Jump to content
ACN Latitudes Forums

writing accomodations for 4th grade


Recommended Posts

for those with writing accommodations for school -- what are your suggestions that may be innovative that are helpful?

 

ds,9, struggles with both the physical act of writing (hand tiring), writes in all caps, difficult legibility and with composing - tests with as 2E with lower working memory than other cognitive values so he thinks much faster than he can write and gets frustrated.

 

at home, he speaks into a recorder and then writes or types. although, this also gets tedious for him b/c it is 2 steps.

 

last year, 3rd grade, our goals were just getting him into functioning school environment after disastrous 2nd grade experience and 7 mths on home teaching. he got sick at age 4.5 when was just beginning to write. preschool teacher had previously been impressed with fine motor control and lettering. became a HUGE point of contention for kindergarten when ds refused to write and teacher took as defiance. added much fuel to fire for trouble. so - last year, was just trying to right the wrongs.

 

this year, is looking forward to improving and for functioning. my goals are to have accommodations, while also remediating, so by middle school (2 years) he does not need those accommodations. although, he may at that time use a program like Dragon - I know that is an accommodation, i'm not really considering it so -- I mean accommodations like reduced work load, ease in grading.

 

I am very pleased with the school and how they handle this. the OT is great. she may have some suggestions. I just want to be as prepared as possible and am curious what types of things other people may be doing that may be out of the norm or have been really helpful.

 

thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought, probably not helpful at the moment, but for the future....

 

For the last 3 summers I have had DD practice typing (we use the Mavis Beacon DVD) when time allows. She has memorized the keyboard and flies through composition now. DD is also a fast thinker, but had significant gross motor issues. Printed letter formation was a challenge for her and she would spend most of her allotted time trying to form the letters properly. As a result her answers were generally very short and lacking in coherence.

 

DD (now grade 7) has an accommodation for typing if necessary. Before this she had an accommodation for extra time (even time at home) for completeing written work.

Edited by rowingmom
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lots of experience on this topic with my now 6th grader, who has ADHD and not PANDAS. I may be applying some of it myself to DS who is entering the 3rd grade who has PANDAS and like yours, had a disastrous 2nd grade experience.<br />DS 11 has ADHD and fine motor skill deficits, always has. He is extremely bright but between the attention issues, weak fine motor skills, vision problems, ect writing becomes just too hard. He spaces his words incorrectly. EX; The cat sat on the fence would read: th eca tsatonthef ence. No caps, no punctuation, ect. They were telling me at school he was just lazy hich is SO isnt. I ended up having him tested and found that he has a couple of learning disabilities. Sequencial processing disorder is the one that hurts his writing.<br /><br />Since 2nd grade he has had use of an ipad. I first gave him a netbook. He is allowed to not only type everything, but use a word processing program for every subject except spelling. We tried the dragon speak but it was a nightmare! First, it hardly picked up his voice. Second, it got things down in writing, but the thoughts were still out of order and the grammar was a mess. It was hard for ME to proofread it. It created far more problems than it corrected and made him feel helpless. 4th grade is the hardest year where we live so I really cracked down then. I bought him an ipad. The main purpose was for him to be able to take pictures of the homework board and assignments. It worked wonders! The other students would have 5 minutes to copy everything they saw on the board. I would never know what homework he had, and he couldnt read his own writing. So every day he took pictures of pertinent things and the OT found him an app that allowed me to sign it right in the ipad, just as other parents had to sign the homework book every night. He was also able to email his assignments to his teachers since he was always loosing everything. There was access to wireless printers so that he could get instant feedback if needed.<br /><br />For MCAS standardized testing he had a one on one aid who scribed for him. He didnt get that accommodation in the classroom and was probably to benefit the school and not him. He is so brilliant that they wanted his test scores high to make themselves look good.<br /><br />If you can not afford an ipad, the school may have one to loan you or you could possibly find a grant. As another option, netbooks are fairly inexpensive although they do not take photos that I am aware of. The photos were definitely the most helpful thing for us. The ipad in general helped fix a lot of issues.<br /><br />The other things implemented on the ipad is the use of calendars that are in sync with my iphone. This way I know when an assignment is due and there are no surprises. The OT would work with him to break down the assignments into smaller chunks. Ex: Choose book for report by 9/10. Half book read by 10/10. Whole book read by...you get the picture.<br /><br />I have also tried hiring an OT privately to help with handwriting but it has proven ineffective and he absolutely hates it. Ultimately, we waited too long to try to help. My 3rd grader is at a pivotal point. I am going to try to get him the help he needs so he doesnt end up in the same boat. He starts private OT this month.<br /><br />BTW, he started out on a 504 and I finally pushed for the IEP last year. They didnt want to give it to him because his IQ was in the 99%. Meanwhile, he was getting Cs and C-s, shame on them for allowing that!!<br /><br />Hope that helps. Feel free to ask me any specifics.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Smarty --

 

With technology moving at the speed of light, our kids are using keyboards earlier and more frequently than ever, so by the time yours hits junior high school (likely), or certainly high school (definitely), typing as opposed to handwriting is not going to any kind of accommodation . . . it's going to be standard operating procedure for every kid in the class! We've already found this to be true.

 

I know some bemoan the loss of the literally "written" word, and the loss of personal pride in penmanship that comes with it, but honestly, I think we need to play to strengths, rather than highlighting weaknesses. My DS's handwriting, in the best of times, has never been anything to write home about (pun intended!), and he's always been faster with a keyboard than a pen or pencil. It's less frustrating and less tiring for him, and it makes him feel more in control. So . . . keyboarding was a little more out of the ordinary in grade school and junior high . . . but now in high school, it's the norm, and DS is way ahead of many of his peers in terms of keyboarding skills and speed as a result of having gotten an early start.

 

So, I would encourage the keyboarding/typing and ask that your DS be permitted to complete and turn in assignments in that format. In the end, I think it is a gift to him today that will continue to give throughout his academic career. So what if he never "learns" beautiful penmanship?! Unless he plans on being an MD with a prescription pad, or a calligrapher, I doubt that particular skill will matter to anyone, at any time, in his future.

 

Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is sort of an old technology but DS has an Alphasmart. This is a self contained word processor keyboard. It does not connect to the internet but can be downloaded by wire connection to a computer. While this sounds funky, it is actually very useful because schools recognize that it is quite hard to cheat with it. As part of his 504, DS used it for the essay portion of Regents tests all through High School (actually at the request of his English teacher, who felt that the grading teacher would never be able to figure out what he had written.) Very useful for those with small motor deficits.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter is only in 2nd grade, but we had to put accommodations in for writing starting last year. Her include many of the ones that have been mentioned here, but also the ability to dictate make ups for spelling tests - for example if her writing is so poor it is illegible, she can ask her to spell the word verbally to confirm knowledge. This brought her spelling grades up from 70-80's to consistent 100's across the board. In general, we also have assignments limited to mastery of the concept vs. mastery - which helps limit the workload.

 

She is also allowed to email her writing assignments directly to the teacher (using my email address - she is only 7), and when things are REALLY bad, she is allowed to dictate assignments to her father or I for us to type for her. But we only used that a few times last year in her worst flare to date.

 

All of these things have been immensely helpful. I know we will have to continue to modify as she gets older and assignments get more complex - but the school has been more than accommodating.

 

As for the ipad suggestion - that is a really good one - and if price is an issue - most all smart phones or android tablets/kindles also have cameras now and have much of the same functionality of the ipad at a much more reasonable cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you mean about the potential for goofing around on something like an iPad. Our sons OT had a very strict contract DS had to sign with very clear rules and consequences for using the technology. If he is caught messing around or playing games, taking pics of anything he was not specifically asked to take that the use would be removed and he would have to type everything out on his stripped down netbook which does not have access to any distractions. It turned out to be very successful and helpful, but again, this DS was not the one with pandas. Still, its worth a try. But I suppose there is potential for it to become yet another problem to contend with. The alternate option would be for the teacher to take the photo with whichever device and email it to both you and your son. That way he is getting the info and you are also in the loop. My biggest advice is make sure you are fully aware if all assignments and deadlines. I have found that in fourth grade they tend to make the students more independent and responsible. As we know, sometimes our special kiddos are not quite ready for this and still need us to be very involved. I had to fight tooth and nail for this but finally did get included through the use of synced calendars and it made a world if difference.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...