Deviations in the development of grapho - motor skills

12. srpna 2014 v 15:16 | Prof.PhDr.Rudolf Kohoutek,CSc.
Deviations in the development of grapho-motor skills in a child with difficulties are manifested in particular by an uneven development, or development which is retarded with a view to the child's age. During school attendance, when the pupil is learning to write, deficiencies in grapho-motor skills could signal problems and disharmony in psycho-motor abilities.

Grapho-motor problems and disorders are most frequently manifested by a poor coordination of body movements and articulation organs which makes correct pronunciation difficult. This is due to the relationship between motor functions and the child's psyche and the maturing of his/her nervous system. Early detection of individual problems and deficiencies in the child's grapho-motor development may therefore play an important role in the prevention of writing disorders which would otherwise only be manifested during school attendance. Sluggish writing pace and insufficient automation of grapho-motor movements would then cause the child serious problems in all his/ her attempts at written expression (not only in writing classes). Should problems with mastering the correct letter shapes persist, the child's handwriting would be not only untidy, cramped and messy but also difficult to read and comprehend. Moreover, if the child becomes more aware of his/her problem, it may weaken its inner motivation as far as writing is concerned, and that leads to written expression which is poor in content and uncreative (Lipnická, 2007).
In the Czech Republic, there is an educational counseling system which, pursuant to a decree on educational counseling, includes educational counseling centers: pedagogical and psychological counseling centers and special pedagogy centers, as well as in-house counseling centers at primary and secondary schools. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports established the Institute for Pedagogical and Psychological Counseling which provides methodological guidance to the entire educational counseling system (Pešová, Šamalík, 2006). Pedagogical and psychological counseling centers are staffed by psychologists, special pedagogists, prevention methodologists, social workers, and in some cases, also social pedagogists. Special pedagogy centers staffed by psychologists, special pedagogists, and social workers are intended to work with children with certain handicaps. In-house counseling centers at schools are staffed by an in-house psychologist, in-house special educator, in-house prevention methodologist and career advisor. In the counseling work, less and more severe difficulties must be distinguished. Where the disorders are more severe, cooperation is required, not only with the family and school, but also with a psychiatrist or other health specialists.
Re-education means renewed education using special pedagogic procedures and work methods designed to develop impaired or undeveloped functions.
There is no single re-educational approach suitable for all children: it needs to be based on the individual child and the specific manifestations of his/her difficulty or disorder. Re-education has to be based on quality diagnostics of problems, their severity and manifestations, as well as the condition of mental functions.
Re-educational methods and tools and areas on which activities should be focused are identified. Re-education starts at a level where the child can still manage, and only then demands are escalated. For instance, deficiencies and disorders in motor skills, locomotion and praxis are first addressed by exercising perceptive-motor functions which are the cause of the problems and which needs to be addressed and developed. For instance, where the child suffers from dysgraphia, the training starts with relaxation exercises of the entire hand, with a focus on both gross and fine motor skills; coordination of movements is also practiced. Where the disorder is combined with dysorthography or dyslexia, sensory perception exercises are also included - visual and auditory perception. Reeducation employs an approach involving as many senses as possible, in combination with the word, movement and rhythmization. It is important to design exercises targeting the specific problem, and to monitor their effect. Some children require further care in their regular school environment even after the reeducation process is completed; for instance, a slower writing pace, poorer handwriting quality and layout need to be tolerated. a sensitive personalized approach to the child and his/her parents is a must.
As with other difficulties and disorders, the sooner we start working with the child, the greater the chances of improvement. Reeducation is a long-term process. The main objective is to teach the child to live in regular living conditions. The situation is more serious in those cases where the difficulty or disorder was not adequately diagnosed. In a regular class, individual approach may be difficult for the teacher who, however, may help the pupil with a learning difficulty or disorder by giving him/her more time to complete assignments, by allocating shorter assignments to the pupil, by using various aids. The teacher should first and foremost assign tasks which can be fulfilled and should know how to praise.
Personality development is not the same in all children, and is often not ideal. Educators and psychologists must seek ways for working with the mental abilities and potential personality of all pupils, more effectively than ever before, so as to help their pupils be successful at school, in the work process and in life.
Special attention needs to be paid to behavioral difficulties in children and youth, their detection, classification, prevention and rectification.
Ten categories of behavioral difficulties were proposed; these need to be distinguished precisely from behavioral disorders and personality disorders.
If the school is to work successfully with problem children, school staff need to be informed not only about the basis of learning difficulties and behavioral disorders, but also about forms of depistage of children with behavioral difficulties and disorders, about interventions and options for continuous and systematic cooperation with pedagogical and psychological counseling centers, bodies involved in child and family care, courts, police, etc.
Behavioral disorders caused by personality disorders, neurosis, mental retardation or dementia need to be addressed in collaboration with psychiatric facilities for children and youth.
Difficulties, i.e., educational and learning difficulties which still fall within the broader norm, can be resolved by means of pedagogical and psychological tools.
Difficulties are usually determined by an entire complex of conditions and causes which is important both for their diagnostics and rectification.
The conditions and causes for the occurrence of behavioral difficulties can be the following:
biogenous - congenital factors, including heredity
sociogenous - e.g., parentogeny (caused by the family), pedagogeny (caused byupbringing or education - Helus, 1991)
psychogenous - due for instance to intellectual passivity, escalated pubescentchanges of nature, etc.
Educators need to exert a deliberate, purposeful and consistent influence over the
individuals being educated so as to ensure positive development of their personalities. For such efforts to be effective, we first need to get to know the children in the educational process well. Such knowledge is a must. That is why we perform pedagogical diagnostics during our educational efforts. The detected condition then serves as a basis for an individual re-educational approach to the children, as well as the procurement of
further adequate specialized professional help, if required.

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