By Dr. Ron Taffel, Family Therapist
How do you help a left-handed child with various fine motor skills like cutting correctly (she cuts very awkwardly), and writing (she writes mirror image)? Is it purely developmental, or should I be encouraging her to turn it around? Lefties think differently as well, and I am fearful that a kindergarten teacher may not have specific knowledge on how to address her needs.
Children start kindergarten at different skill and developmental levels, and many will catch up as the year progresses. Try not to correct your child too often, but if there's no progress during the year or if you're concerned about the teacher's approach, another professional's input might be helpful. Your instincts and your child's attitude towards the teacher will help you decide whether to intervene. If that point comes, ask someone you trust for a referral to get a simple, cognitive evaluation-just to better understand your child's specific learning style.
You're right. Sometimes it's a developmental thing, and other times teachers can use a little guidance from a respected professional in the area. A cognitive evaluation-testing motor and language processing-is brief, child friendly and may be inexpensive or, if referred by your pediatrician, covered by medical insurance. Think of it as a "skills check-up" much the way children get physicals. A lot of kids would benefit from your healthy curiosity and sensitivity towards your child-and a lot of children would feel more comfortable in "big school," if their unique qualities were better appreciated.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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