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Thread: Making Progress with DS's Writing

  1. #1
    In, Out, Relax yogamom's Avatar
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    Default Making Progress with DS's Writing

    I've been working with DS on his writing skills and observing him in class for the past couple of weeks. I'm still undecided about whether I should get him formally tested. When he slows down and is coached through the writing process, he's able to produce acceptable work. If he's not guided then he reverts back to very short and basic writing. Based on what I know, he has issues with organizing his writing and has trouble remembering spelling. He just started really reading last year (2nd Grade).

    My gut feel is that his progress is slowed down by the fact that he gets distracted easily and because he needs more time than he is given to complete his work. I talked with the teacher and he's allowed to work on his writing project at home. I've also made some requests for him such as a dedicated spelling book and isolated work space. The teacher is very accommodating in that way but not willing to get other help for him.

    He has a project due in two weeks. I'm going to work with him at home to get his ideas flushed out into simple sentences and then help him expand the sentences and organize his writing. I really think that he needs a model to look at a copy rather than a blank paper for brainstorming. My first step is going to be to have him look at other work so he can get the structure of beginnning, middle, end down.

    Is this the correct approach? Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    I wish I would have done this earlier. I feel very guilty about ignoring it for so long. I kept thinking that he would eventually just get it but it doesn't look like he will.

  2. #2
    Yeah, I'm getting to it.. Zippity's Avatar
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    Your DS sounds a lot like my DS10.

    Testing is up to you. I'm glad we did it, because it gave us access to a lot of assistance for DS10 that's made a big difference. The testing carries a lot of weight with the school and teachers.

    To give you some idea, DS10 in third grade had terrible handwriting, terrible spelling, he was not finishing assignments or keeping up in class, there were still letter and number reversals in his writing, and he had a terrible time organizing his thoughts into any kind of a written paragraph or story or essay. He was a good reader--and he's long been a good reader, but his writing was appalling.

    He's also very easily distracted. Tangent is his middle name.

    Now--at the beginning of fifth grade--he finished last year's testing above standard in writing compared to his peers. He still struggles with organization and keeping up in class, but with appropriate support he is able to complete what he needs to complete. His handwriting is readable and all in the proper direction, and he does not labor over it like he used to. Still requires extra effort, but it's not the horrible task it once was. He is still not a great speller, but that's improving also.
    And here's the big one--he's happier at school than he's ever been. I think it was taking a huge toll on his self esteem not to be able to keep up in class.

    What we have done:
    30 minutes of dedicated OT pull-out per week. They work on his writing, specifically. She will help him organize or complete assignments if he's behind, or work on other activities if he is caught up. She also will observe and make suggestions to his classroom teacher.

    30 minutes of speech and social practice pull out per week. (He's got a speech dysfluency, this doesn't necessarily relate to writing.)

    School-provided support for projects that require writing that he is not able to keep up with. He has access to a scribe for standarized testing or other writing-intense projects. (He did not use the scribe on last year's test. He managed it on his own.)

    School agrees to provide more time for assignments.

    We use graphic writing organizers. These are huge. DS has a tendency to want to do everything in his head. (Math, too. Drives me nuts, I'm a note-maker.) There are many books created for teachers that have different graphic organizers that kids can use, but I find that simple is best. The format we use has the same basic structure as a paragraph/essay, but kids fill in their ideas first, in sentence form. When the organizer is filled in, the paragraph is practically already written. We've used organizers that are more free-form, but I find both kids have difficulty turning those into actual written work.

    I'll see about getting a picture of the organizer for you.

    "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

    - Leonardo Da Vinci

    "I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart."

    - Vincent Van Gogh


  3. #3
    In, Out, Relax yogamom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thorough response, Zip! Yes, our DSs seem very similiar. You and your DS have really worked hard over the past year. You should be very proud!

    A graphic organizer is exactly what I was thinking about. I was trying to create something for him but it would be wonderful to use one that's already been created for that purpose.

    Did you have your school test DS or did you do it privately?

  4. #4
    Yeah, I'm getting to it.. Zippity's Avatar
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    Oopsie, didn't see this!

    We had the school do the testing, because we didn't suspect anything underlying, particularly. He has been to the optometrist, he's been to a private speech therapist--we decided to pursue his stuff through school since that's primarily where he is affected and where we need the most accomodation and effort focused.

    Also, after 8 years of dealing with them on DS13's issues, I know them all well, and knew they'd do a great job.
    "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

    - Leonardo Da Vinci

    "I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart."

    - Vincent Van Gogh


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    In, Out, Relax yogamom's Avatar
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    Thanks, Zip! I'm pursuing it through the school first. Let's see what happens.

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    There are a lot of graphic organizers out there for writing. I really like the 4 square, at least for some stuff. Kids fold the paper so there are 4 rectangles. Each rectangle can be used for a different topic/paragraph for a longer paper, or each square can be a different sentence for a paragraph. They start out by putting just a word or idea in each box and then expanding on that word/idea. I kow that probably doesn't make much sense, but I am sure if you google it, you could find something.

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    In, Out, Relax yogamom's Avatar
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    Thanks daboysj! I missed your post somehow or else I would have responded sooner. I like 4 square idea. I'm going to try it during DS's writing time tonight.

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