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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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TeacherParent February 18, 2013


There was an article or a book that called writing "The Great Juggling Act" - which means to write we have to do at least several things and all at once - writing is the ultimate multi-tasking. We have to think of something to say - not an easy thing - and then think of how to spell it and then form the letters out - one by one - and punctuate it and then do it all again, word by word, sentence by sentence. To write a child has to juggle several tasks at once.
And any one of those tasks could be a place where a person has a glitch - writing is sometimes tortue for children who don't spell well, it's hard for children with attentional issues and harder for kids with fine motor issues. And there are children who are genuinely 'dysgraphic' which means their brains simply don't translate thought into written language.

Your son could be manifesting any one or more of a dozen different issues that make writing hard. It's clear that he's bright- is he verbal? Does he have a lot to say? Some children have issues with language in general. How is his handwriting? ADHD children can struggle to write and their handwriting is usually as disorganized as their desks.

But there are no quick fixes or sure cures for writing issues. If the Connors test would lean toward indicating your son might have ADHD, they might ask you about giving him a trial on medication. They usually don't think of other possible remediations like keyboarding or - Dragon Dictation. I have a free app on my Iphone - Dragon Dictation - that works very well! In the old days I wasn't impressed with this program but the free app works beautifully for my students all of whom have writing issues. No voice training needed - speak clearly and it types out what's said to it. It's not a sure cure either but it can go a long way toward making writing a possible task rather than a seemingly impossible one.
It is indeed possible that a child can do very well in all subjects other than writing and yet have a significant problem in writing. Writing is not a subject - it's a combination thought process, translation process and fine motor skill - and it can be very hard. Another good book is "Why Johnny Can't Write - it's worth reading. My own son is severaly dysgraphic and only got through school because I served as his scribe - he dictated and I typed.

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TeacherParent February 18, 2013


One more thought -
hiring advocates isn't always as easy as we'd like it to be and - there's often very little any school can do for writing issues. What do you want? Do you want him to have modified assignments? Do you want them to provide him with Dragon Dictation? Do you want them to provide him with a scribe - someone to write for him or type for him as he speaks his thoughts?
It can be very helpful to consider what you might want before going into a meeting. Based on the Connors results, schools can push for you to give your son a trial on medication. Maybe talking all this over with your son's pediatrician would be helpful.

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eunique22 February 20, 2013


I'm having a similar issue but my son is in the 2nd grade - his teacher has literally had me so paranoid the entire year. Now that I read what @TeacherParent wrote - his teacher may think he has a form of dysgraphia, since she was recalling how she remembers a student got a scribe for tests. The real issue is that she does not send any writing to be done for HW at home and then was testing based on whatever she just went over in class with 27 kids and many of them with real learning disabilities and or ESL. I met with her in January and after 2 weeks of practicing at home with my own things I had to come up with - because she still didn't send home what i wanted. I took his unit tests and photocopied them and used those stories to reanswer the questions and practice making paragraphs. He would write 1-2 sentences but she wanted 4 and more details from the story. But his answer was correct, just not enough. Even his sentence structure and his spelling is great. So i practiced with him and I showed him and it was dramatic what he did in the next text. She wasn't able to make ONE grammer or structure correction on two paragraphs, but she still managed to take off 1 point because she wanted him to mention another detail from the story (i guess she goes by the text book answer since the test is from the text book itself. Anyway, on that test, he missed like 4 multiple choice (for the first time ever) he always gets the all correct or maybe 1 wrong. So i met with her last Friday (a month after our initial meeting) and i'm showing her what i've been doing and that we think working closer with him is working because he was able to clearly show it on the next test after barely 2 weeks. She totally blew us off and was like, YEA but this is his lowest score ever cause now he missed a lot of multiple choice questions....ARE YOU kidding me??? She then started saying it was now the overall focus and that what am I going to say next - that the questions were harder?? For real, i've tried hard to work with this teacher and i was so disheartened by her demeanor. She thinks i'm accusing her of not doing enough in class because i told her to please send me more writing or similar writing assignments home so i can reinforce what they are doing in class. God help me get over the rest of the year is all i can think of at this point. She wanted me to consent to evaluations - but he can write - she was like but he sometimes doesn't complete some classwork. I think the teacher is also a bit paranoid. He is in 2nd grade and from the 3rd week in September sent me a note that stated "This does not demonstrate responsible second grade behaviour" because he forgot to write his HW. My son did not sleep for Septemeber and October or November when we finally operated him from his tonsils and adenoids that were waking him up 2-3 times a night. He and we were sleep deprived. surgery happened last week in November cause i was quick to notice such a dramatic change in my son. He was not able to breathe more than 10% through his nose. meanwhile the sleep deprivation still didn't make him cranky or upset - he was just tired all the time and still did well. She just didn't' care telling me she was going to suggest evaluation before Christmas holiday but felt bad because of the holiday. Sorry for the rant - but this has been the longest educational school year of my life..my son was in another public school that went from pre-K through 1st grade only. So this being a new school - i've felt so be-littled and tried hard not to go behind her back or make it a bigger deal so that she wouldn't take it out more on us or our son. She seems just overall frustrated in general when you speak to her.
@Salexa - i feel exactly the same as you in regards to the pressures and appreciating the kids for how great they are to begin with. Even more that my child can write and makes up his own very elaborate sentences (15 words per week) and comes up with his own ideas - he's not chopy or and does not say he has no clue. But he's also not jumping for joy and begging to do more and more writing every day and every night, which is something I would expect from him. Seriously, she has made me feel so frustrated that it's not even healthy. I don't think i'm going to make it a point to meet with her more - as it's not even productive to me. it's sad..i will be meeting with principal to express my feelings since I think they should know what's happened. I'm getting involved to meeting the 3rd grade teachers soon and get some specific referrals because there is no way I can deal with such a teacher next year again.

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doglover02 February 21, 2013


I have a daughter that doen not like to write. Her handwriting I will just say leaves you wondering if she can write, it looks like a 5 year old was writing. She loves and is great in science and math. A teacher friend of mine told me not to worry about it that some kids and adults are better at language and have great writing but some are better at math and sciences and writing is another story. I have found that it helps her to make story planners and to let her write about things that interest her. I tell her at first do not worry about spelling and grammar rules to just put it on paper, remember perfection is important to these kids. I go over what she wrote with her and we correct what needs fixed. I then let her rewrite or type what she wrote with the corrections. She has found that it is easier to write when she is not worried about getting everything perfect the first time.
Good luck.

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Mom520 February 21, 2013


I want to say, my son too is in 3rd grade, and by some miracle, I found this sit to join/read. I was in tears up until 10 mins ago, having just rcv'd progress report. I am taking a deep breath realizing it isnt just my son,...Wolfriver and pictoria, your words of wisdom were as if they were talking to me as well. John, nothing is wrong with your child. My son hates to write and for many of the reason pigtoria mentioned,...he isnt sure what exactly is correct answer. If he writes what he thinks but isnt what she says it to be, he gets it wrong. I have sent back marked papers with questions WHY he was given an X,....no reply. They too are trying to tell me in their professional way, with out medical backing he too may have an attention problem. I'm over it. I'm his teacher, yet I have no degree. When are they going to teach!!!!????? I am sick reading his report over and over. Why do I feel guilty,...when he is in the class M-F 8-2? Isnt the reason we send them there is to be taught? Stand behind your son, and fight for him. I am,..and I will continue to. I was told he ZONES OUT. I told the RTI group, My son isnt on crack! He is DAY DREAMING! End of story. Please forgive any mis-spellings, I am just 90mph since seeing progress report. :(

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RedbirdTX February 22, 2013


Hello, I read these posts and had to reply, since my son has been having similar problems ever since 1st grade. He has great difficulty with creative writing, handwriting, and organization. He has no problems with math or science, and can finish most math problems in his head, even long division. If a teacher asks him to answer a question, he can do it at length, proving that he is capable of learning the material, but if he asked to write, he will procrastinate, daydream, or write the bare minimum he can get away with, and it's always in a scrawl that resembles his kindergarten writing (he's in 4th grade).

In 2nd grade, he had a teacher push for medication, saying she was absolutely certain he had ADHD. I suggested dysgraphia (learning disorder involving handwriting and disorganization), but she dismissed me. After struggling for months with our son, we took him to different doctors. After a year of differing opinions, we finally learned that our son had Asperger's Disorder!!!! Next year, I believe the new term will be "high functioning autism". And I have to say, once we got our diagnosis, the world opened up for us and for our son! Symptoms vary, but mainly they include ADHD-like symptoms, difficulty with handwriting and fine-motor skills, disorganization, and usually high intelligence. Once you have a diagnosis, there are resources available to help, even from the school. My son's teachers all have experience with autistic and Asperger's children, so they can make simple accommodations in class without him having to be in a special education class. Some accommodations include: being able to type instead of write, sticking to a schedule and routine, and giving him extra time to complete assignments that include writing. There are 3 other kids in my son's class that get the same help, so he doesn't stand out. We are still working on getting him an occupational therapist to help with the handwriting and organization, but having a teacher who understands and is in your child's corner helps a lot. Also, understanding that an autistic/Asperger's kid can't control certain things that other kids can, and being able to work around those things is the key to their education. Doing a lot of your own research and having regular contact with all of your child's educators really helps, too.

Just make sure that your child's teachers, principal, and doctors are all aware of the situation, and that they consider ADHD as a possible symptom and not necessarily the answer, and check for things like Asperger's. It's not checked often enough, in my opinion, and it's not as easy to diagnose. I couldn't even count the number of tests my son had done on the fingers of both hands, there were so many. But I feel confident that we are on the right track, and he doesn't have to be on medication.

Good luck to all the parents who posted, I know it's stressful. Hopefully what I've written here helps someone save lots of time, it took us way too long to learn what we learned about our child.



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