Birth & Parenting Series (18): Mother Helps Son Hone Learning Skills
This is part 18 of our Birth & Parenting Series. Our other parts can be found on the front page under “Birth & Parenting Series” toward the bottom, or linked here.
A mother shares how she identified that her grade-school aged son needed extra help to hone his learning skills. She tells us a number of techniques that have helped him tap his learning potential. Talk about trusting her intuition and seeking out the best for her child! A great example to us all, and a set of helpful techniques for any child in his or her learning development.
D is nine and going into 4th grade. He is very capable of learning but for the past 3 years D has been inconsistent in his academics. I have been watching him closely. Finally, the mother, and teacher instinct in me told me I need to get him tested. The testing confirmed he needs some help in certain areas. One of the areas he needs help in is in handwriting. This skill is impaired because of poor muscle tone in his shoulders and upper back and his lack of mastering his fine motor skills.
Weekly, we are given homework from the OT. I am sharing some of these techniques with you because I think these techniques would benefit any child. I wish I had known about them when my kids were younger.
This first picture is of D using the carpet as a surface to write on. Also while doing this, I remind him to put his thumb on the pencil and hold the pencil by the wood. (The OT is using Handwriting Without Tears method for teaching handwriting.) Why does he do this? It helps him not to put too much pressure on the paper and write too heavy. A mother with a young child just learning how to write could have a child color on the carpet with crayons or trace letters. This would reinforce the skill of not pressing to hard on the writing instrument while teaching the child the proper way to hold a pencil.
I love this next one: a fine motor skill technique. What kid doesn’t like to use glue and rip paper into tiny pieces? What will mothers love about this project? It is a mess that is productive and fun.
Let your child pick a coloring page. Rip it out of the book. Have different color construction paper on hand. Have the child rip tiny (the key is tiny) pieces of construction paper. The child puts glue on the paper and then places these tiny pieces of construction paper onto the picture to “color” it. The picture will begin to look like a mosaic. When doing this activity the child is learning how to pinch tiny objects and this develops fine motor skills.
On a practical note, put the glue stick and scraps of construction paper in a zip lock bag. It keeps the “mess” contained.
I also love to recycle. I enjoyed having D do this project because we are able to use all the construction paper that is not in the best of condition.
This last series shows D following the pen. When he reads he moves his head and not just his eyes. When reading you are not supposed to move your head. This has been affecting his reading which then effects his comprehension. So every day we practice 5 repetitions of following the pen (pencil, finger, crayon, whatever works). He needs to sit up straight and must not move his head. He then needs to follow the pen with his eyes only. We go up and down and side to side and at each position I hold the pen for 5 seconds. This exercise is strengthening his eye muscles. This is a skill that is usually developed by kindergarten.
Helpful tips and tools for your child’s development!