Any Which Way

Part of the kindergarten curriculum here in Maryland includes learning to appropriately write letters, using a proper grip on a writing implement.

Now, the Monster’s known his letters for a long time – he’s semi-obsessed with Sesame Street and has no problems recognizing upper and lower case letters.  He also knows, quite well, how to spell his full name.

Most of his homework exercises that involve letters are more based on trying to work on the beginnings of reading using sight words, or recognizing which letters make which sounds… but there is that one writing exercise each week where he’s expected to trace, and then copy, his name several times.

We’re back to square one on a simple problem – we don’t know which is his dominant hand.

At school, his OT is convinced that he’s a righty, which would be almost logical: both of his parents are righties.  So as a consequence, he’s being taught to write with his right hand, and they’re concentrating on having him do activities with that hand when they’re trying to work on the clarity of his writing.  The problem is, at home, he’s not showing a preference between the two.  If anything, he’s gravitating towards using his left hand for a lot of activities, though the output from both of his hands is equally hard to read.

At his supplemental occupational therapy that he’s getting outside (coincientally a place where his school OT also works), the therapist he’s working with is now convinced that he might be a southpaw at worst, and perhaps ambidextrous at best.  She’s not convinced in the slightest that he’s right-hand dominant, and supposedly spoke to his school OT yesterday to bring her up to speed on her suspicions.

I find the whole situation interesting, both from a pure and simple “wow” point of view, as well as from the “okay, how is this going to make everything more complicated for his Autism?” matter.  If we can’t figure out which hand feels more natural to him – since he probably doesn’t understand the question and has not expressed a preference to us either way – it makes the occupational side of things more complicated to get him caught up with his same-aged peers.  From where I’m standing, it means that we have to assume, for the time being, that we need to work on skills with both hands, just in case one is dominant, to ensure that he develops the right skills so he can function in environments where he needs the fine-motor control.

I do know that, apparently, his IEP coordinator wants to see us before the winter break to have an update for his IEP.  I think that we need to put on the list a goal – for the therapists – to figure out what hand-dominance he really has, and get squared away with concentrating on how he writes before he exits the Together We Grow program in June.

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