Fine motor skills

“…engages in inappropriate behavior. Disrupting lessons and distracting other students…”

The rest of her tirade began to sound like the teacher in the Snoopy cartoons… wha, wha, whawha…

I’m so tired of attending IEP sessions only to hear a litany of offenses and no constructive plan to actually help him. Just once, tell me something positive.

“wha, wha… lacking fine motor skills…”

That got my attention. A coloring page, a maelstrom of crayon scribbles, was pushed across the table at me.

I turned it over to see my first-grader’s detailed drawing of a car. Fine motor skills my ass.

The 100 Word Challenge, a writing prompt created by Velvet Verbosity, takes a single theme to tell a story in only 100 words ~ no more, no less. This week’s theme is ‘Engages.’

When our son was younger, and attending public elementary and secondary school, we attended obligatory IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings with his teachers and school administrators.

Initially, I believed these sessions were to confer about issues he had in the classroom environment, and how to improve both that, and his participation in the way of homework and joining in classroom discussions. Outlining what each of us – we, our son, and his teachers – could do to make his school experience successful for him.

Instead they became bitch sessions, with teachers listing offense after offense, from the most mundane to ridiculous. They became so virulent, that we eventually refused to allow our son to sit in on the meetings. None of his offenses were terrible – he was not violent, or anti-social, or out-of-control, or intentionally disruptive. He was a kid with focus issues, and undiagnosed (his diagnosis was confirmed and documented when he was about 12) anxiety disorder and OCD.

During a particularly frustrating session with his first-grade teacher, she presented us with a piece of paper that was meant to be a coloring exercise. It appeared that our son had held every crayon he could in his little fist, and filled the page with multi-colored swirls.

This was her evidence that he was deficient in fine motor skills.

Turning the paper over, you could see where he had drawn, in great detail (especially for a 1st-grader), a car. Complete with windows, door handles, spoked wheels, headlamps, and a front grill. His dad looked over at him and asked him why he had scribbled on the front and not colored it in properly.

His answer was classic. He had gotten in trouble before for drawing cars and airplanes during class. His teacher told him that he could only draw on his own once he completed his assigned work. By scribbling, he finished his paper quickly and thought he could then do what he wanted… draw cars. She told him he only had to finish the coloring, not that he had to do it well. He was then, and still is, very literal.

Instead of working with him, somehow incorporating what she wanted from him, with what he wanted to do, or at the very least being very specific with her expectations, (which is what I thought was possible during IEP conferences) she convinced herself that he was physically, and mentally, deficient.

15 thoughts on “Fine motor skills

  1. My daughters kindergarten teacher sent me an email asking if she could have the speech teacher talk to her and recommend additional help. I told her that Carly did not have a speech problem but if she wanted to (just to be sure) go ahead. The speech teacher told her that Carly did not have a problem at all. I then found out that this teacher tries to hold at least 3 kids back a year. Outrageous!

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  2. It is horrible to have to go through that. We brought our son’s shrink to a meeting and she quashed the teacher’s insistence that he was “simply defiant” – like a bug. It was heartwarming and liberating…

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  3. You know I had to read this as soon as I saw the title. That experience right there is why Mister Man is NOT in public schools but instead in a Catholic school (I know – shocking, right?) where they actually do change the classroom and accomodate Mister Man rather than trying to make him fit into a box. That said, I DID get an email this afternoon from his teacher (the first in a long time) saying that he’s been challenged this past week and looking to see what WE can do. Love that they emphasize what they’ve already done in the classroom and are looking for my help to supplement that rather than just making it out that he’s bad bad bad.

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  4. Nice job with the prompt, and the explication afterward. My daughter, too, had initially undiagnosed health issues that affected her school performance, but we were lucky enough to have some really wonderful teachers that worked with her and championed her successes. I hope your son’s situation has become much more positive!

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  5. Hahaha how sweet! My brother used to get in trouble for taking the teacher literally too. I remember once, when he was in like first grade- his teacher said something along the lines of, this is your assignment, what every you dont get done, you can finish for homework. So my brother took out a book. and when the teacher asked him if he was done, he said no, I chose to do it for homework. technically, that wasn’t breaking the rules…

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  6. Damn, I’m irked beyond measure by that teacher. We have been blessed in that we’ve not encountered that ilk with our kids. I’m sorry you guys couldn’t escape them.

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  7. well said – I’ve long felt that we parents are our kids’ first and best cheerleader. The caring parents are the ones whose kids succeed. Congrats on being that caring parent.

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  8. It makes me sad that so many kids who have SO MUCH POTENTIAL get lost in IEPs and their derogatory remarks. It just seems so unfair. This prompt was awesome– you did a beautiful job with it!

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  9. I’ve been there too. The happiest day of my life was the day he graduated from high school. If it weren’t for an extremely caring case-worker who had his back during his high school years, I would have completely lost faith in the education system.

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