Common Core Failure: Doctors Say Children Can’t Hold Pencil Anymore

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One of the HUGE pieces of Common Core was trading paper and pencil for electronic devices in the classroom with pre-loaded curriculum that parents were not allowed to view, and the results have been catastrophic.

A group of doctors is now saying young children in the digital generation can’t even hold a pen or pencil anymore.

Senior pediatric doctors are stating that the overuse of touchscreen phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently to enable them to hold a pencil correctly.

Common Core Failure: Doctors Say Children Can’t Hold Pencil Anymore

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“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” pediatric occupational therapist Sally Payne said. “Children coming into school are being given a pencil. They are increasingly not be able to hold it because they don’t have the fundamental movement skills.”

Pediatricians are blaming the erosion of basic motor skills on the changing culture among schools and parents who rely heavily on technology.

Schools are not providing enough basic writing at school and the problem is exasperated at home.

One mother admitted to reporters that she had only given her son high tech gadgets to play with. It left him unprepared for grade school.

“When he got to school, they contacted me with their concerns: he was gripping his pencil like cavemen held sticks. He just couldn’t hold it in any other way and so couldn’t learn to write because he couldn’t move the pencil with any accuracy.”

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Mellissa Prunty, a pediatric occupational therapist who specialists in handwriting difficulties in children, is also concerned that increasing numbers of children may be developing handwriting late because of an overuse of technology.

Different primary schools focus on handwriting in different ways. Some using tablets alongside pencils, Prunty said. This becomes a problem when same the children also spend large periods of time on tablets outside school.

“Without research, the risk is that we make too many assumptions about why a child isn’t able to write at the expected age and don’t intervene when there is a technology-related cause,” she said.

Common Core curriculum has handwriting targets for every year, yet they are far less than pre-Common Core.  Common Core also targeted cursive writing. The much larger push has been introducing technology into the classroom. That technology has replaced not only paper and pencils in many cases, it has also replaced textbooks.

(Common Core technology is also being used for data gathering on schoolchildren, but that is a whole different story.)

It is not just writing skills that have been affected.

Payne said the whole nature of play has changed. “It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes. Because of this, they’re not developing the underlying foundation skills they need to grip and hold a pencil.”

Speech is being affected as well.

As the number of smart phones, tablets, electronic games and other handheld screens in U.S. homes continues to grow, some children begin using these devices before beginning to talk. The 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting presented new research. It suggests these children may be at higher risk for speech delays.

By their 18-month check-ups, 20 percent of the children had daily average handheld device use of 28 minutes, according to their parents. Based on a screening tool for language delay, researchers found that the more handheld screen time a child’s parent reported, the more likely the child was to have delays in expressive speech.

For each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time, researchers found a 49 percent increased risk of expressive speech delay.

“Handheld devices are everywhere these days,” said Dr. Catherine, the study’s principal investigator and a staff pediatrician and scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). “New pediatric guidelines suggest limiting screen time for babies and toddlers. We believe that the use of smartphones and tablets with young children has become quite common. This is the first study to report an association between handheld screen time and increased risk of expressive language delay.”

It’s undeniable that technology is changing the world where our children are growing up.

There are many positive aspects to the use of technology. But the effect on social interaction, communication, and physical ability is setting us up for a disaster.

It begins in the home, and becomes exacerbated in the classroom. Common Core increased the problem on a national scale, introducing technology en masse to replace textbooks, paper and pencil.

If you are unfamiliar with Common Core, the best place to begin is with Dr. Jane Robbins’ 5 part series. I encourage everyone to watch.

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