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Unread 06-15-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
jbeer
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dysgraphia/problems with handwriting

My son is hh, moderately-severe to profound, sloping (we figure he has a cochlear deazone around 3000-4000hz), and so far he's doing really great in school, great with reading and language and motor skills etc. etc., but his handwriting is atrocious and illegible and he gets upset if you even ask him to write something.

Anyway, we think he might have dysgraphia (which basically means a handwriting disorder not caused by other cognitive or motor problems) and I was looking into this and I found an article saying it often occurs in children who've had recurrent ear infections, because ear infections can cause temporary high-frequency loss, and "higher frequencies appear to organize speech and the fine motor sequences of handwriting."

Has anyone heard of this connection before?

If anyone here has dysgraphia/handwriting/spelling issues, what are your thresholds like in the higher frequencies?
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Unread 06-15-2012, 01:14 PM   #2
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How old is he? What grade level? Is he having equal problems with printing and cursive writing? How are his keyboarding skills? What does his teacher say about this? Is he right or left hand dominant?
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Unread 06-15-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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He's five, so hasn't started cursive yet. His drawing/colouring are also pretty poor. He's right-handed. He's much better with a keyboard than he is with writing.

It also occurred to me, he knows ASL (went to an ASL preschool for 2 years) but is often unwilling to use it - if I sign to him, he'll respond with speech. His receptive ASL is waaay better than mine (I'm a beginner). I was just thinking about it, and both signing and writing are manual expressions of language... that he refuses to do.

His other fine motor skills are great though, like doing puzzles, eating sushi with chopsticks, etc.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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2 of my sons don't write in cursive, they print (ages 15 and 17)... the 15 yr old's writing is horrible...his typing is great...so are his all "A" grades...no ear infections at all.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
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Yea i had it and still have it. I have a fluctuating hearing loss with a ear infections and there's.nothing that can be done about it. I had it real bad in second grade tho. My cursive is terrible. But my handwriting is fine when I can hear.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 03:49 PM   #6
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rockin'robin - what are their thresholds like at high frequencies?

BoricuaChevere - that is really interesting that your handwriting improves when you can hear! Has anyone ever come up with an explanation for that?
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Unread 06-15-2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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My handwriting was atrocious until I was in high school when it suddenly got better. I got a compliment on my handwriting the other day which floored me because I grew up with such terrible handwriting. I have no idea what caused it to be so bad for so much longer than other kids. It looked like a five year old write things I was doing in middle school. My high frequency hearing is good. I have very steep reverse slope loss.

The thing that sounds concerning about his handwriting trouble is his fretting over it. If he has been being made fun of or unintentionally shamed by a teacher because of it, it could make him unwilling to practice or put any effort into it. I think it's worth a conversation with him about why he hates writing so much.

As for not using ASL with you, I think that's pretty standard for kids whose parents don't speak a language as well as they do. I grew up moving around a lot and heard the same thing about kids who learned other languages and then refused to speak them with their parents after they left that country. Apparently, I spoke French once upon a time and would just laugh at my parents when they tried to speak French with me. Maybe see if there are some fluent signers who would be willing to act as mentors to him. Or maybe there are other D/deaf/hoh kids in your area and you could form a play group.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeer View Post

It also occurred to me, he knows ASL (went to an ASL preschool for 2 years) but is often unwilling to use it - if I sign to him, he'll respond with speech. His receptive ASL is waaay better than mine (I'm a beginner). I was just thinking about it, and both signing and writing are manual expressions of language... that he refuses to do.
Is he exposed to other dhh kids, or is he pretty much the only dhh kid in a sea of hearing kids? Little kids who do well orally may think "Oh I don't "need" sign....nobody else signs so why should I? or they think b/c they can do well one on one in good listening conditions with easy language (b/c of course they're a little kid) they don't "need" Sign....you could encourage ASL by having him exposed to other dhh kids who Sign ...and have him turn off his hearing aids....and then sign to him.....you could have the attitude that it's a superpower, that he can turn off his hearing and have a very cool secret language!
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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:33 PM   #9
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As for the origonal topic, I have poor fine motor as well. Meaning it's hard for me to manually write. I was expending ALL my energy on manually writing, and not enough on content. You can put it in his IEP that he can keyboard instead of manually write. Exactly like you would with a kid with CP (cerebal palsy) who has difficulty with manually writing.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 11:23 PM   #10
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If your son is only 5 years old, he still has plenty of time to work on his writing abilities. He is quite young, and in the early stages... If you are really concerned (which it sounds like you are), you should request that the school district assess all areas of suspected disability (if they haven't already). They can provide him with the extra support and tools he needs to gain confidence in his legibility.

I would discourage him using a keyboard at this time (outside of playing educational games on the computer etc.) and rather encourage him
To write and praise his efforts. The idea is getting him motivated to practice and work on his skills.

As to him speaking his responses rather than sign them, that seems to be fairly common among children who have oral abilities. It's great that you're still signing with him though, because as you mentioned there is a huge difference between expressive and receptive language for a deaf child. You could try and encourage him to sign with you (so you can practice your skills!), and maybe set up times during the day where you guys only communicate through sign.

I would definitely pursue and address your concerns with the local school district though. What grade is he in?
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Unread 06-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #11
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After looking again at your signature, I realized you were in Canada. I think the process is a bit different there. I would pursue having him assessed (by someone who is qualified to assess), and see what they recommend. I did some more reading, and it seems that people who have dysgraphia can have other challenges like ADHD and Dyslexia. I think it would be helpful for you and your son to get him thoroughly assessed.

I do think the keyboard is a good alternative for when he gets older (or depending on how things play out, maybe certain times during the school
Day). I would just be concerned of not having the school work with him, to give him an opportunity to learn to write.

The other thing you might want to address with the school, is alternative testing for him. I'd be concerned about him not able to accurately reflect what he knows because of this. I don't know if that would mean he should keyboard his answers, or express them orally, or ???

Good luck with everything!
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Unread 06-16-2012, 04:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reba View Post
How old is he? What grade level? Is he having equal problems with printing and cursive writing? How are his keyboarding skills? What does his teacher say about this? Is he right or left hand dominant?
All good questions, Reba. One thing we don't want to do is shortchange this kid. He's young, and encouragement goes a long way at this age. As time goes on, you can also reassess him to see what his weaknesses are, and, if he's still struggling, then you can get him a keyboard. But, right now, it may be best to just wait and assess.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 11:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeer View Post
My son is hh, moderately-severe to profound, sloping (we figure he has a cochlear deazone around 3000-4000hz), and so far he's doing really great in school, great with reading and language and motor skills etc. etc., but his handwriting is atrocious and illegible and he gets upset if you even ask him to write something.

Anyway, we think he might have dysgraphia (which basically means a handwriting disorder not caused by other cognitive or motor problems) and I was looking into this and I found an article saying it often occurs in children who've had recurrent ear infections, because ear infections can cause temporary high-frequency loss, and "higher frequencies appear to organize speech and the fine motor sequences of handwriting."

Has anyone heard of this connection before?

If anyone here has dysgraphia/handwriting/spelling issues, what are your thresholds like in the higher frequencies?
I think I might have dysgraphia . My dad use to say my writing looked like a fly fell into an inkwell and walked across the paper! And I leave words out of my sentences a lot.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 11:56 PM   #14
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I do have dysgraphia, but I don't think you can diagnose that in a 5 year old who doesn't really write yet.

It takes everyone time to learn.
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Unread 06-17-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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As to him speaking his responses rather than sign them, that seems to be fairly common among children who have oral abilities. It's great that you're still signing with him though, because as you mentioned there is a huge difference between expressive and receptive language for a deaf child. You could try and encourage him to sign with you (so you can practice your skills!), and maybe set up times during the day where you guys only communicate through sign.
Good suggestions. But yes also continue the Sign. I think this generation of kids is going to see kids who don't have a lot of extreme spoken language delays. Meaning the delays will still be there, but it's not like in the 60's and 70's. That said, just b/c spoken language delays won't be common, that does NOT mean that they won't crop up later on. It's very common for kids to do OK in the early grades, and then start struggling. Clarke School (and the other oral schools) used to see a lot of kids transfer to Clarke around 4th grade from the mainstream. If he struggles then he can switch to using ASL so he can develop REALLY sophisicated language skills......Make sense?
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Unread 06-17-2012, 08:51 PM   #16
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I think I might have dysgraphia . My dad use to say my writing looked like a fly fell into an inkwell and walked across the paper! And I leave words out of my sentences a lot.
I thought dysgraphia was an expressive writing disorder.
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Unread 06-17-2012, 10:18 PM   #17
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He's five, so hasn't started cursive yet. His drawing/colouring are also pretty poor. He's right-handed. He's much better with a keyboard than he is with writing.

It also occurred to me, he knows ASL (went to an ASL preschool for 2 years) but is often unwilling to use it - if I sign to him, he'll respond with speech. His receptive ASL is waaay better than mine (I'm a beginner). I was just thinking about it, and both signing and writing are manual expressions of language... that he refuses to do.

His other fine motor skills are great though, like doing puzzles, eating sushi with chopsticks, etc.
Cursive is not be taught in schools in my state anymore. My grandchild will not learn it unless her parents teach her .
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Unread 06-17-2012, 11:16 PM   #18
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Cursive is not be taught in schools in my state anymore. My grandchild will not learn it unless her parents teach her .
Which state?
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Unread 06-18-2012, 12:08 AM   #19
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I thought dysgraphia was an expressive writing disorder.
No, it can involve only motor skills, or can be problems in sequence and order of writing.
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Unread 06-18-2012, 09:27 AM   #20
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i not heard of dysgraphia my son got dysphagia dyslexic,i was called up to the school so many times about his writing it was so awful and immature script.he had to have special pen write on yellow paper even his math teacher said he would fail everything because such dreadful writing,he even had brain scan because so worried...
all i can say my son now a dr and consultent at that...his writing still appauling but it ledgable now he had ear problems as child and he been recommended a gromit and he 30 so sound like my son got this..i talk to him tonight he be intrested.i have dyslexia my writing is appauling also spelling not much better so take heart
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Unread 06-18-2012, 08:50 PM   #21
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My son has a profound unilateral loss as well as dysgraphia. I'm interested in reading the research you've found. I'm happy to answer any questions about our experiences so far, but so far we haven't found much success overcoming it.
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Unread 06-18-2012, 10:06 PM   #22
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My son has a profound unilateral loss as well as dysgraphia. I'm interested in reading the research you've found. I'm happy to answer any questions about our experiences so far, but so far we haven't found much success overcoming it.
ReedsandOwensmommy, does Reed have hypotonia and poor fine motor ? i know that's very common with Asperger's. The key with that is developing keyboarding skills. MUCH MUCH easier!
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Unread 06-18-2012, 10:11 PM   #23
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Cursive is not be taught in schools in my state anymore. My grandchild will not learn it unless her parents teach her .
GOOd..............it's USELESS!
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Unread 06-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #24
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Warning super-long post ahead!

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As for not using ASL with you, I think that's pretty standard for kids whose parents don't speak a language as well as they do. I grew up moving around a lot and heard the same thing about kids who learned other languages and then refused to speak them with their parents after they left that country. Apparently, I spoke French once upon a time and would just laugh at my parents when they tried to speak French with me. Maybe see if there are some fluent signers who would be willing to act as mentors to him. Or maybe there are other D/deaf/hoh kids in your area and you could form a play group.
Right now he is in a morning class with 4 other hh kids, and they use ASL in class (his teacher is hearing, but did her masters at Gallaudet). He doesn't sign there either! Just about the only signs he will use are "please" and "sorry." But I am constantly amazed at his receptive ASL vocabulary.

I'm taking another ASL course at the end of July. I sign with him in the morning before he puts his aids in, I'm hoping when I know more sign he'll be more into that.

Quote:
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After looking again at your signature, I realized you were in Canada. I think the process is a bit different there. I would pursue having him assessed (by someone who is qualified to assess), and see what they recommend. I did some more reading, and it seems that people who have dysgraphia can have other challenges like ADHD and Dyslexia. I think it would be helpful for you and your son to get him thoroughly assessed.
Yep, different system... the school has not assessed anything, his hearing was identified when he was a newborn (well before school started!!) I have a recommendation for an OT that I was thinking about consulting about some sensory issues, going to try to get an assessment this summer. Also there is a school here that helps with various neuro issues (including a Saturday morning course for dysgraphia), I'm going to attend their info session next week to see whether or not that would be appropriate/helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReednOwensmommy View Post
My son has a profound unilateral loss as well as dysgraphia. I'm interested in reading the research you've found. I'm happy to answer any questions about our experiences so far, but so far we haven't found much success overcoming it.
This is the first paper I found that mentioned it: http://www.visualspatial.org/files/poorhand.pdf I'm not entirely convinced that they know what they are talking about, but considering my son gets no high-frequency input it really jumped out at me. There's also a book called "Disconnected Kids" that I'm waiting to get from the library.

Everything is changing so quickly, I sometimes wonder if we know what we're doing with our kids... in the "old days" hh people didn't really get hearing technology until school age for the most part I think, now they get aided at 4 months and everyone says "Great!" but I wonder if because he expends so much mental energy on oral/aural expression of language - and has done since infancy - if that's taken energy away from developing his manual expression of language (both written and sign).
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Unread 06-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #25
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ReedsandOwensmommy, does Reed have hypotonia and poor fine motor ? i know that's very common with Asperger's. The key with that is developing keyboarding skills. MUCH MUCH easier!
Reed keyboards great, and seems to do fine with other fine motor (buttons, Legos, etc), but handwriting continues to be a challenge. He's uncoordinated in general, but getting better as he gets older. His handwriting still resembles an average kindergartener, though, and he'll be in 7th grade in the fall.
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Unread 06-19-2012, 02:35 PM   #26
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Everything is changing so quickly, I sometimes wonder if we know what we're doing with our kids... in the "old days" hh people didn't really get hearing technology until school age for the most part I think, now they get aided at 4 months and everyone says "Great!" but I wonder if because he expends so much mental energy on oral/aural expression of language - and has done since infancy - if that's taken energy away from developing his manual expression of language (both written and sign).
Thanks for the link, I'll definitely look into that. I completely agree with your other points. It's so hard having HoH kids sometimes. They don't fit into the "boxes" everyone wants to put them in.
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Unread 06-19-2012, 10:55 PM   #27
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Warning super-long post ahead!



Right now he is in a morning class with 4 other hh kids, and they use ASL in class (his teacher is hearing, but did her masters at Gallaudet). He doesn't sign there either! Just about the only signs he will use are "please" and "sorry." But I am constantly amazed at his receptive ASL vocabulary.

I'm taking another ASL course at the end of July. I sign with him in the morning before he puts his aids in, I'm hoping when I know more sign he'll be more into that.



Yep, different system... the school has not assessed anything, his hearing was identified when he was a newborn (well before school started!!) I have a recommendation for an OT that I was thinking about consulting about some sensory issues, going to try to get an assessment this summer. Also there is a school here that helps with various neuro issues (including a Saturday morning course for dysgraphia), I'm going to attend their info session next week to see whether or not that would be appropriate/helpful.



This is the first paper I found that mentioned it: http://www.visualspatial.org/files/poorhand.pdf I'm not entirely convinced that they know what they are talking about, but considering my son gets no high-frequency input it really jumped out at me. There's also a book called "Disconnected Kids" that I'm waiting to get from the library.

Everything is changing so quickly, I sometimes wonder if we know what we're doing with our kids... in the "old days" hh people didn't really get hearing technology until school age for the most part I think, now they get aided at 4 months and everyone says "Great!" but I wonder if because he expends so much mental energy on oral/aural expression of language - and has done since infancy - if that's taken energy away from developing his manual expression of language (both written and sign).
excellent....I am very impressed. And i do think as things get harder, he'll sign more......and I think actually you're dead on with your observation that he's expanding a lot of energy on oral/aural bit of language......you could make it a game. I clearly remember being that age and thinking " Oh i don't "need' ASL b/c i can talk.
I didn't understand that ASL could be used when my hearing aid was broken or in difficult listening situtions.
Maybe go the superhero route.....say "hey you have a superpower...you can turn off your hearing and we have this very cool secret language we can usetogehter!"
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Unread 06-20-2012, 02:03 PM   #28
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Reed keyboards great, and seems to do fine with other fine motor (buttons, Legos, etc), but handwriting continues to be a challenge. He's uncoordinated in general, but getting better as he gets older. His handwriting still resembles an average kindergartener, though, and he'll be in 7th grade in the fall.
That's my kid to a tee... he can eat sushi with chopsticks and do grownup jigsaw puzzles and pick up a bug with tweezers, but his handwriting is off the charts. I think i would be less worried if his other fine motor was poor!!

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excellent....I am very impressed. And i do think as things get harder, he'll sign more......and I think actually you're dead on with your observation that he's expanding a lot of energy on oral/aural bit of language......you could make it a game. I clearly remember being that age and thinking " Oh i don't "need' ASL b/c i can talk.
I didn't understand that ASL could be used when my hearing aid was broken or in difficult listening situtions.
Maybe go the superhero route.....say "hey you have a superpower...you can turn off your hearing and we have this very cool secret language we can usetogehter!"
We watched "Spy Kids 4" a while ago, which I wouldn't exactly call an accurate portrayal of anything, but I liked that they didn't harp on about the kid's deafness, but that both the hearing aids and ASL were part of his special spy skills.

He's going to spend the summer at his old preschool, where all the teachers use ASL, 1 is Deaf, 2 are hard of hearing, and 1 is hearing, and the kids are a mix of hearing, hard of hearing, CODA, and Deaf. He was there from age 2 to 4 1/2, went back for March break, and is super-excited about going back for the summer. I was thinking about it last night, and wondering if maybe we should skip school next year and keep him in the preschool an extra year. Maybe he'd have a better time working on his handwriting if he wasn't tired from listening all day.
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Unread 06-20-2012, 09:13 PM   #29
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We watched "Spy Kids 4" a while ago, which I wouldn't exactly call an accurate portrayal of anything, but I liked that they didn't harp on about the kid's deafness, but that both the hearing aids and ASL were part of his special spy skills.

He's going to spend the summer at his old preschool, where all the teachers use ASL, 1 is Deaf, 2 are hard of hearing, and 1 is hearing, and the kids are a mix of hearing, hard of hearing, CODA, and Deaf. He was there from age 2 to 4 1/2, went back for March break, and is super-excited about going back for the summer. I was thinking about it last night, and wondering if maybe we should skip school next year and keep him in the preschool an extra year. Maybe he'd have a better time working on his handwriting if he wasn't tired from listening all day.
that sounds like an awesome idea!!! one of the upsides about having an audilogically Hoh kid, is that you don't need to worry all that much about spoken language development or exposure to the hearing world. (and before I get attacked, spoken language issues and exposure to the hearing world is something that parents of deaf kids often worry about) But, at the same time, it's very important for hoh kids to have exposure to ASL and Deaf culture, and see being hoh as just something they are/ something positive.
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Unread 06-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #30
Lau2046
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeer View Post
My son is hh, moderately-severe to profound, sloping (we figure he has a cochlear deazone around 3000-4000hz), and so far he's doing really great in school, great with reading and language and motor skills etc. etc., but his handwriting is atrocious and illegible and he gets upset if you even ask him to write something.

Anyway, we think he might have dysgraphia (which basically means a handwriting disorder not caused by other cognitive or motor problems) and I was looking into this and I found an article saying it often occurs in children who've had recurrent ear infections, because ear infections can cause temporary high-frequency loss, and "higher frequencies appear to organize speech and the fine motor sequences of handwriting."

Has anyone heard of this connection before?

If anyone here has dysgraphia/handwriting/spelling issues, what are your thresholds like in the higher frequencies?

Lost my hearing due to Rubella; I've struggled with dyscalculia (math learning disability). Like many people with learning disabilities, it touches on other areas: reading music, spelling, learning foreign languages, science, and handwriting - although folks usually have one major disorder - for me math. I hit all the marks with the above and I too can't hand write - or I can if you have an hour to wait. He'll be fine using the keyboard on the computer. I wouldn't worry about it.
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