Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Slow Cutter

 This has taken me a few weeks now to swallow, mull around inside my brain, feel sick to my stomach about, mull around some more - and finally sit down and put my thought into words.

I recently had the pleasure of my daughter's parent-teacher conference for Kindergarten. Kindergarten conferences at my school tend to be short and sweet. You sit down with the teacher who tells you how cute your kid is, and shows you their first period report card highlighting how great they are doing and minimizing the road bumps.  Being that I know the drill,  I went in with my list of things I wanted to discuss with her teacher.  It is not surprising that my concerns mostly dealt with how her vision challenges are impacting learning.  Recently I've noted more worksheets in her folder tagged "finish at home" and Belle letting me know that she didn't have enough time to get it done.  Also, her weekly workbook pages can take her a very long time to complete. As in 4 pages of work taking between 2-4 hours when talking to other parents with the same workbook and hearing how it takes their child well under an hour to do the same.  So, the 4 or 5 pages take what seems to be an eternity but  when they are finally completed.. the finished product is really well done and quite neat.  Over the past few months her writing has improved tenfold. Its gone from gigantic, backwards and often illegible to pretty darn good. Not too shabby for my little lefty!  Still, the time it takes to get that sparkly end product is outright painful.

Now, I know and recognize that all children are different.  After all, my son has autism - so I know all about different learners.  More and more I realize that even though Belle is not autistic, she is a "different" learner and her vision (although improving) does make a significant difference.

At my daughters conference I was greeted with the usual smiles and small talk (which went by all too quickly) and then tone turned to frowns and crumpled up faces.   It went something like this...

 Belle is really a smart cookie and I enjoy having her in my class. She is so excited to be at school and extremely cooperative.   (Smiles Smiles, that's my girl).  But... She's a slow cutter.

I blinked.  Excuse me?

Yes, she is a slow cutter.     And, she is too slow when working at centers and seatwork.  Other kids are up and enjoying free play or moving to the next center and she is still working.  

And so we spent the next 45 minutes discussing and rehashing and rehashing again about her vision. Her teacher seems to think that it is all really that my daughter is a perfectionist and that her vision has little to do with it all.  I know that it does.  I also acknowledge that she is a bit OCDish and a perfectionist.  I also know that she is hyperaware of the fact that she should stay within lines, write - cut - and color neatly.  She is also a lefty and has notable issues with 'crossing the midline'.  All of this coupled with her vision means she needs extra support (as well as time).

Telling her to hurry up and cut faster isn't the answer.


  1. I often wonder about my just turned seven year old in first grade. The teacher tells me that he isn't doing his work, etc. But I know with his Amblyopia he simply doesn't feel like doing it with his bad eye sight.

  2. I feel your frustration as I too experienced the same thing with my son who had his first teacher conference. Yes he's cute and wonderful BUT...
    I was disappointed as well BUT realized this after several days and several conversations with my inner now more patient self and my his dad. He has never been in any class setting, we just found out he had this problem and not all teachers know what Amblyobia is so I decided to email some articles, some sites, printed out some new medical information regarding how it is also a brain/eye problem. It isn't perfect and I doubt it ever will be,but do as I do and remind yourself that you are the advocate and remind the teacher and the school how if everyone is on board than it is better for that child's learning development (your child) and how much you would appreciate their help. Hang in there.
    Punch a wall if you have to and than smile and go about your motherly business. Good luck. I hope this helps a bit