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Old 03-11-2012, 04:48 PM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is online now
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Severe letter reversal problem (in 2nd grade)

I have a student in my class who is left-handed (not sure if that makes a difference). He has many problems with letter reversals, but is incredibly inconsistent. He usually begins a writing piece (a story, a spelling test) writing all of the letters correctly. However, he usually writes everything backwards by the end. The letters of the words will be in the correct order, but every letter will be backwards. He even writes the letters in his name backwards at times.

I tried to look for a pattern in the letters that he writes backwards, but it is literally every letter that can be written backwards he will write incorrectly.

I tried to consult with my school's occupational therapist, but she said that she can only provide me with resources, since the student is not in special education. She provided me with lists of things to try, but many of the resources suggest help with b, d, p, q mix-ups. However, this boy has issues beyond just those four commonly mixed-up letters. From my quick research, it seems that he may have poor muscle memory.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? His mom and I are completely stumped, and would really like to get this under control before he moves on to 3rd grade.
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2012, 04:10 AM
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teacherman1 teacherman1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingPigeon View Post
I have a student in my class who is left-handed (not sure if that makes a difference). He has many problems with letter reversals, but is incredibly inconsistent. He usually begins a writing piece (a story, a spelling test) writing all of the letters correctly. However, he usually writes everything backwards by the end. The letters of the words will be in the correct order, but every letter will be backwards. He even writes the letters in his name backwards at times.

I tried to look for a pattern in the letters that he writes backwards, but it is literally every letter that can be written backwards he will write incorrectly.

I tried to consult with my school's occupational therapist, but she said that she can only provide me with resources, since the student is not in special education. She provided me with lists of things to try, but many of the resources suggest help with b, d, p, q mix-ups. However, this boy has issues beyond just those four commonly mixed-up letters. From my quick research, it seems that he may have poor muscle memory.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? His mom and I are completely stumped, and would really like to get this under control before he moves on to 3rd grade.
Please refer to my many posts on Print Inversion.
Teacherman
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:55 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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He knows how to write the letters correctly because he writes them correctly in the beginning. Where does the switch usually take place? Is he writing correctly for one line, a paragraph, a page?

I would work with him to realize when he starts to write backwards. If you show him a sample of his writing, can he tell you where his writing begins to be written backwards?
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:42 AM
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DrivingPigeon DrivingPigeon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mopar View Post
He knows how to write the letters correctly because he writes them correctly in the beginning. Where does the switch usually take place? Is he writing correctly for one line, a paragraph, a page?

I would work with him to realize when he starts to write backwards. If you show him a sample of his writing, can he tell you where his writing begins to be written backwards?
Good question...I think he does recognize when it is backwards, because if I point it out to him, he goes, "Ah!" and fixes it. I usually send it home for his parents to help him correct.

He usually writes about 1/2 a page before things turn backwards.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:17 AM
a2z a2z is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingPigeon View Post
Good question...I think he does recognize when it is backwards, because if I point it out to him, he goes, "Ah!" and fixes it. I usually send it home for his parents to help him correct.

He usually writes about 1/2 a page before things turn backwards.
What happens when you point to one that is correct? Does he say, "Ah!" and then writes it backward.

Be careful you aren't confusing an automated response - when teacher points to a letter it means it is incorrect - with him really recognizing something that is incorrect.

Kids learn quickly when a teacher points something out it is time for them to guess something else. With reversals it is just flipping the letter, with reading it is trying to guess something else that might fit.

Also, do you have him move his page up as he writes so his hand stays in the same place and the paper moves up? I'm thinking something on this line or it could be as his stamina wanes lack of processing starts to interfere.
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Old 03-16-2012, 05:17 AM
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teacherman1 teacherman1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrivingPigeon View Post
I have a student in my class who is left-handed (not sure if that makes a difference). He has many problems with letter reversals, but is incredibly inconsistent. He usually begins a writing piece (a story, a spelling test) writing all of the letters correctly. However, he usually writes everything backwards by the end. The letters of the words will be in the correct order, but every letter will be backwards. He even writes the letters in his name backwards at times.

I tried to look for a pattern in the letters that he writes backwards, but it is literally every letter that can be written backwards he will write incorrectly.

I tried to consult with my school's occupational therapist, but she said that she can only provide me with resources, since the student is not in special education. She provided me with lists of things to try, but many of the resources suggest help with b, d, p, q mix-ups. However, this boy has issues beyond just those four commonly mixed-up letters. From my quick research, it seems that he may have poor muscle memory.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? His mom and I are completely stumped, and would really like to get this under control before he moves on to 3rd grade.
After re-reading your post I'm thinking it sounds like mirror writing. Just for fun, take a regular piece of paper and a Sharpie Marker. Instead of having him start on the left side of the paper, have him begin his writing on the opposite side and write from right-to-left. When he's done writing, just flip the paper over and "Voila!" The bleed-through from the marker looks like "normal" handwriting.

I'm not saying this is the answer to his problem, but it may give you a little more insight into what's going on in his head.

Good Luck!
Steve

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  #7  
Old 03-16-2012, 05:44 AM
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TeachOn TeachOn is offline
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I had goofy letters as a kid: backwards S's, couldn't remember which way the diagonal in the "N" went (I still sometimes have to think: "downhill!"), "p" and "d" confusion. I also stared off into space, thinking of rockets. I was annoyed by group work, particularly the making of murals.

For me, these were ultimately benign conditions. I got over them with simple remonstration and instruction. Surely every quirk and idiosyncrasy is not cause for diagnostic alarum.

Still not a big mural guy, though it rarely comes up.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:59 AM
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monsieurteacher monsieurteacher is offline
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My guess is that he's just getting worn out, and after about half a page of writing, he is unable to process as well, and so he reverts to what may be his default.

a2z has a good point though, point to a correct letter and see if he realizes that it's correct, or if he goes to change it.
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  #9  
Old 03-16-2012, 07:03 PM
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WaterfallLady WaterfallLady is offline
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You could very well be correct about muscle memory. You could see if it helps him to write the letters in sand or something sandy. You could have him practice making big letters with his arm (don't bend at the elbow). Write them in shaving cream. Just some ideas.

I sometimes start reversing letters when I am writing for a long time, I don't know why. Or, I start thinking things look backwards when they aren't.
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