Archive for the 'Questions to Ask Yourself' Category

School Wind up: Questions to Think About

As parents we almost always sigh with relief when the last school door closes for the summer!  Along with our children, we have worked really hard keeping track of schedules, homework and other assignments, and outside activities plus daily cooking, cleaning, washing, etc!  Before you jump into your summer schedule (which is almost as busy!), take time to decompress with your child, especially if its been a year of struggle.  This might include taking time to talk about the past school year and writing your child’s thoughts down by his yearly school picture:

What did you like about the year? Friends? Teacher? A special subject?

What did you like least about the year?

What was your favorite subject? Why?

Then you may want to take time to think through these questions by yourself plus the following ones:

What would you change if you could go back?  This may help you avoid the same issues this coming year.

What progress did you see your child make?  Sometimes if there is a learning difference its easier to see the struggles than the progress.  Make notes of even a tiny bit of progress in an area.

How do you need to prepare now for the fall? If tutoring or therapy is involved, its time to make that scheduled appointment now if you want after school hours.

Now have FUN!!!! Summer can be about work but must be about FUN and PLAY for both you and your child!




Your child struggled, he was tested by professionals, but you:

Felt that the results did not  reflect your child as you know him;

Felt totally overwhelmed by the results and do not know what to do next;

Agreed with the results, looked to put in place the recommendations but became bogged down;

Agreed with the results, contacted the recommended professionals; found no one you cared to work with;  stopped.

Agreed with the results, contacted the recommended professionals and have things in place.

Which route did you take? Its never too late to get started again!  Find a support person or group to help you move forward.  It can take alot of energy to put a plan in place but it is very important to do so for the sake of your child.  Praying for you…….

Post First Semester Blues

Often I find that parents who have watched their child struggle during the first semester of school are now  faced with the question of “what do I do next?”  Through the first semester of school, words like “give him time to grow, mature” have been the repeated phrase.  But time has not helped.

If you are one of these parents, you may be experiencing sadness and even anger. Your sadness and anger may be  a form of grief.  Your hope that your child would “outgrow” the problem has been dashed!  You may find yourself asking “how severe is the problem?”, “can it be fixed?”, “will they be successful adults?”, “will the school allow my child to stay?” Fear may step in. Try to use your fears to move forward rather than becoming paralyzed.  Seek support from your school counselor, a trusted friend, journaling, prayer as you begin answering the question of “what to do next?.” Also please remember  that your child is also asking “what’s next?” Please help him ……..

Post Christmas Blues

As we regroup from the holidays, it’s time to ponder several different scenarios:

  1. 1. Your child continues to struggle in certain or all subjects: It may be time to have him evaluated by a professional either in school or privately.  It is very important to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as his learning style to enable him to learn in the most efficient and hopefully fun way.

Who to contact for an evaluation:

Developmental / Academic /Behavioral Delays

}  Developmental Pediatrician

}  Psychologist

Specific Motor Weakness

}  Occupational Therapist

}  Physical Therapist

Sensorimotor Problem

}  Occupational Therapist


}  Pediatric Optometrist or Ophthalmologist

Basic Questions When Choosing a Game: Tactile/Proprioceptive

Our Tactile (touch) and Proprioceptive (knowing where our body part is in space based on reception from our joints and muscles) are extremely important to motor development as well as handwriting!  You can see how these work together by closing your eyes.  You still know whether or not you are sitting or standing or moving even with your eyes closed!

For handwriting to be automatic the motor memory for letters must come through these two sensory systems.  Try this:  Close your eyes and write your name!  Hopefully you did well! You visualized the letters, wrote them, and then received feedback through these two systems as to whether the letter was formed correctly or not.  If we had to rely solely on our visual system to give us feedback as to whether or not the letter we wrote was correct, handwriting would be  very slow!

1. Can the playing pieces be placed in a bag?  If so, have your child reach in the bag without looking and find the piece you requested.  Then place it on the playing surface.  Example: Cootie: place several body parts in the bag.  When a child rolls the dice and must choose a body part, have them reach into the bag to get it rather than just picking it up off the playing board.

2. Can drawing or writing be added to the game?  If so, can the child do the symbol with his eyes closed?  Ex: Match 7:  This game is alot like Connect 4 only the tiles have numbers on them.  If a child places a tile with the number 2 on it, ask the child to write the number 2 with his eyes closed.  If he can, he gets another turn.  If he writes it incorrectly, allow for an extra turn after you gently correct and demonstrate how to do the number the right way.  Be sure and use LARGE movements for writing.

Have fun!  I would love to know what your favorite games are!

School is Coming !

As  school supplies appear on the store’s shelves and “back to school” ads appear, we may be thinking “oh, no! School is almost here!”

Try to take pressure off yourself and your child by planning now:

  1.  What will your time look like before school: Getting yourself and spouse ready for work? Getting the kids ready for school? Getting the pets ready for the day?
  2. What will your time after school look like: therapy? Sports? Scouts?

Questions to ask:

  1. Will you be overloaded by your child’s busy schedule? We parents can get tired and cranky.
  2. Will your child be overloaded by school plus after school activities? Our children with learning differences work very hard during school.  Choose wisely what they
    can handle after a long day of working. Tiredness can result in a lot of unwanted behaviors!
  3.  If you anticipate being overloaded, is there something that can be eliminated or postponed until next semester?  If not, is there a way to carpool to help you and others in the same predicament? Try to reduce stress for both you and your children.
  4. Did you set aside time for you? For you and your spouse?
  5. Did you set aside time to just play?!

Video Game Caution

Fine motor skills such as holding and moving a pencil, buttoning buttons, tying shoes require our thumbs to touch the tip of our index  and middle fingers.  Our thumb has to rotate downwards to do this, using smaller muscles of the thumb.  Many video game controllers require the thumb to move sideways rather than rotating downward (unless using a stylus).  It’s important to encourage other activities to develop this downward movement which helps holding and moving a pencil more efficiently.  Some ideas would be: using a strawberry huller or toaster tongs to pick up small objects or snacks (adult supervision please), lacing, sewing or beading crafts for older youngsters, tearing paper, peg games, board games with smaller pieces (adult supervision please).  Try to balance out the time spent with video game controls with  activities like these which require downward movement of the  thumb.


Handwriting Questions

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Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R