Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The teacher says... toewalking (and more)

Parent teacher conference time always stresses me out.  Last year this time (kindergarten, mind you), I was informed that my visually challenged daughter was ... "A Slow Cutter".  This particular teacher didn't seem to buy into all of Belle's eye issues which made for a challenging year.  Fast forward and my daughter has made so much progress. At this time, we are "off the patch".. though we go back to the eye doctor the week after Thanksgiving, which is approaching rather rapidly - next week, in fact... Well,  unlike last years teacher,  her current teacher seems to be very in tune with Belle. After going over her report card (she did great!) and talking about how she has blossomed into a pretty darn good reader.. we went on to talk about a few areas of concern.

Belle has a hard time with the lined paper intended to teach children handwriting. The center (dotted) line really tends to throw her off. Not only does it take her a long time to write using this paper... it is exacerbating her already not so good time management skills and is a major source of frustration. What is surprising is if you give her paper that is smaller rule without that center line, her writing improves drastically both in legibility and the time it takes for her to write the word.   

In the beginning Belle was reading books right to left instead of left to right.  She also at times skips words or lines when there is a block of text.   This didn't totally surprise me and with accommodations she is addressing it. It helps if she uses  her finger, cards, and filters to keep her place.

Belle is tipping her head and positioning her body a lot in class in such a way that she appears to be really favoring her right (good eye).  This makes me very nervous that at our next eye doctor visit (Only a week away). I'll remain hopeful.

But the one that caught me by surprise was when she shared that she has observed my daughter Toe Walking, on a rather frequent basis.  Her older brother having Autism, it would be expected that she may mimic some of his behaviors. Toe Walking often goes hand in hand with Autism so her teacher thought it could be something she picked up from big bro.  I wish it could be that simple. But, her brother doesn't toe walk and never has.  I've spent the afternoon racking my brain about the toe walking.  I can't say I have ever noticed my daughter doing this. Not that she doesn't, but that I've not ever noticed.   This is something that we will discuss with an Occupational Therapist and some testing/eval, at the eye dr. next week, and with her pediatrician.  I want to get some answers.

And so I'm left wondering -

  • Is this related to her eyes? 
  • Is this something she picked up from another child?
  • Is she trying to be taller? 
  • Is this sports/muscle related? (she skates & dances)
  • Or is it something else?
Related Links:

Toe Walking and Vision: Unlikely Travelling Companions That We Need To See To Believe!

Co-Morbid Visual Problems Autism & Amblyopia
How Vision Therapy is Saving Stella's Toes & then Some
Autism, Strabismus & Amblyopia
Its not my eyes, its my brain


  1. Hi this the first time I have read any of your blog. My daughter was just diagnosed with amblyopia. I am sure there is more info on here that could help me with my response, but I will just put it out there as an idea.
    My son, 7, was a toe walker. I was just wondering if your daughter is tall? That was his problem. He grew so fast his bones got longer faster than his muscles did. He just had tight muscles and did stretches and it helped a lot. Also making him aware helped too.
    Good luck to you! I hope her appointment goes well! ♥

  2. Hi there! My daughter was diagnosed with ambylopia 3 years ago at age 6. Kindergarten seemed to go well, except that her teacher mentioned time and again that when it came to doing her work, she seemed very involved to the point where she was always the last one finished and had to be pushed along. Her grades were good and she moved to the first grade.

    We are in a new school district this year and the first grade teacher and I had a conference last week. The teacher said that my daughter needs to work faster and takes forever to do any of her work. I recently noticed that my little one has been writing right to left on occasion...even her letters are backwards...like she wrote while looking in a mirror. I brought this up to her teacher who shucked it off as being nothing to worry about.

    Since moving, we have had a really hard time finding my daughter a new doctor. There is only one within 30 miles and they cannot get her in until January. Her last appointment was July.

    I'm a little concerned and, after reading your post, I am beginning to think that maybe I am not as well informed as I thought I was, about my daughter's condition.

    My daughter wears glasses and patches after school and on the weekends. The doctor we had before, monitored her progress, but didn't mention anything about the time it takes my daughter to color, write, and read.

    Are these things common with kids with amblyopia? I think I'm going to try the single lined paper writing and see if her writing improves.

    Thanks for posting, I always love to see other parents write about their kids. I feel like I'm not all alone.

  3. You are such an awesome mom!You are my hero! This web site is a tremendous resource!

  4. Just wanted to let you know that toe walking can also be a sign of higher sensory input needs that are not necessarily related to autism.

    I toe walk, two of my sisters and my brother do also. We also have massive calves ;)