View Full Version : Handwriting?!?!


SheTaz98
11-07-13, 11:37 AM
Hi!! Any tips on how to get my 6 year old to write so that the teacher can read it? Messy is fiine with me just need to be able to figure out what he is trying to write! :confused: I tried getting him to slow down (he said it hurts his hand) and putting pencil grips on his pencils. Any suggestions? Thanks, Tammy.

ccom5100
11-07-13, 01:01 PM
I haven't used it, but have heard great things from parents with special needs kids about the "Handwriting Without Tears" program.

addthree
11-07-13, 01:31 PM
Good question. I have always had bad handwriting. It plagued me through school until college. Once in college you can print and teachers cut slack over the mess if you prove to be smart. I just can not write nicely even if I slow down and be patient. Some of us are just geared that way. And teaching all the cursive styles really just made it worse. It is also painful for me to hold a pencil. your child may get better but do not put them down over it. How many doctors have legible handwriting?

dvdnvwls
11-07-13, 03:22 PM
In the "olden days", everyone had decent handwriting. In the "olden days", there were three things done to accomplish that: rigid standards, endless practice, and harsh punishment. Today, luckily, we know enough to skip the harsh punishment, and today the rigid standards that your great-grandmother's teacher used are long gone. All we're left with is the endless practice.

As an adult, I've changed my handwriting to a simpler style as found at http://www.briem.net - that type of thing may help your son, or it may just confuse the issue. In any case, my opinion is that the best way is a modified version of two out of the three parts of the old-fashioned method: endless practice, and having some kind of external standard where your son can actually see the difference between what he's got so far and what his goal is - not just hearing "Nope, not good enough yet". I like that little free website because it moved my writing from poor to fair by simplifying things and giving me a visual standard (I printed out pages and kept them on my desk while practicing) - but for your son, use whatever works.

zette93
11-07-13, 04:52 PM
Write a letter (it's important that it's in writing) to either the principal or the head of the special education department at your school, requesting an evaluation for occupational therapy. He may qualify for extra help with grip, forming his letters, etc.

MADD As A Hatte
11-08-13, 01:41 AM
Hi!! Any tips on how to get my 6 year old to write so that the teacher can read it? Messy is fiine with me just need to be able to figure out what he is trying to write! :confused: I tried getting him to slow down (he said it hurts his hand) and putting pencil grips on his pencils. Any suggestions? Thanks, Tammy.

I had the same "messy" handwriting issue with both my children. On advice, I found them an Occupational Therapist, and they both had a couple of terms with her. OT's have specific training in children's developmental issues (fine motor skills, co-ordination etc.)

I was surprised to find out how important a child's handwriting is to their future literacy. In the early primary years, they learn to shape symbols and then to associate them with phonetic meaning, and then progressively they develop more complex literacy skills.

Poorly formed handwriting, if not dealt with, will impact negatively on the child's reading/writing skills. You can google the Spalding method for lots of good information on this stuff.

dvdnvwls
11-08-13, 02:07 AM
I was surprised to find out how important a child's handwriting is to their future literacy. In the early primary years, they learn to shape symbols and then to associate them with phonetic meaning, and then progressively they develop more complex literacy skills.

Poorly formed handwriting, if not dealt with, will impact negatively on the child's reading/writing skills. You can google the Spalding method for lots of good information on this stuff.
Those are some of the claims of Spalding's advertising. I don't think there's any merit behind the claims. I have excellent reading skills, I'm a proficient speller in several languages (though I don't speak them well), and my handwriting is trash.

purpleToes
11-08-13, 02:35 AM
My handwriting has gone to heck since keyboards took over my communications. I'm interested in trying out italic that was shown on the Briem.net page. Very cool, Dvdnvwls, thanks!

This page shows the transition from a simple zigzag movement to actual lettering.
http://66.147.242.192/~operinan/4/4.1.1a/4.1.1.1.quick.htm

SheTaz98
11-08-13, 12:48 PM
Thanks everyone for the ideas I will def give them a look. When I went to Catholic school as a child I was paddled for my handwriting. =( Thank goodness the school my son goes to is not like that!!! Looking back on everything I know I was/am ADHD, but back then I was just a nervous, loud talking, daydreamer! Tammy

mctavish23
11-08-13, 07:23 PM
An Occupational Therapy (OT) referral from the pediatrician / primary care physician, for

fine motor coordination problems is the preferred treatment. ADHD impairs (novel) fine

motor sequencing, which translates to poor handwriting. Good luck.

tc

mctavish23

(Robert)

MADD As A Hatte
11-09-13, 04:21 AM
I don't think there's any merit behind the claims.

I don't believe in taking as doctrine unsubstantiated advertising claims, either. I've never seen any Spalding
advertising, so I wouldn't know what they claim.

I came to it through my children's Occupational Therapist, who used it.
Long short ... I have considerable experience. as a parent, and can speak to
the veracity of the success of the Spalding method.

Quite honestly, when it came to raising my two ADHD children, I didn't touch anything with a barge pole that couldn't stand up to scrutiny. The thing that convinced me is that when you examine it, you find that the underlying method is delightfully old fashioned. It is basically the same phonetics-based education which (almost) everyone up until about 1970, received through primary school. Back when we were also taught proper cursive handwriting.

I'd be very interested to learn from your experience with Spalding education.
Cheers
.

mctavish23
11-09-13, 11:52 PM
lol

I have "perfect" handwriting for the exact same reason.

tc

Robert

dvdnvwls
11-10-13, 12:19 AM
I don't believe in taking as doctrine unsubstantiated advertising claims, either. I've never seen any Spalding
advertising, so I wouldn't know what they claim.

I came to it through my children's Occupational Therapist, who used it.
Long short ... I have considerable experience. as a parent, and can speak to
the veracity of the success of the Spalding method.

Quite honestly, when it came to raising my two ADHD children, I didn't touch anything with a barge pole that couldn't stand up to scrutiny. The thing that convinced me is that when you examine it, you find that the underlying method is delightfully old fashioned. It is basically the same phonetics-based education which (almost) everyone up until about 1970, received through primary school. Back when we were also taught proper cursive handwriting.

I'd be very interested to learn from your experience with Spalding education.
Cheers
.
I don't doubt that the handwriting is valuable in itself & for itself. I don't believe that learning good handwriting has anything in particular to do with reading skills and learning in general, and I already explained that my total lack of Spalding experience, zero experience with phonics, and my atrocious handwriting have led to my being an excellent reader, excellent speller, good writer, proofreader, and editor, who still has atrocious handwriting. In other words, good handwriting's tie-ins with the rest of education - the notion that without good handwriting other things suffer - has just been proved false (not that that hadn't already been done).

MADD As A Hatte
11-10-13, 02:28 AM
I don't doubt that the handwriting is valuable in itself & for itself.

I am not an expert in developmental brain disorders, so I defer to ADHD professionals and academics (Barkley, et al) for relevant information.

I'm not an expert in early childhood education, nor literacy, so I take the same approach in those disciplines. Amongst others, I have read: Sheffied, B (1996); Medwell & Wray (2007); Nunes, ed. (1999)

Cheers
.

messyme
11-14-13, 10:18 AM
Good handwriting can be very important. My son struggles with messy handwriting and it affects all areas of his academics.

In math, his teacher is sometimes unable to understand what he has written because his handwriting is messy, and because it's unorganized (ex: starts on one part of the page and when he runs out of room, continues elsewhere -- it's hard to follow). Also in math, if he doesn't line his numbers up properly (ex: in an algorithm), he may put a number in the tens column when it belongs in the ones column, and make a mistake. I've seen kids do this many times if they have messy writing.

In languages, my son has to concentrate too much on his handwriting and, partly becasue of this, it leaves less brianpower to use to concentrate on the content of what he's writing. If a person writes easily and quickly and legibly, it is much more automatic and they can concentrate on what they're writing instead of how they're writing it.

I have always had vey neat writing, and very fast also (although it does get less neat as I write faster, but it's still very legible). I learned to write in cursive and had to write in cursvie for a few years at school, but once I was allowed to print again, I quickly went back to printing. I hate cursive even though I was okay at it. When I write fast, I kind of do attach some of my letters together as they would be in cursive, but mainly they're seperate. I write very, very often and sometimes I prefer it to typing although I'm quite a good and fast typer also. I'm constantly handwriting (printing) notes, etc. I may have mild ADHD and writing helps me organize my thoughts. I believe that being able to write/print well is important.

I agree that many years ago, pretty much everyone had at least decent handwriting. I know it's more difficult for some people than others, but I don't think that it's impossible for most people to at least have handwriting that's at least legible and fairly easy/quick. I know that because my son's grip etc. are okay and he never says his hand hurts from writing, it's probably just a matter of practice. And as they say, "practice doesn't make perfect -- perfect practice makes perfect". This doesn't apply completely here as the handwriting practice doesn't have to be perfect, but I do think that it's not just the amount of writing that my son does that will help him improve, but I know I have to help him practice GOOD handwriting -- staying on the lines, keeping spaces between words, forming letters properly, etc.

I have also been looking into this and came across the "Handwriting Without Tears" program as well. It seems to be a very good program and quite inexpensive. I just made and printed out my own writing paper (saw what they had on their site and made my own with double lines and spaces in betweeen). They have other things you can order like a 4x6 chalkboard, but I might just buy a small whiteboard (can cut it if I want it to be smaller). Besides those things, the main thing I'll need to order is the student/teacher guide. I'm going to buy the Grade 2 printing guide (I think that's what it's called); maybe in the future I'll buy the cursive guide. Acutally though, I think I read somewhere that the first printing guide (for youngest children) has all the info you need and in more detail, so I might buy that one.

My son's teacher has been teaching cursive and has suggested that maybe writing in cursive, rather than printing, might help my son. My opinion on this is completely opposite; I think he should focus on just improving his printing first. I'm going to talk to her to see if he can do this (and maybe practice his printing at times that others practice cursive; although, even if he doesn't use cursive, I don't think learning to shape the letters will hurt -- it might help his coordination and fine motor skills. He even has trouble drawing shapes like a triangle or square).

I've read certain places that teaching kids to type (properly, not hunt-and-peck typing) can really help; and so can the use of a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking. Those are good ways to compensate and can help a child write a story if they don't have to worry about messy handwriting. But, it's my opinion that if strategies are used to compensate, the child should still continue to work on actually fixing/improving the issue.

As I said, my son struggles with coordination and fine motor skills, and I think that helping him with his handwriting will help him with his fine motor skills in general, in other areas. So that's another reason that I want to help him improve his handwriting.

mommytriz
11-19-13, 07:09 PM
This thread reminded me of this article I read last spring and luckily I was actually able to find it.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201303/what-learning-cursive-does-your-brain

My 9 year old daughter is going through the hand writing without tears with her OT & finds writing much easier than printing and though doesn't find it necessarily "fun", she likes to see her improvement week to week.

zette93
11-19-13, 07:42 PM
I have also been looking into this and came across the "Handwriting Without Tears" program as well. It seems to be a very good program and quite inexpensive. I just made and printed out my own writing paper (saw what they had on their site and made my own with double lines and spaces in betweeen). They have other things you can order like a 4x6 chalkboard, but I might just buy a small whiteboard (can cut it if I want it to be smaller).Handwriting Without Tears is excellent. The chalkboard is only used to teach the shapes of capital letters. For a pre-K or K student who is struggling I do think the chalkboard is superior to a white board -- the technique is called "wet dry try", and the child traces the shape of the letter with a tiny wet sponge, then a dry bit of paper towel, then with the chalk. It gives a lot of tactile feedback you wouldn't get with a whiteboard. The boarders of the chalkboard form a physical rectangle that later relate to gray squares in the workbook. Probably not necessary for a 3rd grader who mainly has trouble with spacing, but very good for a child who is either very young or having extreme difficulty with individual letters. I'm not sure why they don't continue the chalkboard with the lower case letters -- I think it might've been helpful to do so for my DS.

Lunacie
11-19-13, 08:25 PM
We were surprised and disappointed this morning at my granddaughter's
IEP meeting to learn that she will not be getting any more OT for her
handwriting, even though it's still mostly impossible to read and she's 12.
They claim it's not a question of motor skill?

messyme
11-20-13, 02:07 AM
Handwriting Without Tears is excellent. The chalkboard is only used to teach the shapes of capital letters. For a pre-K or K student who is struggling I do think the chalkboard is superior to a white board -- the technique is called "wet dry try", and the child traces the shape of the letter with a tiny wet sponge, then a dry bit of paper towel, then with the chalk. It gives a lot of tactile feedback you wouldn't get with a whiteboard. The boarders of the chalkboard form a physical rectangle that later relate to gray squares in the workbook. Probably not necessary for a 3rd grader who mainly has trouble with spacing, but very good for a child who is either very young or having extreme difficulty with individual letters. I'm not sure why they don't continue the chalkboard with the lower case letters -- I think it might've been helpful to do so for my DS.

Thanks, this is helpful to know. Wouldn't they begin with lower case letters? I think when I was young in the '70s we did upper case first, but nowadays kids are "supposed to" learn lower case first because they're so much more common in writing/reading, and maybe even easier to form. Maybe in special cases though, upper case first is easier.

danielwarren
12-07-13, 01:56 AM
Hi Tammy, a trick I learnt was to use a holder "something to increase the thickness of the pencil/pen" this reduces the cramping that tiny hands get with holding things. A phonics program I use to teach my children recommends regular relaxation, and flexing of the hand to strengthen the fingers etc. It's not so much his writing is messy, its more he lacks fine motor control, which is not so unusual.

SheTaz98
01-17-14, 04:14 PM
I talked to my son's doctor and she gave me a prescription for a occupational therapist to help with his fine motor skills. We are going to give this a try and I will let you know the results. Thanks for the help!!