DS5--fine motor skill trouble

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hs.mama07
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:44 pm

DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by hs.mama07 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:04 am

Hi! My son turned 5 in late June this summer and I have been slowly trying to add K options to LHTH (so we would then use LHFHG for 1st grade). It's just not working. He has a hard time holding his pencil correctly, even with a pencil gripper. He can do it, but I have to replace his fingers in the right place over and over. Once he has it right, he has very little control (and of course, he doesn't like it at all). It's getting better, but so far the only fine motor skills I've done are those in LHTH (which are perfect). There's no way he's ready for LHFHG FMS yet. So, I'm thinking LHFHG will need to be his K year, when he's closer to 6 yrs old. My questions:

1. Do I need to be concerned that he can't hold his pencil correctly and can't draw letters and such yet (he can trace lines decently and can make some letters, but they are really messy and light)?

2. How does using LHFHG for K work in HOD? It looks like that would place him in the high school guides for his 8th grade year. Might be fine for a calm, studious kid, but he's very active and quite young for his age. Makes me a little worried.

Thanks so much!! :-D
Liz

DS 8 Bigger
DS 5 LHTH with phonics and K math

Nealewill
Posts: 1611
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:08 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Nealewill » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:16 pm

For the 7 year old, you would just slow down when they need to slow down. It seems like with most kids, they will reach a point where they need to slow down a bit. That is why HOD only has 12 levels for K through 12. This gives you some flex time.

For the child with fine motor skilled challenges, I would first try and determine if there is an actual problem. Some kids develop slower than others. My youngest has a grip where she wraps her thumb on the top of the middle finger when she writes. She writes fine. She is quick and she doesn't tire easily. My son though, he has very weak muscle strength. He had to go to OT. That helped him tremendously. He can't hold a pencil correctly either but his grip works and he can write plenty without complaining. My oldest has a good pencil grip. Also - can your youngest cut with scissors? Just curious. My son could not. There were many things other than the pencil problem that led us to OT.
Daneale

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

Enjoyed DITHOR, Little Hearts, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, RevtoRev, MtMM

Rice
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:00 am

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Rice » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:04 pm

hs.mama07 wrote:1. Do I need to be concerned that he can't hold his pencil correctly and can't draw letters and such yet (he can trace lines decently and can make some letters, but they are really messy and light)?
Yes, I would be, if not concerned, at least thinking it's time to look into it.
Firstly I would look into who could advise me on whether I need to be looking at OT or PT or some other kind of therapy. (Wait times for specialists around here [Canada] are 6 months to a year, so I wouldn't wait. Even if we could get in in 6 weeks, I'd still start inquiring.) Around here I would first go to the public health nurse and our family doctor and ask for a referral to be assessed (by whoever should do that - maybe someone else will know that). I would also have his eyesight assessed by a developmental ophthalmologist, not just an optometrist; it sounds like a physical "hand" problem, but I'd want to rule out any hand-eye coordination problems as well.

Secondly, I would really work on fine motor skills that do not include a pencil! Google fine motor skills kindergarten (or something like that) to find scads of ideas on fun things you can do that will help with fine motor skills: tracing in sand, using tweezers to move pompoms from one container to another (add sorting by color to make it a math activity, too ;) ), finger plays, cutting with scissors, threading Cheerios on a "necklace" (or Fruit Loops, or beads, or whatever), etc. For letter formation you can draw the letters in a pan of sand, or cornmeal or even in the air, so that he can learn the formation (order of strokes, etc.) separate from the fingers being able to actually form them. (Those are really two different skills. One is mental, the other is physical and you don't want to slow his knowledge of the alphabet because of his fingers. ;) )
hs.mama07 wrote:2. How does using LHFHG for K work in HOD? It looks like that would place him in the high school guides for his 8th grade year. Might be fine for a calm, studious kid, but he's very active and quite young for his age. Makes me a little worried.
I would definitely plan to save LHFHG for Grade 1/age 6 or even Grade 1/age 7, especially considering his fine motor skills are lagging a bit. My active guy has a November birthday so we waited for him to be almost 7 before starting LHFHG (we called that Grade 1, which was technically "holding him back a year" for PS here). Beyond now is a perfect fit (at just-turned-8) and he'll hit the last guide for Grade 12 - barring any bumps in the road, which are likely inevitable, anyway. :)

For K, then, (starting somewhere between 5 - 6 1/2yo, depending on the kid) I use LHTH, with the fine motor skills workbooks from LHFHG (there are both K and Grade 1 options; if you do the K with LHTH, that still leaves the Grade 1 ones to correspond to LHFHG when you get there). You can also add whatever level of math he's ready for, if you wish, as well as starting phonics any time. My 5yo in LHTH for K right now I plan to start on phonics between Christmas and his 6th B-day in March, depending on his readiness (knowledge of letter sounds) and my time (he's my 5th kid in school).

My advice to you is to spend as long as you feel he needs on LHTH, even repeating all/part again (it's designed to be able to do that), until you think he's ready for LHFHG. (You can add story time the second time round to start making it a bit more "LHFHG-ish" - either from one of HOD's book lists or A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh or another CM booklist or whatever.)

However, I wouldn't necessarily postpone starting LHFGH if the writing is the only thing not ready. If he's ready for longer stories, for narrating (telling back what he's heard), for some science and art, for Bible memory, then you could start LHFHG but adjust what you expect of him in the writing/copy work department. But, of course, if you get some kind of professional input you'd have a better idea if this is just something developmental/delayed (he's late but it will click and he'll catch up) or something more permanent (a disability or long-term challenge for him). That may affect how long you put off LHFHG; whether you wait for all skills to be somewhat equal or whether you'll make accommodations for fine motor while continuing his education in other areas. Since you say he "very active and quite young for his age" I would advocate waiting another 6 months to a year beyond what you'd planned before starting LHFHG. (You could even start a guide mid-year, if that works best for you.)

Whatever you choose, the HOD guide you're in need not dictate what you call his grade (the joys of an ungraded curriculum! :D ); the challenge comes with how we present it to them. (See my signature - I have older kids in lower guides than their younger brother, but it's exactly where each of them needs to be!)

Blessings as you look ahead and make plans. May God grant you His peace (and patience) and guide you to the people who will give you the information, services and support that you need!

Blessings,
Rice

DS 18 (GRAD: after WG, 2020)
DD 16 WH w/different lit (DONE:Bigger-WG [-CTC]; Irlen S.)
DS 14 non-HOD @ US1 level (DONE: CTC-WH)
DS 12 RTR (DONE: LHFHG+Prep-CTC)
DS 10 CTC (DONE: Prep)
DS 8 +
DD 6 Storytime + 3Rs
3yo DS

hs.mama07
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by hs.mama07 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 8:48 pm

Thank you so very much ladies! He can use scissors (cutting a straight line, but curved is pretty messy) and does well with other fine motor skill activities--like lacing cards, tweezers, legos, etc. Once he's holding the pencil correctly, he can do things, it's just clumsy. Like missing coordination or something. When he puts his pencil down, I have to help him get it right again as he naturally wants to hold kind of backward. All that to say, I will definitely start calling around to see if he needs help and also start working with him more.

In other areas...he loves Starfall and Bob Books and tries to read everything in the house. He's doing fine in K math, except of course for writing the numbers. He loves stories and often acts out what he's just heard. I really think he could do LHFHG just fine even now, if not for the fine motor skills. We still have a lot of LHTH left, though, so I'll look into his FMS issues in the meantime and reevaluate LHFHG later. I really like the idea of using it for first grade! :-)
Liz

DS 8 Bigger
DS 5 LHTH with phonics and K math

Rice
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:00 am

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Rice » Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:36 pm

I've always said my oldest is "allergic to pencil". ;) He had some Dysgraphia tendencies but we've never had him tested. He still (at 13) struggles with writing but does most things on his own. I let him type some things (I started him having typing practice 5-10 minutes per day around grade 2, with using it for occasional assignments around grade 4 or 5) and other things I scribe or type for him, but at that age, we did almost all math orally (either I wrote it or just put a check at the bottom of the page when complete).

Based on your response, it does sound like you could move straight from LHTH into LHFHG when you get there (next fall?), possibly modifying the writing component, although it starts small, so maybe he could handle it by then, too! :D

Blessings,
Rice

DS 18 (GRAD: after WG, 2020)
DD 16 WH w/different lit (DONE:Bigger-WG [-CTC]; Irlen S.)
DS 14 non-HOD @ US1 level (DONE: CTC-WH)
DS 12 RTR (DONE: LHFHG+Prep-CTC)
DS 10 CTC (DONE: Prep)
DS 8 +
DD 6 Storytime + 3Rs
3yo DS

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Gwenny » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:20 am

RIce--I can't believe the wait times for getting in to doctors! I'm afraid that is what will happen here with Obamacare. I can get into almost any doctor within a week or two at the most, many times the same day or next day!
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

LovingJesus
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:29 am

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by LovingJesus » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:17 am

hs.mama07 wrote:Thank you so very much ladies! He can use scissors (cutting a straight line, but curved is pretty messy) and does well with other fine motor skill activities--like lacing cards, tweezers, legos, etc. Once he's holding the pencil correctly, he can do things, it's just clumsy. Like missing coordination or something. When he puts his pencil down, I have to help him get it right again as he naturally wants to hold kind of backward. All that to say, I will definitely start calling around to see if he needs help and also start working with him more.

In other areas...he loves Starfall and Bob Books and tries to read everything in the house. He's doing fine in K math, except of course for writing the numbers. He loves stories and often acts out what he's just heard. I really think he could do LHFHG just fine even now, if not for the fine motor skills. We still have a lot of LHTH left, though, so I'll look into his FMS issues in the meantime and reevaluate LHFHG later. I really like the idea of using it for first grade! :-)
I haven't used LHFHG, but it looks like a great 1st grade program!

He sounds like his fine motor skills are doing very well in all of the pre-pencil activities that pre-school teachers use to teach fine motor skills. The next step is teaching him to hold a pencil and make sure he is using his dominate hand. My oldest imitated my right hand and later we realized he was left handed. It really explained the pencil struggles that he had in K and first and early second grade. At age 12 he writes beautifully. Switching hands in second grade did the trick. I will also add that most five year old boys, in my experience, are not ready for a pencil.

I would work with him in drawing circles, holding the pencil, drawing lines with the pencil, and then move to letters. I heard a K teacher once say the main thing she teaches in K is how to hold a pencil!

Prayers for your success!

Rice
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:00 am

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Rice » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:15 pm

Gwenny wrote:RIce--I can't believe the wait times for getting in to doctors! I'm afraid that is what will happen here with Obamacare. I can get into almost any doctor within a week or two at the most, many times the same day or next day!
Gwenny, that's just for the specialists. I can get in to a GP pretty much any day: my own GP runs her office as half scheduled and half walk-in appointments; there are also walk-in clinics (usually one open on Sunday, even, in the city) and, if an emergency, an ER (wait might be from a few minutes to a number of hours, depending on severity and how many are waiting). And once you're on a specialist's case load, it's been my experience that you can get back in to see them within 2 weeks, as well. It has it's down sides, but I'm not complaining! :D

Blessings,
Rice

DS 18 (GRAD: after WG, 2020)
DD 16 WH w/different lit (DONE:Bigger-WG [-CTC]; Irlen S.)
DS 14 non-HOD @ US1 level (DONE: CTC-WH)
DS 12 RTR (DONE: LHFHG+Prep-CTC)
DS 10 CTC (DONE: Prep)
DS 8 +
DD 6 Storytime + 3Rs
3yo DS

LovingJesus
Posts: 306
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:29 am

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by LovingJesus » Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:36 pm

Gwenny wrote:RIce--I can't believe the wait times for getting in to doctors! I'm afraid that is what will happen here with Obamacare. I can get into almost any doctor within a week or two at the most, many times the same day or next day!
The wait times for OT, PT, speech, etc. when moving into a new area in the U.S. Is typically 6 months to a year or longer; especially once they are over age 3. My youngest has trisomy 21 and when we moved 4 years ago I was on a wait list for a year. We took a break from therapies last year and I have been on a wait list again since summer. The non wait list offered over age 3 in the U.S., in my experience, is through the public schools which we don't use.

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Gwenny » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:16 pm

Oh wow! I had no idea people were waiting that long. I guess I just haven't experienced it. :) Thankfully!!
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

hs.mama07
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by hs.mama07 » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:14 pm

Wow! I don't know if he needs OT or not, but in case he does it's good to know how long it takes to get in! I'll step up the FMS work with him and see how he progresses...and I'll check out letting him try his left hand some too--that's really interesting! Thanks so much for all your advice!
Liz

DS 8 Bigger
DS 5 LHTH with phonics and K math

Nealewill
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Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by Nealewill » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:08 pm

Where I live, it depends on when you can get in. For us it usually takes about 2-3 months to get in. I know that isn't quite as long but it is still frustrating when you know there is a problem and you waste a bunch of time trying to get your child evaluated.
Daneale

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

Enjoyed DITHOR, Little Hearts, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, RevtoRev, MtMM

my3sons
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by my3sons » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:21 pm

hs.mama07 wrote:Thank you so very much ladies! He can use scissors (cutting a straight line, but curved is pretty messy) and does well with other fine motor skill activities--like lacing cards, tweezers, legos, etc. Once he's holding the pencil correctly, he can do things, it's just clumsy. Like missing coordination or something. When he puts his pencil down, I have to help him get it right again as he naturally wants to hold kind of backward. All that to say, I will definitely start calling around to see if he needs help and also start working with him more.

In other areas...he loves Starfall and Bob Books and tries to read everything in the house. He's doing fine in K math, except of course for writing the numbers. He loves stories and often acts out what he's just heard. I really think he could do LHFHG just fine even now, if not for the fine motor skills. We still have a lot of LHTH left, though, so I'll look into his FMS issues in the meantime and reevaluate LHFHG later. I really like the idea of using it for first grade! :-)
Hi Liz! I'm just wanting to clarify that this is your 5 yo you are asking about here, right? (I see you also have a 7 yo in your signature.) If you are only asking about your 5 yo and the above description fits him, I would think most of his fine motor skills sound quite normal. He can use his scissors, to lacing cards, tweezers, legos, and once he is holding his pencil correctly, he can do things clumsily. I think it may just be a matter of practicing holding the pencil, marker, paintbrush properly a little at a time consistently to build that fine motor skill and to strengthen those hand muscles. I have all sons, so maybe that is why I did find I had to properly put the pencil in each of our sons hands over and over again as they were learning their letters. They also had to use pencils with gripper slide-ons for quite some time. We just stuck with it, and they all write just fine today! :D LHTH is going well for your ds right now, which is wonderful! Much may happen prior to beginning LHFHG. :D The placement chart says it is fine for dc beginning LHFHG in the writing department to just be "ready to learn formal manuscript printing." You can always start LHFHG half-speed whenever he completes LHTH if you would like. In the meantime, for LHTH, there are some writing components that will give your ds time to start gradually working on his fine motor writing skills. For those, I'd have him use a pencil with a gripper, and I would require him to hold it properly, even if it is awkward, and even if you have to help him hold it properly each time at the start of it and even again and again throughout the activity. For the Count on Me and letter pages in LHTH, I often drew dots for our sons to connect, and they did better with this.
ImageImageImage
Image

I would do this for them to practice their name as well:
Image

By doing the plans in LHTH, your ds's fine motor skills will gradually strengthen, forming play dough, cutting pictures out of magazines for the number/color pages, squeezing the glue bottle and pushing the glue stick back and forth, tearing pieces of construction paper to glue for art projects, marking the Hide and Seek pages, threading marshmallows/etc. in toothpicks, painting, coloring, placing cheerios on letters, etc. will all work on strengthening his hand to be better able to write! :D Thanks for letting me go down memory lane here with my little guy, BTW. :wink:
Image Image Image Image Image Image


So, I guess I would just give it time, focus on having ds do all that LHTH asks him to do, use a pencil with a gripper and keep putting it in his hand properly, and give him dots/guidance etc. as needed. It worked for us at least! I hope something here helps! :D

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

hs.mama07
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:44 pm

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by hs.mama07 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:21 pm

Oh, Julie, I love those pictures--so precious! Thanks so much for your advice too! He's doing great with most of those fine-motor skill activities so we'll just keep it going and start focusing more on correct pencil holding. Good to know he's not alone :-)

A follow-up question, if anyone sees this: As we start working more on pencil holding, should I require him to hold his pencils, crayons, etc correctly when he's having free time. Our kitchen is also our school room and all the art supplies are just out and open--so the boys are frequently doing things on our own. He's very very strong-willed and it would be a fight to require correct hand position all the time (which is fine--I just don't want to create unnecessary fights if you know what I mean :-).

Thanks again for everyone's help!
Liz

DS 8 Bigger
DS 5 LHTH with phonics and K math

MomtoJGJE
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:20 pm
Location: Gastonia, NC

Re: DS5--fine motor skill trouble

Post by MomtoJGJE » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:35 pm

I was also going to ask if you were sure he was using his dominant hand. Since with my kids, if they are writing with their non-dominant hand (I have all girls... they like to do that for fun haha), it is exactly how you said it, clumsy looking.

Also, he's 5. I would honestly not stress about it at all at this point. If you catch him holding it correctly, you could praise him. But a lot of 5 year old kids are just not ready to hold a pencil. Just like it takes some babies longer to get the pincher grasp than others, it takes some kids longer to hold a pencil than others. If it's something he HAS to write, then maybe use a marker or a fat crayon (or one of those huge novelty/souvenir pencils!) would make it easier for him to grip? But just for letters and numbers you can let him finger paint it, or make it out of playdoh, or sidewalk chalk, or line up toys, or any other way that he can make the letter or number. That way he's learning the shape of it and working on his FMS as well.

I've said this here before, but here I go again :wink: I'm not a huge proponent of teaching "proper" handwriting. When I was learning how to write we all learned the same way from the same teacher (small town, small school) both print and cursive. Everyone was taught the same way to hold the pencil and paper (all left handers the same way and all right handers the same way) and the same way to form the letters. I remember vividly sometime in 7th grade sitting in one of my classes and looking around at everyone writing. No two people it seemed were holding their pencil the same way. Everyone's handwriting was different, and not just neat or sloppy, but just DIFFERENT. As an adult and their teacher I figure that as long as my kids are writing their letters legibly and neatly I'm not going to mess with it. So in your case I would say to just let him hold the pencil however is comfortable as long as he is working on forming the letters. If he has trouble making a letter, then you could say "it might be easier to make that letter if you hold the pencil this way and write the letter this way. Try it and see if it is easier for you." And that way he will see the correct way and practice it without feeling like you are nagging him about it.

You might also see that he is more capable of holding the pencil correctly naturally after he starts having wiggly teeth. Those skills (as well as reading for some reason) clicked with my older three around the time they started losing teeth. It's coming along with my 6yo and her teeth are starting to get ever so slightly loose.

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