dysgraphia/problems with handwriting

Discussion in 'Sign Language & Deaf Education' started by jbeer, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. jbeer

    jbeer New Member

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    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?
     
  2. Reba

    Reba Retired Terp Premium Member

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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?
     
  3. jbeer

    jbeer New Member

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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.
     
  4. rockin'robin

    rockin'robin Well-Known Member

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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. :hmm:
     
  5. BoricuaChevere

    BoricuaChevere New Member

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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.
     
  6. jbeer

    jbeer New Member

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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?
     
  7. WillKnit

    WillKnit New Member

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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.
     
  8. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    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!
     
  9. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  10. CSign

    CSign New Member

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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?
     
  11. CSign

    CSign New Member

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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!
     
  12. Oceanbreeze

    Oceanbreeze New Member

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    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.
     
  13. whatdidyousay!

    whatdidyousay! Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  14. Bottesini

    Bottesini Old Deaf Ranter Premium Member

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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.
     
  15. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  16. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    I thought dysgraphia was an expressive writing disorder.
     
  17. whatdidyousay!

    whatdidyousay! Well-Known Member

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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 .
     
  18. Reba

    Reba Retired Terp Premium Member

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    Which state?
     
  19. Bottesini

    Bottesini Old Deaf Ranter Premium Member

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    No, it can involve only motor skills, or can be problems in sequence and order of writing.
     
  20. caz12

    caz12 New Member

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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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