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    #145522 - 01/05/13 02:30 PM reluctant writer
    Batrachium Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 01/05/13
    Posts: 1
    I've been teaching a six year old gifted child who has "einstein syndrome", he still doesn't talk and he's a reluctant writer. In your experience, how can I improve his motivation towards writing? He never rights alone, only when I grab his hand and write with him. I've been introducing writing on the ipad also, since he prefers it.

    #145587 - 01/06/13 07:00 PM Re: reluctant writer [Re: Batrachium]
    Zen Scanner Offline

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    So the gist is strong system type thinking combined with perfectionist tendencies? Barring some other underlying issue, I'd think personal space to practice. Opportunities to observe others (children and adults) writing at various levels of skill would supply ammo for him to make a full evaluation/decision on it. Maybe paper and pencils in his own space with his own paper shredder so that evidence of his practice can be destroyed?

    Just brainstorming, I've only read bits about the concept.

    #145591 - 01/06/13 08:59 PM Re: reluctant writer [Re: Batrachium]
    Polly Offline

    Registered: 06/29/09
    Posts: 330
    According to comments from his family, Einstein spoke at least sporadic sentences by 2.5. Which is neither here nor there but for being a pet peeve of mine - apologies as I don't want to detour the conversation.

    Does this child communicate by signs, pictures? Is there a global problem with organizing or planning output? (for example easily making signs for things but struggling with making sentences of them) Or an issue with timing of responses, or initiation in general (like kicking the ball before or after it passes by). Is he a perfectionist, not wanting to do anything unless he can be sure of doing it perfectly? Easily frustrated? General fine motor issues or difficulty with other tools? Challenges following instructions in general?

    My perfectionistic and fine motor challenged DS (he's 5) was helped a little by the book Ish, only temporarily, then much more by the handwriting without tears method. The aspect of the handwriting without tears method that helped most was a recentering on use of any material (Playdoh, sticks, pipe cleaners, etc) to make letters in discrete predictable steps. This divorces the mental process of letter formation from the fine motor act of pencil use. Since the latter was challenging on its own, approaching it as a whole was overwhelming. But he could handle the frustration level of each separately. Once familiar with the specific order of creating a particular letter and going in a logical order of ones that possess major similarities he no longer had to think actively think about that planning aspect. Then doing it with a pencil was not so intimidating. As success built some self esteem about it, he's needing the non-pencil stuff less and trusting himself more.

    In researching writing difficulties I found really a myriad of reasons why writing may not come easily and each reason demands it's own approach. For my DS Handwriting Without Tears has been exactly what he needed, but there are probably other methods that would work better for others. If you are interested in the HWT method there's YouTube videos to get an idea of it, I found reading the kindergarten teacher's manual cover to cover helped me really get the reasons behind their approach.

    Until you are able to unravel the cause of his reluctance and find a specific plan to help you could perhaps step back from pencil/paper and choose a group of similar letters such as E F, or D and P, to work on making from something fun, for example twizzler candy sticks (then eat them once you've made the letter). Then separately encourage pencil or crayon use with mazes or dot to dots or whatever he likes.

    Edit: adding that there is a HWT app for the iPad but DS found it too frustrating to use because the tracing component demands near perfection, it would repeatedly make him start over when his letter formation was actually quite good.

    Edited by Polly (01/06/13 09:06 PM)
    Edit Reason: Added app bit

    #146083 - 01/14/13 06:35 AM Re: reluctant writer [Re: Batrachium]
    La Texican Offline

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    A six year old doesn't talk? Are you a therapist or his teacher? I don't know what therapists tell you to do about that. I'm sure they have a plan. Just as a mother/neighbor, whatever reason I would have to be around a child I would try things, I would try to see if he could use a camera to show you things. I don't understand why you want him to write if he doesn't talk. Are you trying to build fine motor skills, or get him to communicate?

    He can only write if you grab his hand and write with him? He doesn't talk? So why are you helping him write the alphabet? I'd rather see him paint pictures that represent objects such as people or trees. Teach him how to do a stick man using a paintbrush. Draw a circle and teach him to draw the generic Smiley inside. The written word, how can I say this? For example a new reader will sometimes get stumped by a word if he knows the meaning, but a word he doesn't have the vocabulary for looks like gibberish. I would not neccessarily start with the alphabet or written word. Then you traditionally have a year or two of "creative, phoenetic" spelling. Written communication takes a lot of work and a long time.

    Why are you calling him gifted and with the Einstein Syndrome. What does he do that lets you know he's really "there". Is it some talent he's displayed? Is it his interpersonal relationships? Typing out his Strengths would help someone better try to expand communication with him.

    I would try a bunch if stuff. If you want to know what other people would try to do then try to describe the kid now and tell us what you're trying so far.

    On the subject of writing, the first step is a game called "Follow Me". Buy the Kumon book called Tracing (it's not really tracing) from Barnes and Nobles or online. Give the kid a fat marker. Put the marker in his hand at the beginning of the excercise. Tap the paper in front of the marker with your finger. Teasing him playfully slide your finger away from the marker, then tap by the marker and slide again until he follows your finger with the marker. Finish the excercise and put it away quickly. You may have to stop several times in the book and wait a few weeks or months because the lessons get complicated as you go on. Celebrate Success. If it's close enough or partially correct- it is correct! (only, if it's partially correct a few times it's time to put it away for a little while). You still cheer, and celebrate, and tell them how good they did.

    Coloring, use it more like it is marking, circling, or underlining. In a coloring book, say, "color his eyes". The correct answer is to scribble over one eye, or prefferably both. Color his mouth. Color his shoes. The correct answer is to scribble a little bit over each of these things. Later on they'll underline the correct word or circle the right letter. Right now a little scribble over the picture means the same thing. You marked the answer. You communicated in "writing" (?).

    I'm sure you have or can get cheap phonics workbooks. Use the pages where they have rows of tiny pictures (usually asking what letter does stuff start with). Pick a few things on the page and say, "color the bear. Color the car. Color the doll. Color the fox." Good. Put it away. The correct answer is to scribble a little bit over each thing you named.

    Now a great reason for taking his hand and "writing" is to get him to scribble in circles. You're eventual goal with this is to form O's, then eventually C's. The first shape you're going for is scribble, scribble, scribble in a round shape. After they do that automatically you should demonstrate a circle and then reach in when they're doing a scribble circle and pick their hand and pen off the paper when it's just a circle and say "Stop". "Draw a circle." "Stop". I would not start with the alphabet until they can write a c.

    But my only experience is teaching my toddlers who have great fine motor skills. I still think it's a reasonable method for almost any beginner.
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

    #146085 - 01/14/13 07:04 AM Re: reluctant writer [Re: Batrachium]
    La Texican Offline

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    ETA: here's what "Follow Me" looks like.

    You'll probably notice that one of the angles gives him trouble.

    In this next picture my kid pointed to the triangle, but her pencil drew a line to the square. She shook her head no. I erased it. She did the same thing again. I erased it and told her to move on before she got stuck on it. It's a line drawn from lower right corner to upper left corner, tricky. Like x is a trickier letter once you start letters.
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar


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