Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know
Even toddlers who can barely hold a crayon thoroughly enjoy “writing” all over a sheet of paper, or, if paper is not provided, all across a newly painted wall. Parents should encourage this love of drawing and prevent artistic efforts from appearing on unwanted areas by providing the child with a box of writing materials, including large crayons or washable markers and large sheets of paper. Children will begin to write first by scribbling and then proceed to drawing increasingly accurate representations of letters and words.
A bulletin board, the refrigerator door, or some other prominent location can be used to show the results of his efforts. Displaying his work and talking about it with the child gives him the best reward of all—your interest, encouragement, and enthusiasm. See box titled “In and Out of the Garbage Pail,” for a story of a young child who used his imagination to create his own link to writing.
At kindergarten age, your child might draw a picture and “write” a string of five or so squiggles under it with perhaps a letter or a number thrown in, but he will know exactly what his writing says and with very little prompting will “read” it back. He has yet to learn how to hold a pencil, the correct posture for writing, and the direction that writing must take, which in English is from left to right and top to bottom. But nothing seems to contain his desire to draw and copy letters and then words.
Some children at age four or five may lack the fine motor skills required to form anything but scribbles and drawings. This is why encouragement by parents will go a long way to helping him through this stage of development. These days, the computer keyboard and some excellent software can provide youngsters with an enjoyable way to begin learning the mechanics of writing and to pick up other motor skills as well. We do want to emphasize, however, that parents do not need to be overtly concerned about the mechanics of writing. Schools, after all, tend to devote a considerable amount of the curriculum to writing activities.