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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Handwriting Update

I've mentioned before how having low-muscle tone affects Kayla's fine motor skills; especially tracing and writing.

She still struggles with tracing letters - how to stop and start again and lift up her pencil instead of making continuous lines or loops. Sometimes the tracing she does over a letter looks nothing like the letter she was tracing; other times it looks pretty darn good.

The special ed teacher works with Kayla on tracing, but she is using the 'dotted/dittoed' letters and in the parent-teacher conference I mentioned to the regular ed teacher that I didn't think that was the best way for Kayla to trace/learn. I think the dittoed letters are too 'busy' and not easy for Kayla to follow along, and she agreed, so hopefully they won't be using that anymore.

While the OT is still using Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) worksheets with Kayla it hasn't quite been incorporated for Kayla in the general classroom setting yet; so I'll be sending some info to her teacher so she can start using that with Kayla too.

The school district uses D'Nealian style handwriting. The instructions for forming some of those letters are so long! Example for a lowercase 'd': Middle start; around down, touch, up high, down, and a monkey tail. Uppercase "B": Top start; slant down, up, around halfway, close, around again, and close. Kayla is supposed to memorize these little ditties for each and every letter so she knows how to form them correctly? I wouldn't even be able to remember these every time I was working on making letters with her!

For contrast here is how you would verbally cue writing those letters with HWT; lowercase 'd': Big line down, little curve. Uppercase "B": Big line down, jump to the top (to remind her to lift her pencil and bring it back to the top), little curve, little curve.

The other style has too many instructions on forming each letter; Kayla needs something short, concise, clear, and to the point...not all of that 'extra' wording.

Despite using HWT with the OT, dittoed letters with the special ed teacher, and D'Nealian style with the regular teacher, Kayla IS making progress! It's been very exciting these past few months watching her get closer to writing her own name.

This paper was done at the beginning of June, near the end of the last school year. The note says this was done free hand, by herself, with only verbal prompts from the teacher. This was the first time she wrote out letters that closely resembled her name.

Last week she wrote her name on this drawing (after much gnashing of the teeth and stubbornness on her part - ie when I told her to make an 'a' she just drew a line down - so numerous erases and 'try agains' she finally completed this). The letters aren't so big as in the example above, so she's starting to get the size and spacing down.

I was so encouraged to see in just a few months how far she's come in writing her name independently. Now she doesn't do it like this on a consistent basis yet, but it's coming along - and showing progress is what matters!

I know she has a ways to go still, but I'm excited to think of the time when she's writing sentences and stories and letters...and once again I'm reminded that she'll do it, in her own time.

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Tina said...

She's totally getting it!!

Good for her :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tina! Kayla is doing a GREAT job!

chelle said...

Ooo totally you can see a huge improvement! That is awesome!

Chelsie said...

That is great improvement. I still have terrible handwritin and I'm 23 years old.

nichole said...

Awesome improvement! That D'Nealian writing sounds way complicated - and I've been writing for 30 years!

Cammie Heflin said...

Awesome! Our school (PK-1) uses HWT everyday, we love it!

Tina said...

It's just so great to see the progress Kayla is making, it must feel wonderful.

heather said...

I think this is a difficult skill for most kids with Ds to master. Morgan is in 1st grade and she just started writing last year in kindergarten and was able to do it while tracing the dotted letters. But had no interest writing letters on her own (except her own name) but was so shocked when we were working on spelling and she was able to write almost the entire alphabet without any cues (some were lower case and others upper case). It's amazing how the progress and mastery will come. It just takes a little longer sometimes.

She is doing a great job and will continue to get better and better!

Calico Sky said...

Fabulous! She is doing so well!! I was educated in Montessori where they believe it is easier for children to learn cursive then print (becaue it is loopier and there is more freedom), but my understanding is other school systems do printing first.

Well done Kayla!

As We Sail... said...

Good to hear how she's progressing.
Check out my Veterans Day tribute.

Anonymous said...

Great points and great job Kayla!

Bethany said...

That is awesome Michelle!

datri said...

Well, we're still trying to get past scribbling, LOL! The school's OT is going to start with HWT soon, can't wait. Hope it helps.