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uschis5
uschis5 asks:
Q:

My 5 year old Ella has been able to read for 2 years.  She can't write to save her life. Is this a learning disability or just slow fine motor skills?

All five of my children read by the age of 3.  I have been blessed with very intelligent children.  Ella Grace is now 5 years old.  She speaks English and German.  Ella is learning Chinese and reads English on a 3rd grade level.  Her verbal skills are years ahead of her pears.  
The child can't write to save her life.  She can barely write her name.  All my other children were writing in sentences by this age.  She practices but can't seem to write without using the dot-to-dot method.  Repetition does not help.
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness, Learning disabilities
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Feb 2, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk.

It is not developmentally unusual for a child of five years of age to not have adept fine motor skills that would make for writing that is not awkward. Dot to dot and other fine motor exercises would seem age appropriate and helpful with developing these skills.  Here is our link on kindergarten writing skills: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Kindergarten_Writing/

If she makes no progress or there is concern by her teachers, then a referral to the school to see if she has a learning disorder may be needed. However, at this time what you are describing would not set off "alarms".

Here is another link about  typical five year old development:
http://www.clayton.k12.ga.us/departments/instruction/prek/developmentalmilestones.asp#Developmental%20Characteristics%20of%20Children%20Ages%204-6




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Additional Answers (3)

lynellen
lynellen writes:
In which language does she write?  Is she more proficient with writing in one particular language?  When learning letters, it is much easier to learn them using your large muscles first writing very big on a huge piece of paper or marker board.  Have your daughter talk herself through the movements as she practices writing that letter.  Ask her to write the letter large with her eyes closed to see if she can visualize the letter in her head.  If she can write the letter with her eyes closed, then you will know the motor memory pattern is there as well as the correct picture of the letter in her head.  Then move to smaller paper on the desk for writing.  Practice writing letters in fingerpaint, sand, etc. for a multi sensory approach.  If she continues to struggle, you may want to have an occupational therapist screen her motor skills.

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NannaHelen
NannaHelen writes:
Writing does require different skills and her fine motor skill may not be as well developed as your other children. I would suggest that you allow her to develop more naturally in this area without putting too much pressure on her. It would be a shame if such a promising little girl felt she was failing at five!

Playing with dough, threading, sewing, colouring, drawing and just growing up a little should resolve this.
Also, ball games will help.

If you are still worried, once she starts school you should take her to an occupational therapist for assessment and assistance.
> 60 days ago

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MitchP
MitchP writes:
Hi, I also have a 5 year old boy with the same problem. Good thing that I enrolled him to a Montessori school and the teacher is very patient to him. Aside from class my son has special education teacher 3x a week. The SPED teacher helped him do activities to develop fine motor skills in just one month my son improves. And I am very optimistic that he will do better in the next few months.
> 60 days ago

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