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Third Grade having problem in class


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john2004 February 11, 2013


My son is 8 and in third grade. He is a very bright child and he loves math and science. He has been in math enrichment program since kindergarten. But writing for him is like a torture. It does not matter what kind of writing it is he just doesnt want to do it. His teacher has talked to me and mentioned that when it comes to math he does great but when it comes to writing its like he's not even in the class and he has no clue what to write about. She also says that he is very disorganized. They asked me if its ok to bring it up in a child study group to see what they can do about this and also do a Conners Scale test which I agreed to. I just found out that this is to find out if he has attention problems. What should I do now? They havent evaluate him yet. But it doesnt make sense to me that he is doing great in every other subjet but has might have attention problem in writing. Pleaes help. Should I hire an advocate to come to school with me in those meetings?

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wolfriver13 February 12, 2013


Stick up for your child, do whatever you feel you need to do. I'm with you, if he is doing fine in other subjects, then how can he have attention problems. Maybe he is above the material and he finds it boring. I would not have him put on "meds" for ADHD or any of that. Maybe writing is just not his forte and the teachers need to get over it. Its their job to teach. Each child is different. And we all have different talents/interests. Good luck!

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pigtoria February 13, 2013


Hi John2004....

It was such a relieve to read your post because I thought I was the only one that have this issue with my son. My son is in the fourth grade - plays beautiful concerto on the violin (he only learned the violin for a little over a year) and is doing sixth grade math. But writing - hmmm- let's just say he writes like a first grader. My son also loses focus when the teacher discusses or talks about writing in class. Is there anything wrong with my son? Of course not! Would I consider evaluating him for any attention disorder? Absolutely not!

As a person who studied child cognitive development for more than a decade, I know clearly what my son's problem is. In his world's there is only black and white - there are no gray areas. There is only right and wrong which is true with music, math, and science. Two plus two is four and it can only be four. The note "C" can only be in a particular position on the violin. H2O is water and it cannot be anything else. However, with writings, there could be an infinite numbers of answers and guess what - they can all be correct. When doing summary of passage, your summary could be totally different from mine but your summary is as accurate as mine. This "gray" area of writing is very hard for my son. He doesn't understand that there is "no one answer" for writing. And that whatever you write is correct - when you suppose it with the right information. The truth of the matter is that there is really only "poor" writing but no "wrong" writing. My son is still having a really hard time with this concept. We struggle every night when there is a writing assignment.

I personally don't think there is anything wrong with your son. I wouldn't even bother with him being evaluate as he is just being a typical boy. The school needs to know and accept this.

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MagnetMom February 15, 2013


Hi john2004,

There are so many issues that manifest in one area and not another. Without having him tested, I don't want to guess, but many very bright children struggle with dysgraphia. Indeed, the brighter the child, the harder it is to understand, let alone make the connection.

In addition, as others have alluded, I've had two kids that see things so clearly they have no idea why they need to explain something so obvious.

But given the fact he has other symptoms (although disorganization exists in every kid to some degree), I would have him tested and go from there.

It's definitely a benefit to get a grasp on it now rather than wait until he's in upper grades and struggles more.

Good luck, and let us know what happens.

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Laudistra February 17, 2013


My children are also bright and "unevenly gifted". One is ADHD and the others are ADD to varying degrees. Only 40% of children with ADHD have an identified learning disability. I don't think your son has one, but two of my daughters had problems writing for different reasons. With the ADHD daughter, her brain was going at a speed that her hand could not keep up with. She would skip words, spell poorly, forget what she wanted to say, and dumb down her vocabulary. It was so frustrating for everyone, including her! When she learned to type, she could go much faster, so her "writing" could more closely keep up to the pace of her thoughts. Her writing in 3rd grade was evaluated by a learning specialist to be freshman college level, yet her teacher gave her a D for content. This is because the learning specialist ignored spelling and actually looked at content. Her thoughts were amazing, and I wasn't surprised because she was speaking at 10 mos. old and had a vocabulary of well over 400 words by her 2nd birthday. A trick I used with her sister (ADD) was to have her make up a spelling sentence, say it out loud, then I would parrot it back to give her time to write it. She did have auditory processing disorder, and she also for some reason had to concentrate on her letter formation as she wrote, even in 4th grade. She spent so much energy trying to write each letter correctly, that there was no way to remember what she wanted to say. However, with help, she wrote beautiful sentences. I have homeschooled her since 9th grade with great success. (The teachers had no patience for her, calling her "lazy".) Another idea is to have the child record what he wants to write, then play it back. Brainstorming techniques can help a child to write. Some children are overwhelmed by writing because they think they have to miraculously reach the final product the first time. The stages of writing are very important and necessary to get to the final version. Since your son is disorganized, he may benefit from learning how to brainstorm, outline, draft, revise, and rewrite (final copy). I staple all the pieces together to show that the process is as important as the final paper. It also gives the child a sense of accomplishment to see how the writing developed and improved at each stage. Do know that writing and math use different parts of the brain. You are not necessarily good at one because you can do the other. However, that is not a sentence of mediocrity. If something is challenging, you just work at it more. There is nothing wrong with hard work. Perhaps since math comes easily to your son, he thinks writing should come easily as well. We all have something we need to work hard at. That doesn't mean that we are stupid.

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MathGrandpa February 17, 2013


I am a HS teacher with Math and Social Studies licenses. Also do a lot of writing but never became a good writer until an adult. Your son prob needs more structure and scaffolding like word maps. Also he should be encouraged to write about topics he is connected to, maybe even a few paragraphs at home. The ideas and organization are more important than grammar and spelling. Again, I'm not really into elementary but hope this is helpful.,

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m_woodard February 17, 2013


I am a mom with one child who is ADHD (on medication) and has other fine motor issues, with a disconnect between what is in his head and the ability to get it down to his hands and on paper, but is extremely bright, and is a natural at sports, not just the physical part, but the knowledge base behind it. My other child is considered a gifted learner.
I agree with Laudistra on their viewpoint.
One thing that did help my child with writing and organization, is brain storming and typing individual thoughts on separate pieces of paper, then allowing them to take those pieces of papers with their thoughts and arrange and re-arrange them to see what combination made the most sense to form paragraphs.
As a Junior in high school, writing is still a challenge, but there are no longer tears when trying to string thoughts together. There is a definite process that is followed now, and although writing still isn't the strongest subject, the writing has improved dramatically over the years and the grades reflect all the years of effort put in.
Good luck.

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momofmayham February 18, 2013


I have 3 boys and my oldest in particular has had trouble. He has also been diagnosed with Asperger's. The best advice I can give is to break down the process. After reading a story have him tell you his thoughts. You write them down. That get's the process started. After he feels more comfortable with this system you can get back to writing. The school has also offered him the opportunity to type rather than write (he is in 7th grade right now). I am a bit torn on that .... I think writing is something that needs to be developed for fine motor skills. However - he likes to draw, and as long as this is going on regularly, I think it will help him contiunue to improve...HTH

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Salexa February 18, 2013


Sounds like my son. Same age, same grade, brilliant in Math, Science and Social Studies. Reads a ton, vocabulary way above his years, will talk your ear off but put a pencil in his hand and his writing looks like a 1st graders and his sentences are short and choppy. Boys are notorious for poor fine motor skills and with a mind that works fast I think it is painful for him to slow down to write. He is also disorganized (we worked on that the last two years and it is improving with reminders). Sometimes I think that instead of appreciating the brilliance of a child schools want to focus on diagnosing them with problems. He had a child study meeting at his school and I think the specialists were a bit confused as to why it was called when they looked at his aptitude testing scores (high). They sent an OT in to observe his writing in class but I have heard nothing back. I am tired of the process and would like them to encourage his strengths and not focus on his one weakness and make him feel bad about it.

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john2004 February 18, 2013


Wow! I am impressed with all the resposes I got. Thank you so much. It gives me hope and comfort.
He was evaluated at school, the results were brought up at the child study group and of course nothing came out significant. so they set up a meeting for me and the school to come up with ideas to help him do better at his writings and get more organized move through the day with more ease. He did great again at his enrichment test again and also the STAR test in January which shows he is at 99%. Maybe thats one reason the school couldn't just label him with being disfunctional. I mean how could you be when you score that much above your grade level.
@pigtoria: I totally understatnd and agree with having no gray area. But it has to be worked on.
@Salexa: Maybe we are sharing the same son!!I like you wish the school pay more attention to his strengths. I do want him to get the help in his writing because he is going to need it in higher grades but he spends most of his time at school thats the teacher's job to come up with ideas to help him get better.
Thanks again

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sewmom February 18, 2013


This really caught my eye. My son is 12 His handwriting looks like it was written by a toddler. He loathes to write, and will write as little as possible. He is also left handed. His reading skills tested at post high school level. He struggles with math, but seems to be getting it since My dad started tutoring him. He loves science except when he has to write anything. We just got him off of his IEP but because of his math and writing, he is now on a 504 plan. He is disorganized which we are working on, and has had some behavior problems which have greatly improved. I'm hoping to print this article and the replies to show his teachers. I'm hoping these will work with my son also john2004, it sounds to me that your son is very bright, and I hope it all works out for you.



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