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1st grader with visual motor integration issue


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Joined: Sep 08, 2008
Posts: 1
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Posted Sep 08, 2008 at 2:29:33 PM
Subject: 1st grader with visual motor integration issue

Hi - hoping someone can help. I am posting here on the teacher forum so that hopefully teachers can offer help, ideas or insight. I have a very bright 1st grader. Long story short, he had a myriad of delays as a baby, toddler. Needed PT, OT for gross/fine motor via Early Intervention. "Graduated" from most around age 3. He could do all age-appropriate activities, albeit slower than most, but he was discharged because he was completeling them. He continued OT for fine motor (writing, hand strength) in his preschool when we moved here to VA. Discharged the May before he entered kindergarten - as age appropriate, was writing name, letters numbers. IEP was "closed" but kept on file/active just in case. All involved with his therapies - preK teachers, OT's felt he was fine and ready for Kindergarten.

Enters 1/2 day kindergarten - fabulous teacher. Does GREAT! Average or above average for reading, phonics, writing. 17 in his class - one teacher one aide/assist. teacher. NO issues except sometimes took longer to complete tasks, but ALWAYS completed. Positive attitude, loved learning and school.

This year - 1st grade is full day. 23 in class, one teacher, floating aide but not for long periods of time. One week goes by and teacher calls me "very concerned". My son is having trouble with reaction time, distractions (noise and additional movement in 1st grade vs. kind. when they all move more as a group.) It took him 5 minutes to complete ONE 3-letter word on a spell test - he had to write the word "fan", "pet" from seeing it visually on the board to his paper at his desk. Total block. Finished last on all words and needed one on one help. Teacher is "very worried" - he was the only child out of 23 with this issue.

He has always had trouble with "copying", puzzles, hand-eye coordination. When we moved here (he was 4) he started sensory motor integration therapy at a great place for this issue. It was improved so again, discharged/stopped. And I am stumped because in kindergarten, he was okay. I was somewhat worried about him going to full day. I should also mention he has the same teacher as kindergarten. She moved up to 1st grade and he is in her class again. She is excellent and my concern is not with her. My concern is the concern in HER voice which I've never heard like this before.

She is recommending his IEP be re-opened, and a child study be done. I am very, very worried about him. She said he doesn't seem tired or hungry, but just overwhelmed. Socially and maturity wise she sees huge improvements. (he used to miss me alot and cry some days).

We of course want to start working with him at home. Any suggestions?? His teacher wants to take action right away - she is aware that he is still adjusting to 1st grade, full day, bigger class, more commotion, etc....but she is genuinely worried that it's more than that.

Yesterday at home I had him complete some words that I wrote on a paper. He transposed them with NO issues or delay. The TV was on in the background, and his little sister was buzzing around. So there were distractions. But he wrote out a birthday card, the recipient's name "Erin" and copied my letters fine.

When he attended therapies, we used to do "reaction" time exercises - set up ballons and call out the colors and he had to touch each balloon I called out really fast. Also tracing shapes that I first draw on a peg/dot board - he had to make the same lines/shapes as me. He has trouble with this but eventually he gets it.

I guess I am stumped because he did sooooo well in kindergarten. We thought, "Finally!" we made it.

Could this be simple "adjustment" the first week of school?? He has the academic knowledge - but his teacher just feels he really regressed over summer with "reaction" time and transposing things. What happened??? Thanks!

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Rosco P. Coltrane
Joined Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 47

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Posted:Sep 08, 2008 3:43:12 PM

There is a big difference between kindergarten and first grade, and most children have the tendency to show some regression over the summer. Since it seems that he has the academic knowledge and it's just the first week of school, I wouldn't necessarily hit the panic button just yet. Having the option of the IEP is always a good safey net, but I would probably monitor his progress over the next 3-4 weeks. If he is showing some regression, I have a feeling that he'll bounce back (most kids do). If not, I would call a meeting to discuss further intervention options.

Good Luck

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