Reading Challenges and Growing Pains: A Shared Relationship???
- A tearful child pulling you from a deep sleep sobbing with leg pains…
- A tearful child refusing to read because it’s too hard…
- A tearful child not wanting to go to school because of reading, writing, or recess frustrations…
- A dreaded call from school because your child is not participating or is disruptive…
- A recurrent meltdown after school…
If any of these resonate with you and your family keep reading.
Renewed Hopes, Dashed Dreams
Fall used to be a time where I would wait to see how many days or weeks, if lucky, before getting a call from school. Never exactly for the same reasons, there was a similar thread from year to year. “He’s not participating in class,” “He’s not turning in assignments,” “He’s distracting other students,” the start of school was always a time of renewed hope and dashed dreams.
My son didn’t do his assignments because the motor skills needed for them were too hard. He didn’t write down his assignments because that was more writing and he couldn’t complete it in the time allocated. He didn’t want to go to school because he knew he’d get in trouble for not completing his homework—he was too mentally exhausted from the physical demands of behaving in school to do homework at night. He was totally spent. To add to the overall stress levels, he didn’t always sleep well with growing pains in his legs. (Yes, we had an IEP but I’ve not observed schools having the resources to do the type of problem solving required to more completely address these typical concerns.)
What to do? Piece by piece, I was able to restore my son’s micro-movements when he would let me here and there.
First up were posture-related micro-movements. These helped with fatigue associated with sitting all day. They were also the same relationships that helped reading. A stable body supports the fluent eye movement needed for reading. He began to read which began to make school a little easier. He could keep up with material being covered and he always had something to read on his Kindle, so he didn’t get into trouble for distracting others.
Next up came legs. Teen growing pains are very real and create both emotional and physical stress when persistent. As his leg stability changed, his motor skills changed and PE class was more enjoyable.
Arms and hands were next. Improving both shoulder movement and hand control were key to improving fine motor skills used in incidental writing (math, assignment books, and key boarding.) He liked that his Xbox gaming skills were also improving. (Graduation and Birthday thank-you notes were not a struggle either!)
Physical Stress, Reading, and Micro-Movements
The reason the micro-movements are not working well are usually different—often reading and fine motor skills have yet to develop completely. The joint and muscle aches are typically associated with micro-movements thrown off kilter from rapid growth or messed up from past injury. The micro-movements associated with stable visual skills and fluent fine motor skills are often the same movements related to physical stress causing joint and muscle pain, so restoring them can improve many things all at once.
Over the past two years my son has grown about 7 inches taller, began reading more, gotten much more organized, and can write clearly enough for me to read it! For the first time since kindergarten he is enjoying school and handling its responsibilities all on his own. I truly believe much is possible!
From infants to adults, we restore your micro-movements quickly returning you to the movement that define your life.
A Note from Cara
Fall, a time of transition for many!
Students with new schools, or teachers and parents with new expectations, new activities to try, and new goals with activities of old.
As the seasons change we see clients’ concerns change. Sports injuries and growing pains over the summer turn to reading and writing challenges in the fall. What’s interesting is the underlying reasons for all of these tend to be similar.
As parents, we hope we’ve equipped our students with all they need for success. However, the demands of new situations may come with unexpected challenges. Two obscure ways we help your student’s reading and growing pains can actually be related.
I spent most of last week at EMBC 2014 (Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference 2014.) One of the presentations discussed research findings that seem pretty intuitive—poor alignment is inefficient and uses more energy to move. The movement implications they studied related to older adults, but the same issue is present with many children we see. Once we restore missing micro-movements, overall movement is easier and there is less fatigue. This allows better focus for school, recreational activities, and family time. Imagine fewer meltdown moments!!!