Today I had a meeting with Matthew's teacher(s). Now that they have been going to school for over two months, he has brought home glowing reports twice. But his teachers and his parents (all three of us) agreed that we had to address some issues.
Matthew and Justin were preemies, Justin was the smaller one. He also suffered a stroke shortly after birth that resulted in some mild CP and he has an unrelated hearing loss, which was corrected with aids from 4 months of age and surgically at 2 and 3 years of age. He received services at the Pető Institute and conductors in region (here is an article about an American family that came out to Pető) from birth, and his speech-language-hearing training began at the same time he received his first hearing aids. Through the years he qualified for fewer and fewer services, and he has always been in mainstream education. After our move to Budapest he attended a Jewish pre-school where the alefbet was taught early on, and he learnt to read both Hungarian and English to 1st and 2nd grade level when he was 5.
My kid excells in reading and math. He behaves really well. He participates in class work and he religiously uses his hearing aids--he only needs them in the classroom--so he won't miss anything. He loves talking about his Krav Maga and dance classes, both of which he loves, even if he is not the best dancer out there. He has also improved socially and he loves, loves, LOVES school.
But... yes, you knew there was a but. Matthew has major trouble using a pencil. After two months he still can't draw a straight standing line with a decent sized pencil. Well, mostly any pencil. He has major trouble holding one for long, as his hand starts to cramp, stiffen and just generally... it's torture for him. He can read cursive, he can fingerpaint letters, it's not that he doesn't know them. He just can't WRITE them.
We keep working on his hand muscles, and yes, the idea of using his other hand has come up - Matthew is left dominant; actually he is so left dominant that his heart is on the right side. :-D But that really is not an option at this point, as his right hand is a LOT more spastic than his left.
His teacher is very concerned abiut his inability to write. Yet when I asked her when it was the last time she wrote something by hand that wasn't for her class, she started to think. Yeah, exctly my point. My kid can type. He types way better than I do. He will eventually learn to write. It will take time. And it will take a lot of work. I hope, I pray that we will get some good pointers in Budapest later this month.