Help for student who can barely write

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by wldywall, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Mar 3, 2015

    This student of mine is slow, and super low. He is 4th grade. His IEP was just held and I did add occupational therapy to help with the writing, however he has a long road to go.

    I even put in for assistive technology, which I got right away (if you call a free moby max tablet which the student cannot keep with him, can only use when I am in the room..which is three days a week, and has limited options assistive technology), but my problem is when I am not in the room.

    He just cannot do most of the work, not that he doesn't know it, because given enough wait time orally he can do most of the grade level work. But he cannot give answers orally all of the time and even after I modify the work, he often cannot finish it.

    I feel like I should be doing more for this kid, but I am out of ideas...anyone got better ideas?
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mar 4, 2015

    That AT sounds incredibly inadequate for the student's needs - it is way too restrictive.

    What are his issues with handwriting? Are they pretty much symptoms of dysgraphia? Quick fatigue, hand pain (not always a symptom, but sometimes students think the pain is normal, because the other students complain about their hands hurting after writing), illegible writing (Issues with shape, size, formation, collision, etc.), motor skill issues?

    You say there are limited options for AT for your school? What are they?

    He needs AT that actually is assistive technology that allows him to be in his least restrictive environment. Why can't his teacher keep the tablet locked up in the classroom and give it to the student to use? Why is the gen ed teacher not trusted with the assistive technology (I assume the student is in gen ed as you state you are only there three days a week)?

    Does he have tremors, or slight hand shaking when he writes? Try a weighted pen/pencil.

    You could also try a pencil grip, might not be very effective, however.

    You could also try giving the student raised line paper. Here's some Narrow lined raised lined paper and here is some Wide lined raised line paper.
     
  4. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Mar 4, 2015

    All really good ideas Bros, I have tried grips, but as a lefty none of the grips feel comfortable to him.

    He hold the pencil like it is his life line, and if he is writing it is all he can think of....ALL.....he won't even notice you call his name. Easily tired, seems that his hand gets sore, but also struggles to type.

    Yes the AT is super restrictive, but it is literally the only option in the building. Hoping the OT eval will come up with better options since my options have been discarded (I researched and found a better tablet for him to use, but superintendent turned down the request). His parents use handwriting without tears at home to support him, but while he has made progress it is tiny. I use dsygraphia interventions with him, and currently working on him tracing shapes for now, it helps the shakiness. I will try some of the other options you gave, but the AT situation is what it is and I won't be given anything better for him. Which is stupid and illegal.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mar 5, 2015

    I'm a righty - I never liked any of those grips they tried to get me to use. Always hurt my hand.

    Okay.

    So now we have some more information.

    Putting a lot of pressure on the pencil (I assume to the point where the fingers turn white/red?) can mean that the student has issues with proprioception. Is the student clumsy? If so, I would try to get them a weighted pen or pencil (They cost around $15 for a weighted mechanical pencil, I believe) - then the student will be able to feel the pen in their hand easier - as it will have a tiny bit of heft.

    How is their pencil grip? Is it a normal grip? I have an irregular grip (One of the oddest every OT I have ever seen has seen) - I grip the writing utensil with my ring and pinky finger on the top, thumb on the bottom, middle finger sort of limp next to the ring finger, and the pointer finger curled up the pencil, loosely gripping it.

    How long does it take for him to tire? Guessing a short period of time?

    How does he struggle with typing? Difficulty pressing the keys? Difficulty locating them? Just having trouble learning where the keys are?

    See if the super will approve something like a cheap netbook (They can run sub-$200 on sale, quality varies) or something like that. Worth a shot.

    Does the student have shakiness when performing any other motor skill activities? If so, has the child been evaluated by their pediatrician? A neurological evaluation may be in order if the child has a tremor, just to make sure everything is good.

    How is the student's letter formation? Are they forming all of their letters correctly? Every time I have had OT, I have had to be retaught how to write my letters, as my hand forgets (even though I form them properly when thinking about it in my head).

    Any chance you could do some simple OT exercises with the student - taking some clothespins and pinning it to a small pole or a string. That can help with hand strength, which can reduce shakiness.
     
  6. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Mar 7, 2015

    Could of sworn I responded to this days ago, even remember some of what I wrote.... stupid computer....

    anyhoo


    There will be no other AT approved, period. I have been getting pressure to get the kid tested on the MobyMax tablet, which I started on Friday. Yeah, he like it and all, but it took him a long time to get very far and it doesnt solve the problem of written responses to, well, anything.

    Yes he does get a tich shaky when writing, but only after writing for a while. The main issue is, besides his grip and letter formation, is that when he is writing, nothing exists outside of writing for him. He would miss a fire alarm when he is really focused on writing. So note taking or anything like that is not possible for him.

    As for typing he struggles to find keys and pecks at them, always with this left hand, always pressing in the very center of the button, always one button at a time.

    Letter formation is an issue, he still writes his a's starting with the C shape then adds a l to finish it off. He also writes the wrong letter sometimes.

    He just needs more help than I am able to give him, he should be given tons more support than he is getting and I just cannot. Even with 7 hours a week in the classroom, I am barely making a dent in his deficits and I am getting FOUR more to my case load in the next month.....how will I ever fit them in?
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mar 8, 2015

    He might need some training in keyboarding - with some OT, he might be able to type decently with remediation.

    He definitely sounds like he needs extensively OT remediation.
     

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