Rick and I attended parent/teacher conferences Monday night. Both Abby and Matt are ahead of the curve, which is wonderful to hear. Matt's teacher brought something to our attention which I am very grateful for, but at the same time I am experiencing what I call "Mommy Guilt" over.
Ever since Matt started school he has had trouble with handwriting. He hates to write and I always thought it just wasn't on his list of favorite things to do. The other thing he has consistently done is write his numbers backwards, especially on a timed math test. Every year at conferences Rick and I would ask about it, and were told he'll grow out of it. His first grade teacher said if it continued into later years (Matt is now in third grade.) to look into further. That brings us to the present. While Matt is doing well, he is still writing numbers backwards and now he wrote his name backwards like a mirror image. His teacher said she was still in the process of learning about it, but she thinks Matt has dysgraphia. I'm so thankful to have a name for what Matt has been struggling with. As soon as we were home from conferences I got on the computer and started researching.
Here comes the guilt. I found an article explaining this learning disability, symptoms and learning strategies. The more I read the more I recognized things that Matt has struggled with. Things we used to battle over. It has to do with spacial reasoning. People with dysgraphia are often very intelligent, but can't put their thoughts to paper well because of having to walk through how to form the words. Another symptom is not being able to hold a pencil in the normal way. Matt makes a fist to hold his pencil. There are other symptoms as well, enough for me to print out the article and send it to Matt's teacher. I highlighted everything that reminded me of Matt. I feel horrible for having battled over these things and now I realize it was not his fault.
On the plus side. Matt's teacher has already begun to work with him. His school is going to provide therapy so he can learn how to properly hold his pencil, and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting is going to be scheduled. That means that Matt will have the help he needs with assignments and tests. All of this a relief to me because at least now we have an answer to something that we have always wondered about.