Academic Ups and Downs

I think I’ve been very good about trying to emphasize my son’s strengths as much as his weaknesses.  All kids are a nice balance of pluses and minuses, and the Monster’s no exception to that rule.

Strength: The Monster knows all his letters (in English) and can count quite high.

Weakness: He doesn’t have the greatest grasp on a pencil/crayon/marker, and he’s not really ready to be writing.

So one of the things they’re working on in his class is both reading and writing.  Since he already knows his letters, it eases the path since he’s halfway there.  On the other hand, he’s just not quite fine-motored enough to actually write that well.  He tends to kind of dribble the crayon along the lines that he’s tracing, which leads to a very indistinct shape.

The fact that he knows all those things already, while they’re teaching the other students in his class (eight in total now – 4 on IEP, and 4 not), means that he’s not missing too much while he’s on his way out to the potty training on schedule.  I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s doing on his progress report for the academics.

The funny thing is that I don’t think that it’s actually anything more than a fine-motor issue.  One of the apps on the iPad is a ‘trace the dots’ application that does letter shapes, and he can trace them just fine with a fingertip, so it’s not understanding or desire. (Okay, it could be desire.  I just don’t think it is.)  And on some level, while I do believe that knowing how to write is very important… let’s be honest, I don’t myself use a pen all that often.  I tend to use the computer more than anything else.  And enough people have atrocious handwriting – my wife, my siblings, coworkers, etc – that I imagine he’ll end up using a keyboard most of the time anyway.

I like to think that the writing issue, though, is more of working on that fine motor control that I’m concerned with.  This one at least builds on an interest of his.

It would be more helpful to me if the OT that’s assigned to him would be letting us know what he or she is doing with the Monster so that we can structure similar activities at home in an effort to build on his skills… but I suppose that’s something to deal with at today’s parent-teacher conference….

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