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Posts Tagged ‘writing difficulties’

While constructing a sentence, children with LD may find it hard to structure their sentence grammatically. They commit errors with syntax. They can not string the words in the right order. They may write, “road goes on the car” instead of “car goes on the road”. Passive voice poses problem to them. The sentence “cat chases the rat” in passive voice may become “rat chases the cat”! “Rat is chased by the cat” would be too confusing to understand who is chasing whom! They struggle to express their ideas through writing or through speech. They may fumble for words or stop mid way in a sentence unable to understand how to proceed. Single line answers are easy to understand, but long answers are difficult to comprehend because of their confusion with sequencing of events/ideas. 

Some children who have above average intellectual levels may find writing task very difficult. Their thoughts would be running at such high speed that their writing pace can not match the speed of their thought flow! And many find the repetitive writing tasks very boring and meaningless. Hence a reluctance to write.

Teachers need to be sensitive to their reading and writing difficulties. They should not pick these children and force them to read out a passage from the text book aloud in front of their peers. Anxiety increases their confusion and makes them commit even more mistakes.

Spelling difficulty is once again due to the inability to order the letters in sequence. Some may be good in phonetics and they may spell the word as they hear the sound (auditory speller) – fone for phone, nife for knife, nite for night, lefant for elephant (more like the current day mobile SMS spellings). Some children write bizarre spellings – totally unconnected to the word. To learn spellings, the child should have good visual memory to visualize the whole word in his mind and reproduce it or he must have good phonetic skill to divide the word into different syllables and learn the spelling of each syllable and string it together. This method is called syllabication or syllabification. The word “difficult” can be segmented into dif-fi-cult, the word television into te-le-vi-sion,  construction into con-st-ruc-tion, mansion into man-sion.  Here again there can be confusion between “tion” or “sion” and this portion of the word they need to visually remember.

To learn the spellings, the child also needs to master the sound-letter association. After single letter sounds, child needs to learn consonant blends, like, ‘pl’, ‘br’, ‘sp’, ‘cr’, ‘spr’, ‘spl’, ‘str’, ‘thr’ etc, consonant digraphs, like, ‘ch’, ‘sh’, ‘wh’ (2 letters making single sound), vowel sounds and many other letter combinations.

Numbers once again may pose problems to many children. While writing they may mirror certain numbers like, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  and 9. They may read the number in reverse order, like, 23 as 32, 12 as 21 etc. Counting one-to-one will be difficult, concept of money can be hard to learn, Clock reading may become difficult. Temporal words like ‘before’, ‘after’, ‘some days ago’, ‘some days later ‘, ‘next month’, ‘last year’ etc would be difficult to conceive.

Simple addition and subtraction may be learnt easily, but graded sums would be difficult. The concept of ‘carry over’ in addition and ‘borrow’ in subtraction would be tough. Learning the multiplication table would be difficult as it requires sequencing ability and hence find multiplication sums difficult. So also the division sum.

Statement sums pose a big problem as the arithmetic language involved would be difficult to understand and they can not comprehend the different operations involved in the sum. Even if they were to understand the operations like addition and subtraction involved, they may get confused with the sequence of these operations.

……………….. to be continued

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Continuing the writing difficultiesthat many children with LD face, they have poor handwriting as their finer muscle controls are bad in the initial stages and by the time they gain control over the finger muscles, the pattern would have been set and children demotivated enough by all the insults that they keep hearing that they never make an attempt to write neatly. Or occasionally, when they have received positive strokes by the teacher at school or by parents at home, sudden motivation can make them write neatly on that day for which lot of effort goes in. But it is not sustained for long as their mood gets spoilt by other demotivating comments. Hence we see lot of inconsistency in their writing. If a child has very severe degree of difficulty to write, then the child is said to have dysgraphia.

Since these children have poor spatial ability, they can not understand how much space needs to be left between words in a sentence or how much space would be required to write a longer word at the end of a line. They try their best to fit in a long word at the end of the line by over writing or by going out of alignment, or by erasing the word number of times and somehow fitting in the word that they lose precious time doing all this acrobatics!  

It becomes difficult for them to make connectivity to the next letter while using cursive style of writing (joining handwriting). Most of us are taught cursive letters of alphabet in isolation and the beginning of the stroke is always at the bottom of the line. But many a times, inside a word, these letters have to be connected from the previous letter from atop. Ex: in a word beginning with ‘o’, say, ‘owl’ or ‘toy’, the child can connect well. But if ‘o’ were to come in-between, like in ‘bowl’ or ‘vowel’, connecting ‘o’ becomes difficult. Many cursive letters pose this problem when they are positioned between two letters and the stroke has to continue from top. This makes the handwriting look clumsy.

Their writing looks clumsy because of unevenly sized letters in a word or inconsistency in maintaining the size and shape of the letters. Because of their slow speed of writing, they are always lagging behind others while writing dictation or while copying from the black board. They are unable to comprehend the rules of punctuation and capitalization of letters.

When the teacher realizes these difficulties that a child is experiencing, she should not insist on neatness, but focus on the content of the writing. As long as the writing is intelligible, she can overlook the minor errors and appreciate the content and the effort the child has put to complete the task. But unfortunately, most of the teachers insensitively scratch out all the work that the child has done with a bold red ink mark and place a remark “rewrite”, “poor handwriting, re-do” or some even tare the page into pieces, taring the self-esteem of the child into shreds!

………….. to be continued

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