more and I have gotten more involved. 

Okay — but 90% of it probably, is just that it is basically impossible for him to make himself flashcards.  That is the kind of thing that is just so difficult for him.  I just thought of Quizlet, and that would be basically impossible for him to input the words into, but if someone else in his class did it, it would be a great study tool for him.  

For this class, class notes are put on the Internet by the teacher.  But I do think she misses some days here and there.  But anyway — because of that, he isn’t needing to copy anything from the board!  There is no book for this class.  There are handouts which — he was losing for a while from not thinking they were too important to keep track of, and he does not have any kind of default of keeping track of things, he has to make a real effort and he makes it for the things he thinks are important, and he didn’t realize that about the handouts for this class.  

But anyway..... this is the kind of thing that was not on my radar at all, but really — he is doing well with flashcards — but there is a hang-up that making flashcards is just the kind of thing that would be hard for him and even if he did it somehow he wouldn’t be able to read his own handwriting.  

And he does not seem to learn through handwriting.  That is one of those things that I agree is true for many or most kids.  But I have looked at this for years and there is no sign that he learns from handwriting.  He does not have the kind of automatic handwriting that I think it takes to have that connection between the motor movements and the thought processes, or to concentrate on what he is writing as he writes, whatever it is.  

 

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Lecka, for FL the publisher's materials often have software, webcodes, and printed vocab lists.  My dygraphic son would use the bookmark printed list and go down them line by line, uncovering the side to check, just as my era did in middle school.  There is no need to write anything, especially for a visual learner who is using the software supplementary material and knows how to keyboard  In college, my son's friend who was a native speaker was the study partner (he was not taking the class) and that was much more effective than flashcards or listening in class. My son does better without facts in isolation...he uses the spelling technique of keyboarding the new word in a sentence when learning it rather than flashcarding. If his bud wasn't available, he used similar workbook material from Practice Makes Perfect where one fills a word in the sentence given. Then the spelling technique of making a story using the new words...keyboarding of course.  the vocab list was there in high school as spaced repetition after learning via the other techniques, because it was small enough to have a copy with him that could be used when there was a few minutes of slack time in other classes. The bulk of review and all the verb conjugation study came from software. Written quiz or test in high school, before he was remediated, consisted of the teacher scribing or giving him extra time.

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This is an 8th grade class and the teacher is customizing the class to the kids in the class, and making up sentences and stories in the class that are about the kids.  So it’s not following a lesson plan.

At the same time — I am sure, thinking about it, that for some of his vocabulary like the weather or feelings, there are probably Quizlet sets for those, because they would be common.  

Fortunately it is an 8th grade class.

I was not going to get involved, until he got a 5-week progress report showing he had a high D.

It seems like a nice class and my son likes the teacher.  

We have seen — he tends to do better a lot of the time, when teachers do more creative things.  He likes that.  But then there are not pre-made materials to go along with the lessons, as extensively as there are when teachers are using those kinds of lessons. 

But at this point he can learn a lot from listening in class and reading.... so it’s working out.  

In this class he has made some poor choices apart from the flash card issue.  It’s his first time to take a language class and he does not have much of an idea of what to do to do well in a language class.  

I am glad to know that using the textbook resources worked well for your son!  That is very heartening to me!!!!!!!!!!!!  I think next year there will be a book, because he will be in 9th grade then.  

 

Edited by Lecka
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Lecka, is your dc in public school in the U.S.?

What my son's middle school FL teacher did was hand him a printed vocab list weekly. We already knew from 6th grade science that handdrawn flashcards cannot be produced in a timely fashion nor are they helpful,  so I had a conference at the beginning of the year and we spoke of the accomodations the OT suggested.   I educated myself from links on the Davidson Institute site, since my kiddo is gifted.  Here's an example of a linked article that a gen ed teacher may find useful (mine didn't need it since FL is gen ed here): http://www.ldonline.org/article/6202/

Here is a link for your ds and you:  https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/schools/westlandms/about/Study Skills Night 14 15 - strategies for studying a foreign language.pdf. Our district does not issue FL textbooks in any grade w/o parent request and understandably so as the texts are meant for accompanying class instruction and are not self teaching....so if the dc didn't learn enough in class, its only use is the vocab list in the back of the chapter. Our district does loan out support material, which is very helpful, especially the PC based workbook and video games, because the audio is enabled and the students can hear the words they are studying. The PC flashcards also let one toss the cards undesired.  If this is a high school credit class (8th grade FL is one high school credit here), you might want to intervene a little more and get set up for a smooth 9th grade experience by assembling the multisensory resources and learning to use them now.

  for clarification, the  textbook was not a good resource for my son, nor was the website.  The multisensory materials, particularly PC based, offered by the textbook publisher were key for review while instruction was from the workbooks put out by the Practice Makes Perfect People and worksheets by a teacher in another state, as well as a website that drilled conjugations. I had a grammar boook that was helpful for summary for me, put out by McGraw HIll, but the kid used a website to drill what he needed to with those. His FL was mostly immersion based while his sib's was more traditional, and frankly immersion doesn't work with so little exposure and so restricted to verbal while tests were written. Most of the students who did well already knew the language or could memorize what they heard with little effort, then memorized the vocab list and clunked thru the tests.  The instruction in this district is focused on 'the pass', so while year one is easy, year two is difficult if one didn't use the recommended supplements.

Edited by HeighHo
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I don't have a dynamic with my son right now where it would work well for me to talk to the teacher this way.  I just do not.  

He has expressed that he does not want me to do things like that.  

We aren't at a point where we would be better off to go ahead against his wishes.  

Why is this?  Because he is turning in all his homework and doing what is expected in his other classes.  It's not something worth risking over one class.  

It is on the table for him to switch to a different language next year, so I am not too concerned about him not being ready to move on to the next class.  It's also on the table for him to (edit) start over with German next year -- but I don't really know how this works to be honest, I assume it would be possible though.  Thanks for the clarification about what was helpful and how to get it!  I do appreciate it!!!!!!!!

This kid has a lot of ownership issues, and I do think if he saw it like -- I think I must "interfere" with this class -- then it could just shut down a lot of things that are going well right now.  

I have made an agreement with him I will not say anything to school/teachers without advance approval from him, as far as this kind of thing, and I do not think he would even like to hear me bring it up.  

But he is getting an A in math and he is getting homework done in study hall..... there is a lot he is doing well right now!  But we can't take it for granted.  

Edited by Lecka
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I have no idea if his German class is a high school credit class, or just an introductory type of class.  I would assume it isn't, but it could be.  

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My son allowed my discussion with teachers because I was in charge of his education -- that was a condition of allowing him to attend public school.  Had he chosen to not cooperate or to not take advantage of multisensory/supplemental learning opportunities (such as NHS tutoring, lunch tutoring with instructor, afterschool office hours when needed) after his teacher gave me first alert, I would execute the plan discussed at signup time (verbal contract essentially).  In 8th grade, that was homeschool and a trades apprenticeship.  I had to pull him from both winter and spring sports because of the lack of multisensory support in math and FL and well as poor accomodations for the dysgraphia which meant he needed that time to learn at home.   In 10th, I fired one teacher and moved him to another, over the phone, after he asked  me not to interfere.  Its my job as a parent to not allow him to waste his time -- I yanked him to a multisensory classroom. He thanked me when he came home that day, as the difference in ability to learn from an 18th century small lecture hall type of teacher and frankly a star trek like multisensory classroom with stations and tech is stark for a dysgraphic student.  He had no idea what a multisensory classroom could be like, had refused in the past without considering what it could do in time savings.  He is motivated by time savings -- not interested in study techniques that don't work, not interested in instruction that doesn' t work, not interested in homework that isn't useful but had no idea what the possibilities were at this age, and the school sure wasn't optimizing anyone's needs to their offerings, they just pass people on with the least amount of learning needed.  These experiences broadened my dc's knowledge of what teaching techniques are out there, what study techniques are available and helped him choose a college that worked for him, as well as particular profs and TAs.  He owned his setting after 10th grade, and not as a noob, and a lot of that was because of his guidance counselor and myself doing that teacher change.   Really opened his eyes to the role of a teacher and counselor and how hard it can be to learn when the instructional style doesn't work for efficient learning, and thus means way too much study time as well as hard work.  I cannot, in good conscience, allow him to limit himself to 18th century methods of learning.

 

Edited by HeighHo
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Here is an example of how you could use mnemonics with a mountain for M/m, and a log with a limb sticking out for a L. My letter drawing is better than my art drawing!! Draw the drawing on the left for a few days, then transition to the letter on the right.

IMG_7645.jpg

Edited by ElizabethB
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I am glad it has worked out for you.  

Really — I am glad it has worked out.  

It is not where we are at right now.  For my son to be doing the right thing in every other class, and taking steps to turn things around in German...... it’s not worth me communicating with school when I know that is something he really does not want right now.

I did that when he was younger, so it is already in our dynamic that I have done it many times (and appropriately so!) when he was younger.  

Now it’s better to let him have some time to do things on his own and more in his own way.  

I may not agree with him, but he is the one who must attend school, complete assignments, pay attention in class, etc, and frankly there is no way I can force him to.

We can set down consequences, but if he chooses to accept consequences then that is a choice it is very possible for him to make.  

He won’t go “oh, you would do that, well, okay, it’s not worth that consequence.”  He just does not have enough sense to think that way.  

One day last year he came and asked if I could “make” him be in an extra session of math for kids who need extra help with math.  Some of his friends have an extra period of math.  

He asked me if I could “make” him do it.  

I said I couldn’t, but his teacher could recommend kids for that class based on grades or participation.  

He was so happy to know I couldn’t make him be in that extra math class, and he is motivated to not be put in it!  

Maybe in another year or two he will not have that mindset, but I am not going to do anything that would re-set him in having that mindset.

He has a way of seeing various therapies and remediation (massive reading remediation) as things that *I* have *just wanted.*  Like — its just something I want to make him do.  In 2nd grade he had speech therapy 5 days a week, 3 days at school and 2 days at a speech clinic.  He resented it a lot.  And then at the end of that year was when we found out he needed OT.  

So this has been going on a long time and he has only had about one school year now of being off of an IEP, and that is something he wants really badly.  

He acquiesced to the resource room previously because he did think he really needed it..... but that would not be the case now. 

My role is much more to step in when things are going really poorly, at this point, than to be in charge of his education.  I need him to desire to have ownership over his daily life and age-appropriate responsibilities.  Really — I don’t need to do anything that could reinforce him being passive...... he tends that way, and it is just not good for him to be that way too much.  

A helpless attitude of sitting back and letting mom figure things out for him...... we come too close to it...... it is a huge problem.  It’s going better right now!  There is a lot left to be desired, but there is also a lot that is going well and I can’t take it lightly, when I risk him becoming passive.  He is a little fragile that way and passive is not good for him.  

So — I really would love to be able to step in more, but it’s not a good time to do it right now for our situation/dynamic.  

I would love to have a better dynamic that way but the one I have is the product of years and includes massive dyslexia remediation, speech therapy, OT, and going into a resource room.  It is a lot of baggage in its way.  

I don’t think there is any way he would be where he is today if he hadn’t done all those things, but, I can’t justify it any longer, because he feels like I am taking ownership from him, and he really needs to have ownership.  

I got personal advice from a teacher familiar with our dynamic, too, and it’s one of those things where I think it was good dynamic from someone who got along very well with my son and had a good sense of how to encourage his best efforts.  

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Lecka and HeighHo, your conversation is fascinating and is giving me lots to think about.  Both of these kids are in full time school?

Sorry, I haven't written more on my own thread. I've gotten caught up in the SAT disaster of one of my tutor kids and have been discussing that over on the high school board. Will get back to thinking about my own kid today.  🙂 

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I will say that at this point, ds and I are in agreement that working on handwriting is off the table. It will just take too much time, and we abandoned it 3 years ago for a reason.  His handwriting is very tidy and mature; and at 9 words a minute, he can fill out forms although slowly! He can hand write all math without trouble.

Our focus needs to be on finding the balance between typing and speech-to-text, and he needs to learn study skills and composition skills that are fast enough to handle college classes in 3 years.  

Edited by lewelma
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Yes, my kids are in full-time regular public school.

I did massive dyslexia remediation with my oldest son during after-school, weekends, and summers.  Mostly weekends and summers.  He was identified as “at-risk” in Kindergarten, and reading well in 4th grade.  I have read things about dyslexia saying that for some kids, handwriting is the thing left over even after they are reading.  Reading is definitely a higher priority to me, than handwriting.  This is part of why we aren’t exactly full-steam-ahead for doing everything as can be recommended for handwriting...... it is coming after reading remediation and it’s not fair to be reading well, finally, and not have that mean “things are better” and just replace it with a new “problem to solve” of handwriting.  Really things are 1,000 times better because he is a solid reader, and he is even reading a book series for pleasure!  

My younger son has autism and has been in special education programs of some type since pre-school.  I have gotten wonderful information here about different resources for him.  

I also have a daughter who has an easy time with school. 

Edit:  I have to work with my situation.  While I might be drawn to the best kind of accommodation, if it’s not desired by my son, I have to compromise.  This is just my reality. I would get him out of a situation that was negative for him, but one where it is overall positive but things aren’t exactly how they “ought” to be wrt his handwriting?  I am going to have to put up with it.  

I also feel like I was overly strict at times with reading remediation.  I am glad he is a solid reader now, but there are ways it’s not “worth it” because I could have been less strict and still gotten to the same place, probably.  I think this contributed to his ownership issues.  Now I feel like I have to make up for that in some ways.  

Edited by Lecka

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Don't second guess yourself.  You did what you thought you had to do at the time with the information you had at the time. There is no perfect path.

 

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Lewelma, your son sounds so much like my 13 year old daughter.  She's got pretty good phonemic awareness and knows her spelling rules, but she has absolutely no visual memory.  I think the approach that you've taken towards spelling and typing dictation sounds brilliant, and I kind of regret that we aren't homeschooling, because I think it might really benefit my daughter.  She does pretty well with texting and makes liberal use of word prediction.  I've been surprised at how much functionality that gives her.  

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I correct his spelling word for word as he types from dictation. I review spelling rules, do 'think to spell', focus on syllables, discuss grammar, and work on punctuation.  All of this in a holistic way using a fantasy novel that he loves.  It has very much helped him with understanding *how* english is put together.

The new step we are starting this year, is for him to read a paragraph he has written for his geography class, and then reconstruct something like it without looking. This will help him to reconstruct arguments, and coordinate his typing with his thinking. We will start with one paragraph (already have done this last year and it worked well), and move up to 2 and then 3 paragraphs.  Eventually for his national geography exam, he has to be able to reconstruct a 10 paragraph essay in a 3 hour exam. Obviously, most people can memorize it word for word, instead you memorize your outline and then reconstruct the argument on the fly.  So this memory type of dictation will also help him prepare for his university entrance exams. 

He is keen, and we have set goals and time frames. He is trying to master this so that he does not need a writer. But that is the fall back option. He would like to be functional in his typing if he can be, so he can take exams in university. Goal is 40 WPM. But for non-test conditions, we need to explore speech-to-text to increase speed even more.

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My BIL (who is a doctor) uses a tablet to type everything with swipe and liberal use of word prediction.  He is crazy fast.  DS and I have discussed this as an option, but he was not very interested.  But that was a couple of years ago, I might have him try it again now that he is older. 

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3 hours ago, lewelma said:

Lecka and HeighHo, your conversation is fascinating and is giving me lots to think about.  Both of these kids are in full time school?

Sorry, I haven't written more on my own thread. I've gotten caught up in the SAT disaster of one of my tutor kids and have been discussing that over on the high school board. Will get back to thinking about my own kid today.  🙂 

 

My dysgraphia son is now a college grad. 

The key to everything is not being the heavy, but reminding the child you are a partnership act, you have a goal of mutual interest, and as the parent you have the student's back.   He's not walking the path blindly and alone, he has a guide along with the knowledge he's already acquired, and the guide has stepped back from the things that he isn't needed for.  Parental maturity and experience is needed by the fledgling when the wind gets choppy and the pirates are out, unless of course you want to weather the damage. I was weathering my own damage from my illness, so I didn't have spare change to take on more inflicted by those who felt the child should have low expectations for his academics, rather than hand him the assistance that would level the playing field and give him back much needed free time.    In middle and high school, I alone am responsible because I am the adult, the senior partner, and I have not abdicated my personal responsibility to have the child educated and able to support himself upon the age of majority.   I did walk my child through the truancy laws, explaining that my hands were tied until he was sixteen.  I also explained that I wouldn't be paying for a lawyer, that homeschool can be arranged to work better than public, and that I viewed the curriculum in alternative public school to be inferior, and I did point out the benefit of having both a high school and a college education.  Around here, that's stark -- vo-tech and alternative high school students are doing a minimal, noncollege prep curriculum, and  this area has not recovered since the 2008 recession. The kid, as he looked around, realized a lot of older friends were stuck. Working as a cashier or cleaning up at fast food while living at home wasn't what he wanted to do after twelfth grade. Repeating a course after treading water wasn't a desire.  Warming a seat while time passed at school wasn't his wish. To get in the classes he needed to proceed to his goal, he had to learn to keyboard and to remediate his writing to the level of legibility.  The path was there, and relatively painless in comparison to low grades due to teachers who didn't have the bandwith to do more than one-size-fits-none.

Edited by HeighHo
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My maddening kid..... I spent a few minutes with him last night, and I think he is pretty solid with about 1/3 of the stuff I would put on flashcards (I have probably one more stack to make him at this point).  If he ends up liking flashcards, he can figure something out.

But it seems like he is picking things up fast now that he is actually studying.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, Lecka said:

My maddening kid..... I spent a few minutes with him last night, and I think he is pretty solid with about 1/3 of the stuff I would put on flashcards (I have probably one more stack to make him at this point).  If he ends up liking flashcards, he can figure something out.

But it seems like he is picking things up fast now that he is actually studying.  

 

 

 

Yes, flashcards work because they are multisensory, unlike the classrooom.  See it,  say it, spell it, hear it...the downside is that fc take a lot of time because they are facts in isolation being memorized at this level as the majority of the list words have not been taught in the classroom.  Doing the old fashioned sentence builders works much better...I like apples, You like apples, He likes Apples, We like apples, they like apples, we like apples; I like red apples et al. as it gets the needed repetition in while allowing the higher order thinking skills such as comparison to be used.

One thing to keep in mind is that nonhighperforming school districts have dumbed down FL. Part of the reason not to issue the textbook is that what was a one year course is now a two year course.  Here it is essentially 4 years to learn 2 high school credits of material  - 7th thru 10th (and 3 credits are awareded).  So, if going on to college and needing language proficiency, be aware that what was labeled high school FL 3 was likely FL2, and college is going at 4X/speed, as high school still went at middle school speed.  

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2 hours ago, HeighHo said:

Yes, flashcards work

Haha, until you get to my ds, lol. My dd was also like this a bit, but my ds is to an EXTREME. He's brilliant with flashcards, and then it doesn't generalize to the next setting. So he'll know the fact there and NOT with the next manipulative or next scenario. It's crazy. Now I LIKE them and use them, but with him I have to do the same task many other ways to make sure it "generalizes" or gets the info spread across file folders in the brain correctly, so 2+2 is 4 EVERYWHERE. Crazy.

Oh Lecka meant flashcards for a language? Well there you have word retrieval and processing speed too. So he might recognize is, but he'd be wise to practice the words by making sentences with them as he flips them over. Quizlet has a lot of nice features for electronic flashcards. Then you can organize them by chapter, play games, etc. LOVE Quizlet. But I would use them actively, playing games. With my ds I'll also play games to bring in negation. Now we're doing it with synonyms, but it would work with spanish too. Like if he picks up city/village, then he might say "The mouse liked the big city but the cricket did not like the small village." So then you're keeping it interesting and making sure they can get it out and use it in sentences. The most effective learning will always be in context like that. You can even make paired cards and use sample sentences from his text, so he's matching the english term and the spanish in a sentence or a picture to the spanish sentence, etc.

Total rabbit trail, but at least Lecka's ds WILL use the flashcards. My dd found them stressful and since it was an online class she wanted to do everything independently, her own way. And of course the word retrieval and processing was wicked hard. With ds I seem more intuitive on how to work with him and these sort of in context methods work really well. But he's had a lot more practice with expressive language.

Edited by PeterPan
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I just talked to my son... he signed up for classes today and is going to take as electives: woodworking, typing, music appreciation, and PE.  

He is taking a study hall instead of a language.  

A language is required for 8th grade, but not for 9th if he passes some kind of test this year, which he said the teacher said that everyone passes.  

We’ll talk to my husband tonight, but I think this is a good outcome.  He really likes woodworking and study halls are good for him, too.  He likes to do his homework during the school day whenever he can, and it is nice for him to have a break.  And sometimes he will read his book!  Depending on how much homework he has.  

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Does he have a smartphone, or is that an option? If so, iPhone or Android?

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I have this for my iPhone: https://otter.ai/login

It’s the best STT app I’ve experienced.  Comparing mostly with Dragon and Apple installed STT.   I did most of my NaNoWriMo 50,000 words in November using Otter—the free option was enough for me to do this.  I haven’t yet tried it to record a conversation or meeting.  

My ds is still using iPhone preinstalled STT. His preinstalled STT works better for him than mine for me.  I don’t know to what extent this is slight individuality of device or voice differences or amount of use.  

Writing is essentially done as STT on iPhone, then transferred to a computer with revisions and additions made by typing. It is a system that works well.  

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My son is also very good at 2 thumb typing on iPhone plus use of word prediction swiping .  Much better than I am. Though many kids his age are way faster yet than he is. 

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19 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Haha, until you get to my ds, lol. My dd was also like this a bit, but my ds is to an EXTREME. He's brilliant with flashcards, and then it doesn't generalize to the next setting. So he'll know the fact there and NOT with the next manipulative or next scenario. It's crazy. Now I LIKE them and use them, but with him I have to do the same task many other ways to make sure it "generalizes" or gets the info spread across file folders in the brain correctly, so 2+2 is 4 EVERYWHERE. Crazy.

Oh Lecka meant flashcards for a language? Well there you have word retrieval and processing speed too. So he might recognize is, but he'd be wise to practice the words by making sentences with them as he flips them over. Quizlet has a lot of nice features for electronic flashcards. Then you can organize them by chapter, play games, etc. LOVE Quizlet. But I would use them actively, playing games. With my ds I'll also play games to bring in negation. Now we're doing it with synonyms, but it would work with spanish too. Like if he picks up city/village, then he might say "The mouse liked the big city but the cricket did not like the small village." So then you're keeping it interesting and making sure they can get it out and use it in sentences. The most effective learning will always be in context like that. You can even make paired cards and use sample sentences from his text, so he's matching the english term and the spanish in a sentence or a picture to the spanish sentence, etc.

Total rabbit trail, but at least Lecka's ds WILL use the flashcards. My dd found them stressful and since it was an online class she wanted to do everything independently, her own way. And of course the word retrieval and processing was wicked hard. With ds I seem more intuitive on how to work with him and these sort of in context methods work really well. But he's had a lot more practice with expressive language.

 

I apologize for my poor language skills.  My point is that flashcards work, but they are inefficient.  There are much better techniques, meaning more efficient, for those with dysgraphia that are willing to learn rather than memorize as well as those that just want to memorize.

Your point that one doesn't generalize from flashcards is what people mean when they say learning 'facts in isolation' is ineffective.  It does little good to memorize these facts in lieu of study that includes the higher order thinking skills.  I'll give you an example from scouts.  I had a kid memorize the parts of a canoe, could point them all out on a photo. When it came to the real deal, I said 'I'll sit in the stern, you take the bow", he was clueless as to where to go.  Had not used higher order thinking skills to determine which was which so that he could use one slightly different from the photo. Did not understand how a canoe floated. Had nothing in his knowledge base to give him a clue. Turned out he was using the paddle in the photo, it was near the stern so he thought all paddle=stern. Hadn't realized he was going to paddle also. Knowing matters. Using one's thinking skills matters.

Edited by HeighHo
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On January 14, 2019 at 5:09 PM, lewelma said:

My BIL (who is a doctor) uses a tablet to type everything with swipe and liberal use of word prediction.  He is crazy fast.  DS and I have discussed this as an option, but he was not very interested.  But that was a couple of years ago, I might have him try it again now that he is older. 

I think you're right there's the merging of the skill and the desire to use it. So like when OTs work with my ds on handwriting, to be successful they look for ways he'll actually WANT to write. So that's what you'd be looking for, reasons he'd want to use that tech. It does sound really great for him. 

Fwiw, I personally am not keen on typing/texting on my phone. I don't want repetitive motion injuries and I guess I'm just not social enough to give a rip. I usually go over to my big computer to text people where I can have an actual keyboard. You can use bluetooth and connect a keyboard to your tablet or phone, which is what my dd does with the ipad for sure. She pecks qwerty for texting, which is funny because then she's typing in dvorak on keyboards, go figure.

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On January 14, 2019 at 5:07 PM, lewelma said:

But for non-test conditions, we need to explore speech-to-text to increase speed even more.

if he can get limited distraction environment, he might be able to use TTS.

I just felt bad watching my dh take tests for his grad classes, because he so did not want to get evals or self-advocate. He struggled to get the essay exams done in time. 

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This post has been so helpful to me personally and I want to ask you to thank your son for me. Sharing his experience revieled some deep insights into the process I am going through with my son. He has a difficult time keeping the word in his head long enough to get it on paper. Reading your sons experience in forming the letters makes so much sence to me. I am sure my son is focusing so much on how to shape the letter's mechanical that it was not integrated into automaticity.

I need to read the whole thread but can I first ask if your son is able to draw numbers and diagrams correctly? How are his math skills can he "think with his hand on paper" See my son can not do that for math atleast he couldn't . I was so happy when he needed to remember something for a video game and he said " I need a paper I want to write this down so I can remember it" Also he didn't think through the whole math program and show his work no matter how messy. After we did alot of exercises involving fine motor , pens and the hands ( like 100 hours and atleast 10000 repetitions) he came back to getty and dubay and can write much more quickly accross the page. 

 

There is a limbic center in the brain but also the limbic system that controls walking etc but there are also limbic centers in the auditory area and the visual area. This is how we receive feedback so quickly in our brain for reactions to both auditory and visual ques.  Having him just write a page of just one letter would help so he could work on sweeping the arm accross the page. You could work on one letter a month for 3-5 times a week just quickly for like 10 minutes at the end of a lesson. This isolates the motion for one letter and over time will integrate the motor pattern most likely. 

 

But this is from another thread that I commented in detailing how we approached this challenge of letter formation slowing down the writing process For accomodation with the best understanding of mispronounciation I also like the ipad dictation with notes pluss. I also use myscript for handwriting practace as it can almost figure out the letter if it is even close. I will paste it here. 

When my son first started on this issue and I worked to remediate it I had to start with the visual tracking system as it related to motor control and if you search here on the board for Arrowsmith program or online I used this technique with my own son to strengthen the motor cortex for forming shapes and increasing automaticity. 

Arrowsmith is a school in Canada I learned about it in a book called "the woman who changed her brain" It has some interesting elements and I stole a bunch of ideas from their techniques. They call it  Motor Symbol Sequencing Program (MSS Program)

Here is an interesting article The relationship between handwriting, reading, fine motor and visual-motor skills in kindergarteners

I just developed my own symbol tracing techniques based on pictures I saw of arrowsmith and had my son trace and trace them to build his visual motor control. Then after Vision Therapy when we started Getty and Dubay he took off. I attribute that to cementing his visual motor complex. 

I have read a lot about it but do not know anyone who has moved and placed their child in the program. They now have the symbol program remotely through the toronto school but for our purposes, we spent a lot of time doing repetitive motor symbol tracing. Not as much as arrowsmith but as much as I could bribe my son to do. I also did a lot of clock work with analog clocks with my son but he seemed to take to them quickly so after a month I decided that wasn't where the glitch was and moved where he needed the help. As he got older I bought a digital tracing light up board and had him trace a lot of shapes and figures. i still wish I had time to do this as we did it all summer. Now with school I am hoping we cemented the handwriting enough that automaticity will take over. I just developed my own symbol tracing techniques based on pictures I saw of arrowsmith and had my son trace and trace them to build his visual motor control. Then after Vision Therapy when we started Getty and Dubay he took off. I attribute that to cementing his visual motor complex. 

I think with dysgraphia and with handwriting there is too much focus on the shapes of the letters.  With my son the glitch was way before that in tying the hand motion with the brain and so we had to back up and work on that for hours and hours. I did this the entire summer between 2nd and 3rd grade and then I did Getty and Dubay through  the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. Next summer I hope the handwriting is all cemented and we can just work on bravewriter. Its certainly been a long process. 

I am thinking that just getting a light up tracing board and having your son do some art work with it would help the other areas immensely. There was a stretch where we did not work on handwriting but worked on artwork and the connection of the brain with the hand doing mazes. dot to dot clear up to extreme dot to dot and tracing artwork. This is where we had the most breakthrough coming back to handwriting. 

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Last night I was working with my ds on a hand written (print not cursive) paper required to be in pen, so he couldn’t erase.  (He could have typed, but didn’t want to.) 

It was interesting to see where he is with that now, especially in light of your son’s description.  

Mine frequently stopped and made air marks as a question to me of which direction things (letter parts, parentheses, quotes) should go, or saying things like “I messed up the ____, now what do I do?”  So, another teaching moment was to guide him to neatly cross out a messed up word and go on with the correction, or go back into a word and “fix it” manually.  This is different than trying to achieve a perfect page coming out of computer printer.  

For example, he had started the word “rustle” with “rau” —since his letters aren’t all that legible anyway I told him to convert his into a  u, and his into and go on.  “Rustle” was written while quoting from an assigned poem so I figured that in context the teacher will be able to read it.  In other cases when it was his own word,  it had to be crossed out and rewritten for clarity.

But it seemed like without me there pushing him along and saying it doesn’t have to be perfect, he would have frozen into being unable to continue after a dysgraphia error.  Possibly would have crumpled the paper in frustration.  

Typed (or in math) which way to put parentheses  etc doesn’t throw him .  In context of writing )by hand( he apparently can’t tell , or at least not till he has done it and sees that it looks wrong.   Even when copying from a poem, or from his rough draft he was having trouble.  

 

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I worked with a girl with severe dyscalcula (could not subtract 9-2 at age 16) on chemistry.  She also had clinical OCD and other anxiety (plus lots of other problems poor thing). Anyway, she was taking a Chemistry exam where she had to write out equations by hand.  She would make errors over and over as she was trying to balance them as she couldn't subtract or add, so was using a calculator. It was really difficult for her.  The test was required to be in pen, so we were practicing how to cross out. But in the end it was taking her soooooo long because of being unable to erase and she couldn't even really read or track what she had written because it was crossed out so many times.  I finally called the Ministry of Education for advice, and they said that she could write in a erasable pen but this meant that should could not resubmit for a regrade if she thought the grader had made a mistake.  We decided that getting the test done was more important than the regrade possibility.  And this was a kid WITHOUT dysgraphia.  I can only imagine how hard it would be for a kid WITH dysgraphia to work in a pen.  My ds uses erasable pens. 

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Excellent!  I had been buying pens based on comfortable grip and ink flow qualities. I’ll see what we can find that is also erasable.  

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