View Full Version : Handwriting issues


ADHDWife&Mom
04-10-16, 05:08 PM
Hello,
New here and trying to find some help for my 10 year old son who we are currently trying to get evaluated for ADHD. His dad has it and we are fairly certain he does too.

He is in 4th grade and has been struggling. His handwriting is the major struggle and makes everything harder for him. He has very very sloppy handwriting that is barely legible. Quite honestly, it doesnt look much better than his 4yr old sister's hand writing (although we would never tell him or her that). It takes him so long to write anything that he gets behind on his school work. His teachers want to give him more handwriting practice because they think it will help him but it just discourages him more and he hates it. He doesnt find any value in writing and therefore he can not focus on it.

He has a huge vocabulary and talks a mile a minute. His teachers have talked with him about his subjects so they know that he knows everything on his tests but he cant seem to be able to get it written down, especially when they are timed tests. He is feeling very discouraged because he feels like he cant get anything right at school.
He goes to a private school and the teachers are trying to help (his teacher actually has ADD also and is on medication so she does understand his struggles). We just arent sure what to do to help him. He cant just not write, that isnt really something he can go on not being able to do. They have given him special seating to help him focus but it all comes down to the writing. It slows him down so much that he cant keep up with his work. We've tried letting him try typing on a computer too but he also finds it boring and hasnt gotten very good with it either. We've tried print and cursive handwriting and they seem equally difficult for him. We've tried pencil grips, different shaped pencils, paper with wider lines, different desks, clipboards, etc. We arent sure what else to try.

Has anyone else dealt with handwriting problems that were causing this much trouble? Did you find anything that helped?

aeon
04-10-16, 05:35 PM
My ex-gf’s youngest son went from chickenscratch at the speed of molasses in January to legible, and relatively neat, even, cursive and printing after his Dx of ADHD-PI and his Rx of Adderall.

It was nothing short of amazing in that it was like turning on a switch.


Cheers,
Ian

ADHDWife&Mom
04-10-16, 06:04 PM
My ex-gf’s youngest son went from chickenscratch at the speed of molasses in January to legible, and relatively neat, even, cursive and printing after his Dx of ADHD-PI and his Rx of Adderall.

It was nothing short of amazing in that it was like turning on a switch.


Cheers,
Ian

Just meds helped that much? Im not sure what ADHD-PI is, can you explain?
Thanks

Simargl
04-10-16, 06:16 PM
I had serious handwriting issues in grade school.

I remember having to see a teacher one on one for a certain amount of time each week where we focused on improving my handwriting. That must of helped me because I've been told that my printing looks like a computer font.

With today's technology... I wonder if there are any games or apps that have been made to make the practice more enjoyable.

Simargl
04-10-16, 06:18 PM
And as a side note.. I know we all handle things differently but I absolutely hated the practice too but something must've stuck with me.

aeon
04-10-16, 06:47 PM
Just meds helped that much?

Yes.

Meds work that way for a lot of things with ADHD, but I was surprised
that it changed his handwriting overnight because I assumed that would
involve muscle memory and whatnot, and would take some time.

It showed he had learned how to write, but his lack of executive function
meant he could not demonstrate what he actually knew how to do all along.

Im not sure what ADHD-PI is, can you explain?

ADHD, Primarily Inattentive presentation.

---

When I was a tot (1st grade) there was a girl in my class named Diana
(last name withheld, that’s how strong this memory is) who had lovely
handwriting, and when I saw the praise she got for it, I decided I was
going to get good handwriting too. :)

Well, I never got as good as Diana, but mine went from bottom-rung to
something much improved. I suppose my need for praise was just that
strong. ;)

Like Simargl, it stuck with me. Here’s something quick and dirty on blank,
unlined paper from the handwriting thread on these forums...

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1663/25752093384_ac3466cb76_b.jpg
(https://flic.kr/p/FeCdb5)ianswrit (https://flic.kr/p/FeCdb5) by aeon314159 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/25942094@N05/), on Flickr


Cheers,
Ian

ADHDWife&Mom
04-10-16, 10:52 PM
Thank you both for your help

sarahsweets
04-11-16, 03:05 AM
My son is 20 now, adhd. He received OT from pre-school through 10th grade for his handwriting. We used to think he needed to try harder and slow down but physically, he did not have control that way. It wasnt his dexterity, he has no issues now with fine motor skills. In high school when we met with the OT, it was decided that he had reached his peak. No amount of therapy at that point would improve the handwriting beyond what it was. In school I had to go up against the school to allow him to use a word processor/ laptop in class and this was a life saver for him.
He always tested off the chart for IQ and never had any issues knowing the material. He had issues with showing that he knew the material.
Thank god I only had to have it out with a couple of teachers over this. Once they understood that it wasnt because he was lazy, that he physically couldnt write better they worked with us. Meds were a life saver. If you want to read about our story check out the sticky in children's diagnosis.

Windhelm
04-11-16, 12:19 PM
My son is 20 now, adhd. He received OT from pre-school through 10th grade for his handwriting. We used to think he needed to try harder and slow down but physically, he did not have control that way. It wasnt his dexterity, he has no issues now with fine motor skills. In high school when we met with the OT, it was decided that he had reached his peak. No amount of therapy at that point would improve the handwriting beyond what it was. In school I had to go up against the school to allow him to use a word processor/ laptop in class and this was a life saver for him.
He always tested off the chart for IQ and never had any issues knowing the material. He had issues with showing that he knew the material.
Thank god I only had to have it out with a couple of teachers over this. Once they understood that it wasnt because he was lazy, that he physically couldnt write better they worked with us. Meds were a life saver. If you want to read about our story check out the sticky in children's diagnosis.

I know this is weird, but what immensely improved my handwriting was using a different medium. Specifically, an inexpensive fountain pen. It forces a person to slow down in order to use it well. I use a Noodler's Nob Creaper Flex (set me back $15) and fill it with ink meant to fountain pens. I get little 2mL samples, which gives me a ton of colors for very little price. Big bottles will last the average writer forever, hah.

dvdnvwls
04-11-16, 01:32 PM
In my adult life, I've had moderate but real success after throwing away the looped cursive style I was taught in school, and re-learning on a simpler more logical pattern. One such pattern (with instructions, examples, practice sheets, the whole works for free) can be found on the website briem dot net. Looped cursive writing as our grandmothers learned is not really a good method for anyone to be learning, but for a lot of kids with ADHD it's pretty much a disaster.

If looped cursive writing is not the problem, but simply getting any kind of legible letters, then the advice everyone has given already sounds right to me.

ADHDWife&Mom
04-11-16, 08:41 PM
My son is 20 now, adhd. He received OT from pre-school through 10th grade for his handwriting. We used to think he needed to try harder and slow down but physically, he did not have control that way. It wasnt his dexterity, he has no issues now with fine motor skills. In high school when we met with the OT, it was decided that he had reached his peak. No amount of therapy at that point would improve the handwriting beyond what it was. In school I had to go up against the school to allow him to use a word processor/ laptop in class and this was a life saver for him.
He always tested off the chart for IQ and never had any issues knowing the material. He had issues with showing that he knew the material.
Thank god I only had to have it out with a couple of teachers over this. Once they understood that it wasnt because he was lazy, that he physically couldnt write better they worked with us. Meds were a life saver. If you want to read about our story check out the sticky in children's diagnosis.

Thank you, I have read your story and it was very helpful to read. Thank you for sharing. Right now I am so worried that things will be so hard for him forever and I just dont know where to start. Right now its like a waiting game just to get him evaluated before we can even start.

I know this is weird, but what immensely improved my handwriting was using a different medium. Specifically, an inexpensive fountain pen. It forces a person to slow down in order to use it well. I use a Noodler's Nob Creaper Flex (set me back $15) and fill it with ink meant to fountain pens. I get little 2mL samples, which gives me a ton of colors for very little price. Big bottles will last the average writer forever, hah.

Thank you for the suggestion. We actually got him a calligraphy pen last year to try writing with. We thought it might help to get him to slow down and to try different styles. He was excited it about it for a few days and drew beautiful letters but they were huge. Basically he would turn a regular paper sideways and could just fit him first name (7 letters) across it. It has several tips to make the letters smaller but he found it more difficult when writing actual sentences. He also made a mess with the ink because the "figitiness" makes him want to take things apart and mess with them.

In my adult life, I've had moderate but real success after throwing away the looped cursive style I was taught in school, and re-learning on a simpler more logical pattern. One such pattern (with instructions, examples, practice sheets, the whole works for free) can be found on the website briem dot net. Looped cursive writing as our grandmothers learned is not really a good method for anyone to be learning, but for a lot of kids with ADHD it's pretty much a disaster.

If looped cursive writing is not the problem, but simply getting any kind of legible letters, then the advice everyone has given already sounds right to me.

We havent even attempted any looping cursive. We just want to work on printing manuscript right now. We tried regular simple cursive as an option because his teachers said that sometimes kids find it easier than printing when they have printing problems. Really they both seem equally difficult for him to write but he has trouble remembering the cursive letters so it takes him longer to write using cursive simply because he has to think about what the letter looks like before writing it. Then it seems to distract him from what he was trying to write in the first place.

dvdnvwls
04-11-16, 11:51 PM
... so it takes him longer to write using cursive simply because he has to think about what the letter looks like before writing it. Then it seems to distract him from what he was trying to write in the first place.

I suspect that for your son the looped letters are permanently a bad idea and that he should just never bother with them - unless he wants to play with them in his spare time.

weaselish
05-18-16, 09:17 PM
There is a learning disorder (sometimes related to functional memory learning disorders) called dysgraphia that he should be tested for if he is of at least average intelligence (sounds like he is -- that is one prerequisite). This is my first post here -- sooner you can do this the better for him and they can stop wasting his time trying to write in cursive if he has this or some type of fine motor skill problem and focus on his learning, using a laptop for note-taking and writing (laptops are good for people with sensory issues as well because they don't flicker like larger monitors -- you can easily adjust brightness and I have read things about the type of screen they use being easier for autistic people and people with sensory disorders).

This is probably an issue separate from ADHD.
I have auditory problems, so I know how hard ADHD+extras is, but what he is going through sounds a lot more taxing on him. Going back to cursive is the completely wrong approach to this problem.

I went to a private school for a long time, and we had one lady who served as speech/language therapist, disability tutor, etc. You need to find that person, maybe set him up to meet with them so that he can be tested and given tools he can use, whether it is overlays for reading, different colored paper to write on, tests separated from the class in a quiet office, use of a school laptop for test-taking and note-taking, general assessment of his needs... for so many kids, we go through hell for no reason...sometimes something as simple as more time to take a test or being in a quiet room can make all the difference in the world. I really hope this is how it works for him and that you can get him help sooner rather than later -- summer is here, do it before next schoolyear so he will be ready on Day 1.