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Can we talk dysgraphia for a minute?

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

Yeah, I see absolutely no point in copywork that is beyond the ability of the child to read.  I was assuming that stuff was stuff she could read?  

I was more using it for handwriting practice than reading practice... poorly thought through perhaps. 

 

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On 9/6/2019 at 12:48 PM, kbutton said:

I think it sounds like a reasonable amount of work, but I would be leery of not correcting letter formation. I didn't get picky about neatness, spacing, placement on a line, size, etc. with my kids, but I was super picky about making sure they always form their letters the same way each time. I really didn't even care if it looked like the right letter if they followed the right motor pattern. Otherwise, they were basically practicing the wrong motor pattern to have to undo it later. 

I would require less writing if I felt like I had to compromise on letter formation. 

 

This. My son is basically ONLY writing during handwriting time. Otherwise he's practicing doing it wrong. 

On 9/7/2019 at 10:00 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is exactly my dd. I tried cursive first with both this dd and ds and she just couldn't do it. If she managed to copy some it was the equivalent of if I had had her copy Chinese symbols for all they meant. They weren't reinforcing the phonics, which I thought was part of the point with the Abeka program, so that's why I switched her to HWoT. Whereas cursive worked beautifully for ds to cure reversals (although he is not a fan and would rather print.). I think like you mention, maybe it's a visual memory thing with this dd. It's just not there right now. She can do print copywork all day long, and will do it for fun, but she can't read it. So I hope it's like @Lecka says and once we start Barton, and progress with the program maybe it will click more. But I am following this all with interest. 

Ha! This is me. I STILL don't know all the cursive letters, and while teaching my DD have to look up how to make them on youtube! I'm nearly positive I have dysgraphia, and all they did for me in school back then was have me sit in the back of the room and copy pages out of the dictionary. I was an adult when i found out that handwriting shouldn't HURT! I thought it hurt everyone. Even now, I get pain in my hand just from say filling out a form at the doctor's office. I type everything. 

On 9/8/2019 at 2:41 AM, prairiewindmomma said:

I just wanted to share our experience on this.  Ds did many years of OT, including two years of penmanship lessons with a retired teacher (in his 80s) who specialized in dysgraphia remediation. He had an Ed in learning disabilities and was paired with an OT who did gross motor work.  Ds is able to do perfect penmanship after all of this work but has never been able to reach a speed which is functional. When he writes for himself (making grocery lists, etc.) he still uses chicken scratch capital letters. 

Also, true dysgraphia is more than just handwriting. It is considered a SLD in the new DSM.  The vast majority of dysgraphics also have difficulties with other aspects of writing. 

Give remediation a good effort, but if it stalls out, know that life moves on and that there are many, many bright students who chicken scratch. Among my friends, I count about 15 lawyers, 8-9 doctors, and several engineers. You likely will, at some point, however, want to keep up the paper trail for standardized testing purposes. Handwriting an essay when you write at 1/10 of the speed of your peers isn't a level playing field.

 

OP--as to the amount of writing---that sounds about right. Don't let the school day get hung up on her ability to create written output.  Once she types well, things will be easier.

I find that dysgraphic kids/adults also drop words, etc, not just form the letters badly. And yes to whomever said the letters are not automatic. I can write the letter A three times and it will look different each time. And I drop letters in words often, despite being able to spell them properly when I type. 

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48 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

 

I find that dysgraphic kids/adults also drop words, etc, not just form the letters badly. And yes to whomever said the letters are not automatic. I can write the letter A three times and it will look different each time. And I drop letters in words often, despite being able to spell them properly when I type. 

Katie—is it better with your ADD meds going? It’s a correlation I have noticed with another son...

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15 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Katie—is it better with your ADD meds going? It’s a correlation I have noticed with another son...

Hmm...I still drop letters, but it's consistently the same ones I always drop...havent' done much writing by hand to notice recently other than that. So for instance, I almost always handwrite the word "the" without the "h". 

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I'm still not sure I understand the fine motor part of dysgraphia. The College Board is insistent that you have to show a fine motor issue for computer accommodations. I think my DD15 was given some sensorimotor test that included finger tapping and imitating hand positions (I'd have to check the report to refresh my memory), but the scores weren't awful. In any case, the test was scored in large percentile blocks rather than specific percentiles. She had just a couple of scores that seemed somewhat low, I think, but mostly not that bad. She can draw pretty well, and enjoys it, and she learned cursive in second and third grade and it looked ok, and she has had classical guitar lessons since she was age 3, so lots of fine motor coordination there, but she still cannot write (compose) by hand.  So, when I think about it, it seems the issue really is with the language processing and not the fine motor. In other words, when language is not involved you wouldn't really notice her as having a fine motor issue.

I find the College Board requirements very frustrating. They repeatedly state that poor handwriting is not a justification for computer accommodations, as if poor handwriting is just the same words written poorly. But my experience has been that using the computer has a huge impact on content. She can't write the same kind of sentences, with the same vocabulary and phrasing by hand that she can write on the computer (and this is not using any kind of speech predictor or grammar program,  just typing in a standard word processor). It's almost like she is a beginning foreign language student trying to compose sentences when she is writing by hand. There is no automaticity. 

It's all very frustrating.

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3 hours ago, hepatica said:

The College Board is insistent that you have to show a fine motor issue for computer accommodations. I think my DD15 was given some sensorimotor test that included finger tapping and imitating hand positions (I'd have to check the report to refresh my memory), but the scores weren't awful.

Was this neuropsych testing? I can tell you the ps doesn't bother with all that when they do their evals. Can you get a 504/IEP through the ps? Isn't the CB now saying they'll take that?

You're wanting computer for the bubbling or for the writing test? If it's only tests with writing, can you go another way around, like doing CLEP or a cc class?

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6 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Was this neuropsych testing? I can tell you the ps doesn't bother with all that when they do their evals. Can you get a 504/IEP through the ps? Isn't the CB now saying they'll take that?

You're wanting computer for the bubbling or for the writing test? If it's only tests with writing, can you go another way around, like doing CLEP or a cc class?

Yes, private neuropsych testing when she was in middle school and we were still homeschooling. I essentially brought the high school all the necessary information before she started so she could get  a 504 plan right from the get go. The downside of that is that the school system does not have a record of failure to document. She has done pretty well with the accommodations, although definitely below what you would expect given the IQ testing. 

The CB apparently sees the computer accommodation as an exception to their 2017 policy, so they feel free to demand additional documentation. She is a 2E kid and is interested in taking a couple AP courses but there is no way she could take the AP exam without the computer. I think it is a shame that the CB gets to set the curriculum for the High School, but that is what they offer for their higher level courses. She can only manage one or two higher level courses at a time, but the classroom dynamic is really different in the lower level classes. It's a weird predicament. 

Not sure what the CB obsession with fine motor skills is. I think they would like to reserve the computer accommodation for kids with disorders such as cerebral palsy, and just don't understand dyslexia at all. 

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3 hours ago, hepatica said:

I'm still not sure I understand the fine motor part of dysgraphia. The College Board is insistent that you have to show a fine motor issue for computer accommodations. I think my DD15 was given some sensorimotor test that included finger tapping and imitating hand positions (I'd have to check the report to refresh my memory), but the scores weren't awful. In any case, the test was scored in large percentile blocks rather than specific percentiles. She had just a couple of scores that seemed somewhat low, I think, but mostly not that bad. She can draw pretty well, and enjoys it, and she learned cursive in second and third grade and it looked ok, and she has had classical guitar lessons since she was age 3, so lots of fine motor coordination there, but she still cannot write (compose) by hand.  So, when I think about it, it seems the issue really is with the language processing and not the fine motor. In other words, when language is not involved you wouldn't really notice her as having a fine motor issue.

I find the College Board requirements very frustrating. They repeatedly state that poor handwriting is not a justification for computer accommodations, as if poor handwriting is just the same words written poorly. But my experience has been that using the computer has a huge impact on content. She can't write the same kind of sentences, with the same vocabulary and phrasing by hand that she can write on the computer (and this is not using any kind of speech predictor or grammar program,  just typing in a standard word processor). It's almost like she is a beginning foreign language student trying to compose sentences when she is writing by hand. There is no automaticity. 

It's all very frustrating.

 I thought that finger tapping test (NEPSY maybe) was used to identify NVLD.  I don’t know whether NVLD is or was ever recognized by the DSM.  

As I understand things, there are two types of SLDs for handwriting: the DCD SLD and the SLD of written expression. On the WISC IV IQ test, a subtest on the processing speed portion can help identify the SLD of written expression.  It seems like a good NP should be able to parse the NP testing results ( looking at something like retrieval scores and writing fluency) to make an effective argument for the keyboarding accommodation, especially if you can demonstrate that all class work is typed.  Testing that is less than 3 years old and taking outside classes with the keyboard accommodation would be a plus.  

 

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12 minutes ago, hepatica said:

The CB apparently sees the computer accommodation as an exception to their 2017 policy, so they feel free to demand additional documentation. She is a 2E kid and is interested in taking a couple AP courses but there is no way she could take the AP exam without the computer. I think it is a shame that the CB gets to set the curriculum for the High School, but that is what they offer for their higher level courses. She can only manage one or two higher level courses at a time, but the classroom dynamic is really different in the lower level classes. It's a weird predicament. 

So the problem for a student like that is that EVERYTHING is riding on that one test and nothing going wrong. She would be safer to DE and get guaranteed credit.

What classes is she looking to AP? She could also take the class but do a CLEP exam. Nuts, my dd passed a CLEP just based on what we had done. Got her the test prep book, she read it, boom. 

How will she do with the amount of writing and frantic pace of the AP classes? Can she pull out and do more DE? More and more states are funding DE for ps kids, which is sort of stripping the AP classes. At least that's how it rolls around here. Anyone with a car wants the guaranteed credit and goes DE.

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5 minutes ago, Heathermomster said:

 I thought that finger tapping test (NEPSY maybe) was used to identify NVLD.  I don’t know whether NVLD is or was ever recognized by the DSM.  

As I understand things, there are two types of SLDs for handwriting: the DCD SLD and the SLD of written expression. On the WISC IV IQ test, a subtest on the processing speed portion can help identify the SLD of written expression.  It seems like a good NP should be able to parse the NP testing results ( looking at something like retrieval scores and writing fluency) to make an effective argument for the keyboarding accommodation, especially if you can demonstrate that all class work is typed.  Testing that is less than 3 years old and taking outside classes with the keyboard accommodation would be a plus.  

 

Yeah, I really don't have a good handle on which of the tests are testing what when it comes to the fine motor issue. Her testing is three years old, so she would be due for more, and the High School is supposed to do her triennial evaluation this fall (although this will be the first evaluation for her actually done by the school). I don't know what they typically do. Seems the college board is completely uninterested in processing speed issues. They consistently say that is not enough to justify accommodation. It's baffling. They truly do not seem to know what they are talking about.

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I might look into DE, but right now she is trying to integrate into the high school experience since she has been homeschooled all her life. Not sure how the pace of the AP courses will work for her. She is definitely interested in AP English, but part of why she likes English is that she actually likes to write and she is a good essay writer, she just literally can't handwrite. She is currently in the AP Seminar course which they offer for sophomores, but that course is not a content course but rather a research and analysis and presentation skills course. She is a very interesting thinker and really likes the format of the AP Sem course. She got to substitute it for world civ and civics, which at the freshman and sophomore level is essentially all note-taking, which is a nightmare for her. She does much better when she has essays and analysis as her assessment. But, right now, she will just take the course and not the AP exam because there is no way she can take it without the computer. She uses the computer for all her classes.

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31 minutes ago, hepatica said:

She uses the computer for all her classes.

This is something you'll want to check with her prospective colleges too. You would think it would not be an issue, but dd has had classes where profs are really rude about it. Like they'll say no computers unless you have a disability and clear it with the prof, blah blah, which is totally outing the person. And this is at a school that, otherwise, has been really smooth with disability services. So you just never know where stupidity will creep up. It's definitely a longterm fight. And as she moves into DE and college work, remember there the fight is HERS. If she doesn't stand up and say she wants the accommodations, they won't happen. So you're wise to teach her to take over and self-advocate too.

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I have to sometimes stop and wonder at the absurdity of the hours and hours I spend trying to get computer accommodations for my kid when in a decade or so we will probably all be using the computer for everything at it won't even be an issue. All the kids at her high school are already issued chromebooks for the entire four years. 

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5 hours ago, hepatica said:

I have to sometimes stop and wonder at the absurdity of the hours and hours I spend trying to get computer accommodations for my kid when in a decade or so we will probably all be using the computer for everything at it won't even be an issue. All the kids at her high school are already issued chromebooks for the entire four years. 

I know!  NZ has put half of the national exams all on line, but the 4 my son will take have not yet be computerized (math, physics, chem, geography). So I will have to fight to get him a computer (these are all essay tests, except math) when if he were just 2 years younger, it would be a non-issue. 

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10 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I know!  NZ has put half of the national exams all on line, but the 4 my son will take have not yet be computerized (math, physics, chem, geography). So I will have to fight to get him a computer (these are all essay tests, except math) when if he were just 2 years younger, it would be a non-issue. 

Insane, especially since they are already in the process of putting them online?? I think the stupid admissions scandals here have really hardened the resolve of testing agencies to deny everything they can. I have repeatedly asked my Senator to initiate some oversight of the College Board monopoly. I have even filed a DOJ discrimination complaint, but it takes a long time and lots of complaints to get anything done, and frankly this issue just can't break through the crazy here these days. 

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11 hours ago, hepatica said:

I'm still not sure I understand the fine motor part of dysgraphia. The College Board is insistent that you have to show a fine motor issue for computer accommodations. I think my DD15 was given some sensorimotor test that included finger tapping and imitating hand positions (I'd have to check the report to refresh my memory), but the scores weren't awful. In any case, the test was scored in large percentile blocks rather than specific percentiles. She had just a couple of scores that seemed somewhat low, I think, but mostly not that bad. She can draw pretty well, and enjoys it, and she learned cursive in second and third grade and it looked ok, and she has had classical guitar lessons since she was age 3, so lots of fine motor coordination there, but she still cannot write (compose) by hand.  So, when I think about it, it seems the issue really is with the language processing and not the fine motor. In other words, when language is not involved you wouldn't really notice her as having a fine motor issue.

I find the College Board requirements very frustrating. They repeatedly state that poor handwriting is not a justification for computer accommodations, as if poor handwriting is just the same words written poorly. But my experience has been that using the computer has a huge impact on content. She can't write the same kind of sentences, with the same vocabulary and phrasing by hand that she can write on the computer (and this is not using any kind of speech predictor or grammar program,  just typing in a standard word processor). It's almost like she is a beginning foreign language student trying to compose sentences when she is writing by hand. There is no automaticity. 

It's all very frustrating.

Ugh. So frustrating. I can tell you right now that if I had to handwrite instead of type I wouldn't have a single paper to my name, let alone 6 novels finished! No way in hades. None. I'd rather jump from a plane naked with no parachute than handwrite anything longer than a sentence. 

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Yeah, I'm really concerned about Cat's experience with classes in high school.  She needs the high level classes, because any classes that are NOT high level are jokes academically and are pits of horrific behavior.  But from junior year on, anyone in the upper track is expected to take a minimum of four AP classes a year.  There simply are not any non-AP classes for kids who care about learning.  And she's almost certain to bomb the tests.  (And definitely without a computer....sheesh.  Her spelling level is approximately second to third grade.)  Because of the way classes are scheduled, DE isn't really possible at the high school.  I'm going to have to just make peace with her taking the AP class for the high level learning and expect her to fail the tests, because I don't see any other options.  

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

the upper track is expected to take a minimum of four AP classes a year

I need a jaw drop icon.

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I need a jaw drop icon.

Yeah.  There's no way she's going to be able to take AP math.  I'm kinda skeptical how it's going to fly, in general.  But that seems to be the deal around here.  It's AP classes or fist fights and drug use IN THE CLASSROOM.  

Anna's taking her first AP class as a sophomore, and that's considered late.  

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9 hours ago, Terabith said:

Yeah, I'm really concerned about Cat's experience with classes in high school.  She needs the high level classes, because any classes that are NOT high level are jokes academically and are pits of horrific behavior.  But from junior year on, anyone in the upper track is expected to take a minimum of four AP classes a year.  There simply are not any non-AP classes for kids who care about learning.  And she's almost certain to bomb the tests.  (And definitely without a computer....sheesh.  Her spelling level is approximately second to third grade.)  Because of the way classes are scheduled, DE isn't really possible at the high school.  I'm going to have to just make peace with her taking the AP class for the high level learning and expect her to fail the tests, because I don't see any other options.  

It's not quite that bad in our school system, but frankly I was pretty appalled at the behavior in DD15's non honors level classes last year. She was recommended for honors after placement testing as a freshman (which was really just vocabulary testing??) but we decided to put her in non honors just to ease the transition to school since she had been homeschooled her entire life. That was definitely a mistake. The student attitude was very different in the two levels, and the constant behavior problems were a real shock to us. And, it was frustrating to DD because it was mostly the boys, and she found the teachers to be quite biased in their "boys will be boys" attitude, and actually much stricter with the girls for occasional small transgressions that were completely overlooked for boys. But that may be a whole other issue about what is not working for boys in schools these days...

But, we also have the same problem of honors classes migrating to AP at the upper level. By junior and senior year I think the only non AP honors courses remaining are math and chemistry and some language. So if you don't want to be in the "everyone else" level then you must take AP English, AP science, and AP history. We are on our third appeal to get DD's 504 plan computer accommodations accepted by the College Board, but if they are are not then she will also just be taking the class and not taking the exam.

And most teachers really don't get the dyslexic/dysgraphic thing. They like her in class. She is engaged and intelligent in her contributions, so when they see her handwritten work they think she must just be lazy and not living up to her potential. I hate that the College Board is dictating school curriculum. It puts these 2E kids in a real bind because they have a such a stranglehold on what is being taught. 

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I would question the school about the impact of the AP test on their classroom grades, and how dysgraphia is handled in class vs on the AP test.

So when I was in HS I didn't take AP but rather IB.  You don't get IB scores until after you graduate high school, so while they matter, they're not relevant for either college applications or classroom grades.  Is it the same with AP?  Are they even required to take the formal AP test if they take the AP Lit class, for example?  Maybe you could discuss with the school the possibility of being accommodated within the school for dysgraphia (that is, she can use the computer to type notes and in-class tests and essays and etc.) and just dealing with a potential low score on the actual AP test or even being allowed to take the class without taking the AP test, since AP won't accommodate in a similar way to the school.

I just don't see why the school can get away with not allowing accommodations for dysgraphia, even though AP/College Board can.  The classes aren't being administered or taught by The College Board, right?  The College Board isn't assigning grades to classroom work for these classes.

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They are not required to take the AP exam and it doesn't impact the course grade. They won't even get exam scores till summer. So that will likely be our plan - just take the course and not the exam, at least as long as the CB is still denying accommodation. My DD does have all her accommodations for the class itself, so she should be fine in the course. 

Interestingly, the High School uses the school day SAT for their junior year state testing now (although they do not administer the essay section I think), but I spoke with a lawyer from the CT dept of Education and he told me that they required the College Board to recognize all the school accommodations for the test and to still provide reportable scores before they agreed to adopt the SAT as their state test. 

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