View Full Version : Dysgraphia anybody?


hetware
03-29-09, 05:15 PM
I noticed that this sub-forum is very slow. I hope this post gets noticed.

I was diagnosed with dysgraphia in grade school. That proves that the condition has been recognized for at least four decades. Nonetheless, it seems that very few people take it seriously. It is my firm belief that my dysgraphia and my ADHD are tightly coupled.

Anybody else in this boat? I searched for the word dysgraphia and got 85 hits on addfourms. Since the general public knows very little about the topic, that strongly suggests that dysgraphia and ADHD are strongly coupled.

olavia
03-29-09, 05:46 PM
I also think dysgraphia and ADHD is linked. The last year because I was diagnosed, my writing got increasingly worse to the point that I almost couldnīt write. And it was almost impossible to read what I wrote. After Ritalin it improved, then I could watch the Ritalin go out as the handwriting deteriorated in the afternoons. After Strattera, my handwriting changed completely to the better.

hetware
03-30-09, 09:59 AM
I also think dysgraphia and ADHD is linked. The last year because I was diagnosed, my writing got increasingly worse to the point that I almost couldnīt write. And it was almost impossible to read what I wrote. After Ritalin it improved, then I could watch the Ritalin go out as the handwriting deteriorated in the afternoons. After Strattera, my handwriting changed completely to the better.

It is interesting that your handwriting was not consistent. Do you have trouble forming letters at times? Things such as the pen going in the wrong direction, or dropping certain motions from the act of forming a letter? I have those problems as well as problems mixing letters from contiguous words. Often what seems to happen is that I start thinking about the next word before I am finished writing the previous one and that causes me to mix the two.

Your observation that Strattera helped your handwriting is significant. That is the first positive indicator that I have encountered regarding taking the medication. Everything else I've seen has been negative.

I liked dexedrine. It worked! It made me feel good! It made me productive! My handwriting was not always good, but I was working on that before they took me off Dexedrine.

olavia
03-30-09, 03:38 PM
So, let me try to remember the problems. One problem was that it felt like I could not controle my hand enough to write. Instead of using the kind of fine movements needed, I would move the whole hand, which would feel like I got a cramp after a while. ( I was always told my grip is wrong, and I think fine motor skills were always the problem) If it was really bad, Iīd start out fine on a line, only for the handwriting to get more and more unreadable towards the end of the line. I would drop the last part of words, because then my mind was already on the next word. It could happen that Iīd mix part of the next word into the last one as you said because of this, but that was not a big problem. Anyway, I sometimes do that when I talk too. I wouldnīt have the patience to write whole words and shorten everything in ways that only I would understand, and not at all the patience to write full sentences.
So it was a mixture of movement and attention issues, I think.
My handwriting really does change according to medication.
Maybe I should make a sample of my handwriting before and after meds on my page.
:-))
Great to hear that dexedrine works for you. I am an optimist. I think a lot of things can change with the correct understanding of the problem and the right treatment.

sarek
03-30-09, 03:56 PM
As long as I recall I have had the most atrocious handwriting for miles around.
People would makes comments on hieroglyphs and sumerican writing. That is, if they were being kind.
My parents even put me on special lessons to improve my handwriting by making me do mind numbing exercises. But nothing ever helped.
I can praise the prophets of binary for inventing the computer, without it I would be dead in the water.

Gianfranco Zola
03-30-09, 07:52 PM
Have it. My handwriting is awful.

Amusingly, my Japanese is a lot better.

Botje
03-31-09, 03:51 AM
yup, thats me. Had trouble writing from first grade. Did special courses to improve writing (exercises, writing stuf). not much help.
during highschool i had to write a lot so i had enough practice to put a semi-readable handwriting on the paper.
It is still bad, and gives me problems with tests. pain in my hand, not readable, mixing up words, in my mind i am a few words ahead.
very annoying.

APSJ
04-02-09, 06:17 PM
I have dysgraphia as well, which in my case is attributed to fine motor and visual memory issues.

I virtually never write by hand. I never previously associated it with my ADHD. Neither my medication, nor extensive practice ever helped with it. The only time it really causes me problems is when I'm someplace where I need to take extensive notes, and its not practical to bring a laptop.(for reminders, short notes, I use a PDA).

A few weeks ago I saw a NY Times article discussing how the prevalence of computers is making handwriting less and less common. It suggested that its becoming a lost art and that in the future, today's children may have to bring their parents handwritten letters to experts to have them deciphered. This made me extremely happy, but when I happily shared it with my fiancee(who has decent handwriting) she had the opposite reaction. Go figure.

dormammau2008
04-07-09, 10:39 AM
i reslenty saw! that there are 28th diffent! forums ofve dyixliaea it was hard enough to get heaD around 2or 4 diff kindss but how i we serpouesss to worout that meny????? confussing or what

dorm wounder if there a few forums ofve dysgraphia

APSJ
04-23-09, 02:27 AM
I'd like to try and revive this thread in light of my current experience, and to raise a few questions.

I was diagnosed with "Disorder of Written Expression" over ten years ago. I haven't been evaluated or treated for it since then.

I have always had terrible handwriting, and been very quick to tire when writing by hand, but I can write fine on a computer. Thus, "disorder of written expression" doesn't sound like an accurate description of my problem. Looking through the DSM IV codes, I came across one "motor skills disorder" Developmental Coordination Disorder. It seems that both these disorders have variations that just involve fine motor skills and handwriting. Its not at all clear to me what the difference between them is.

Also, as Hetware noted, it seems like people with ADHD commonly have problems with handwriting, but its not a DSM IV criteria for ADHD. So what, if any, is the relationship between them? Is it just a matter of people with ADHD being more likely to have other disorders generally? It seems to me that this problem is more common than most other comorbid conditions.

I have been able to use a computer for virtually everything I do, so this problem has not interfered with my life in a major way. Now, however, I am going through the process of applying for accommodations on a state licensing exam so that I will not have to write by hand for hours on end. They require medical documentation no more than three years old. Having no idea what kind of documentation they want or who to get it from, I asked my psychiatrist, who informed me that I'd have to see a neuropsychologist. I quickly found local neuropsychologists, including one practice catering to people looking for documentation for accommodation requests. They charge around four thousand dollars. It seemed ridiculous to go through that kind of testing just to show that I can't write by hand, so I opted to go to an occupational therapist for testing, but since they can't diagnose, I'll have to have the report forwarded to a Dr. for a diagnosis after the testing. The deadline for submitting my accommodation request is rapidly approaching. It never occurred to me that this problem would cause me so much grief.

Has anyone else gone through anything like this?

Carissa
04-27-09, 08:20 PM
Bad penmanship is a disorder???? Count me in! When I was in elemetary school back in the 70's I was always getting in trouble for my unreadable writing. In my opinion teaching cursive writing to little kids in school makes little sense. Printing is hard enough!:p

APSJ
04-27-09, 09:06 PM
Bad penmanship is a disorder???? Count me in! When I was in elemetary school back in the 70's I was always getting in trouble for my unreadable writing. In my opinion teaching cursive writing to little kids in school makes little sense. Printing is hard enough!:p


My third grade teacher felt nothing was more important than handwriting. It seemed like we had a dozen sheets of 100 cursive letters to copy every day. I would get twenty or so malformed letters copied when it would be announced that anyone who still hadn't finished the sheets, would have to do them at home.:(

My handwriting legibility and speed have improved only marginally since then.

madelefant
04-27-09, 09:09 PM
My third grade teacher felt nothing was more important than handwriting. It seemed like we had a dozen sheets of 100 cursive letters to copy every day. I would get twenty or so malformed letters copied when it would be announced that anyone who still hadn't finished the sheets, would have to do them at home.:(

My handwriting legibility and speed have improved only marginally since then.


Wow. I had a flashback. I remember that anyone who isn't done crap. What a nasty tactic. Makes me recall my feelings about teachers as being more terrorist than anything.

Mike

Carissa
04-27-09, 09:56 PM
My third grade teacher felt nothing was more important than handwriting. It seemed like we had a dozen sheets of 100 cursive letters to copy every day. I would get twenty or so malformed letters copied when it would be announced that anyone who still hadn't finished the sheets, would have to do them at home.:(

My handwriting legibility and speed have improved only marginally since then.

I wish I could hug you-I still remember the shame of having to do book reports in "Social Studies" that I actually enjoyed doing. & getting points off for my "penmanship" It took away the joy. :(

APSJ
04-28-09, 01:06 PM
Wow. I had a flashback. I remember that anyone who isn't done crap. What a nasty tactic. Makes me recall my feelings about teachers as being more terrorist than anything.

When I think back on trying to make those rows and rows of letters, I can vividly recall just how awful it was. I became a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes around this time, and began to emulate some of Calvin's behavior toward his teacher. Oddly, this did not improve the situation. Remnants of the negative feelings toward teachers that resulted from my third grade experience persist to this day. I'm now engaged to a teacher, and when she tells me about kids who are behavior problems I find I instinctively take their side.

I wish I could hug you-I still remember the shame of having to do book reports in "Social Studies" that I actually enjoyed doing. & getting points off for my "penmanship" It took away the joy. :(

I had that happen too! I was lucky though. After third grade, I switched schools, and the new one had computers and didn't bother with handwriting.

Johnnny
05-14-09, 08:48 AM
My handwritting was horrible as a child, but practice fixed that... My grammer and spelling is still bad but i manage :)

angie1960
05-14-09, 12:57 PM
I always thought it was because I'm smart - like a doctor's writing

QueensU_girl
05-15-09, 11:17 AM
You can be smart and have dysgraphia. Dysgraphia (graphomotor LD) is a motor issue, not an Intelligence issue.

ginniebean
03-30-10, 03:00 PM
I have dysgraphia, never paid a darn bit of attention to this word prior to today, looked up the symtoms, OMG bang on.. when I have something it seems I get the whole enchilada.

Anyway, it's not just handwriting. I can't figure out punctuation and apparently this is part of it.

Spelling can be too tho I don't have that problem.

Any idea on how to make handwriting legible (I can't read certain words I've written, they sort of start out ok but turn into a squiggle mush at the end.

APSJ
03-30-10, 03:22 PM
Before I gave up entirely, and decided to type everything, without regard to custom, manners, instructions, or accepted practice, I found using fountain pens somewhat helpful, as they require less pressure and mitigate my tendency to bear down on pens and tire myself out quickly. On the other hand, they're pricey, messy, and very easily broken.

MyGuysMom
03-30-10, 03:38 PM
My son is being evaluated for it next week. He's 8, and has been working on motor issues related to writing since first grade. No matter how much they work with him and no matter how much the appearance of his writing improves, he cannot do it quickly. Cursive is a bit better for him, but he has to get used to using it. So far typing is proving slow too. He has visual processing issues, so coordinating his hands, getting his thoughts out, etc. is all too much. Aside from the mechanical aspects of writing, he just cannot get the information in his head out onto paper. He can tell you the answer to a math problem, but if you ask him to write out he just sits there.

I remember my mother's tales of handwriting hell when she was in school. I don't know if she had dysgraphia (although I wouldn't be surprised), because she went to school in the 1930s and 40s, so there was not much attention to this. She was constantly berated for her handwriting and spent the rest of her life putting herself down over it. She got kicked out of shorthand class and told, "this isn't art class."

Sit-n-Spin
03-30-10, 04:42 PM
I have no diagnosis, but have had problems with this all of my life. And I completed college before anyone even wrote papers on computers! :(

Some of us have posted about this issue and some resources (e.g. grips, weighted pens/pencils) in a thread I started about OT/Fine Motor Skills/Dysgraphia/Left-Handednes. (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80469) You might find some of the responses there helpful, too.

bunkie68
08-10-10, 09:43 AM
I have dysgraphia as well, which in my case is attributed to fine motor and visual memory issues.

My son is 8, and has been diagnosed with ADHD combined type, dysgraphia, and fine motor skills delays. Handwriting is a struggle for him, and he still reverses letters, has problems with spacing, and has problems with letter size (sometimes his lowercase letters are as big as his uppercase letters). He also has problems with processing, so it's really hard for him to try to listen to information and take notes on what is being said. He gets very easily frustrated when he has to write something, and it takes a long time for him to complete what seems like a short assignment. The medications we've tried for the ADHD have helped him with focus, but haven't made any noticeable difference with his handwriting.

Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas has a dysgraphia program that I'm going to try to get him into. We'll see if it helps, if we can get in. I may also try some of the writing implements I've seen that are supposed to help with handwriting.

mimi'sdreaming
08-13-10, 10:03 AM
My son is being evaluated for it next week. He's 8, and has been working on motor issues related to writing since first grade. No matter how much they work with him and no matter how much the appearance of his writing improves, he cannot do it quickly. Cursive is a bit better for him, but he has to get used to using it. So far typing is proving slow too. He has visual processing issues, so coordinating his hands, getting his thoughts out, etc. is all too much. Aside from the mechanical aspects of writing, he just cannot get the information in his head out onto paper. He can tell you the answer to a math problem, but if you ask him to write out he just sits there.

I remember my mother's tales of handwriting hell when she was in school. I don't know if she had dysgraphia (although I wouldn't be surprised), because she went to school in the 1930s and 40s, so there was not much attention to this. She was constantly berated for her handwriting and spent the rest of her life putting herself down over it. She got kicked out of shorthand class and told, "this isn't art class."

My handwriting wasn't the best up until around ten years ago. That's actually when I felt like I came out of my "ADD fog". At that time, I didn't really realize that I actually had it. Even now I have good and bad days when I try to write.

MyGuysMom, my son is only 6 and entering first grade so we are just getting started on this. He has struggled with writing since starting K. He doesn't reverse letters, but still has a problem remembering to space, and his letter sizing sounds similar to your son. In other words, I never know what he will produce!

He will start keyboarding this year. From what I've read that seems to be hard for those with fine motor skills as well. I know there are several programs that you can speak the words, and it types the text on the computer. I actually saw one yesterday at Wal-Mart called "Dragon".

I agree that it's a shame we are moving away from the art of handwriting. On the other hand, for those little ones with severe problems these days, it may be a blessing. So much more is expected in school now.

Fortune
10-11-10, 06:38 PM
I used to catch so much flak for my handwriting, and I couldn't really get people to even believe that handwriting was painful.

The computer is a godsend, and reading about dysgraphia was a real lightbulb moment for me even before I'd come across ADHD.

One thing that frustrated me was trying to research dysgraphia more, most of it was about identifying and dealing with children who have dysgraphia, and I could find very little information about just dysgraphia by itself. It's not that big a deal as I almost never do any handwriting (just sign things and fill out forms occasionally), but I'd still love to find more regarding what having dysgraphia means and less "This is how you cope with students/your children who have dysgraphia."

I specifically want to find out how it affects fine motor control in general. My fingers are occasionally clumsy.

slpmom
10-16-10, 11:43 PM
both my kids have add (no hyperactivity)- one is also dygraphic but one has beautiful handwriting. I am a speech therapist and have many friends who are occupational therapists. I try to help my son as much as he will let me - it makes me so sad to see that is does not really get better with time but I hope he will use the computer more and more as he gets older. I just want things to be easier for him. He's having a tough time in school. Hates writing.

jhissom
10-18-10, 02:47 PM
very dysgraphic, working on my PhD, found a good toll for when I have to write, look up penagain it saves some writing pain. Also caligraphy was a good skill to learn. BTW typing is not a breeze either, using a program like dragon speaking or other speech recog software is good too.

sighduck
01-21-11, 05:30 AM
Ive actually read from a few sources online that poor handwriting can often be a symptom of adhd (not sure how much truth there is to those sources though) but i certainly do have a horrid handwriting teachers would ask me not to write my projects with pen... and i do believe that my matric results where very much affected by my handwriting.

the strange thing for me though, is that i can write neatly but i can only do it for a very short period, like the first paragraph of an essay and then i slip back into my messy handwriting. Also i have a strange tendency to make the "tails" on my letters like y and g extremely long, as in they will only end 2 lines down from where i started the letter i also once got accused of not doing my own project once because of the way my handwriting changes (i start writing neatly realise its getting untidy so i start writing neat again., looks like 2 people doing the work). another strange thing, dunno if this is the same for any of you guys, but i only learnt to make my own signature when i reached matric

and in reply to carissa
In my opinion teaching cursive writing to little kids in school makes little sense. Printing is hard enough!

i can assure you that this is not true, at my primary school the teachers made us write in cursive from grade 2 to 5... the teachers told me not to because the print is a lot easier to read when it is untidily written

Fortune
01-21-11, 05:56 AM
I've also heard left handedness could cause bad handwriting, but if my handwriting is typical for left-handed people, I am amazed that there's not a diagnosis for this (as there is for dysgraphia).

tipoo
01-21-11, 11:11 AM
A lot of what people have written here describes me perfectly. Dropped movements when forming a letter, moving the pencil the wrong way sometimes, writing looks like garbled junk in general. Writing more than two or three paragraphs literally causes me physical pain. I wish my parents or teachers knew this was a real medical condition, I've always gotten in trouble for crappy handwriting because they thought I was just lazy. I remember they made me do lots of extra handwriting work compared to the other kids in the lower grades, but I still write terribly.


Might be part of the reason I learned to pound out ~100WPM on the computer though.

Scotter
01-21-11, 11:41 PM
I have terrible handwriting and can't spell.
My son has terrible handwriting, can't spell, and has dysgraphia.

The difference between us is that while my handwriting looks like chicken scratches it is automatic, my sons is not. Non automatic writing is like that feeling where you know what word you want but you can't get it to come out. Sometimes another word pops out instead. KWIM? The word is at the tip of your tounge. Normal in speech occasionally, aphasia when it is always or most of the time.

So dysgraphia is like that but with writing. It is an expressive language disorder. He can recall information and respond orally but if asked to write he might be able to get a four word sentence out, with with effort. In the same way that aphasia can result in the wrong word coming out (boy when trying for man, as an example) so too with dysgraphia. When asked he describes it like this: I have to think so much about how to write that I forget what I was going to say. Same issue keyboarding, but not as severe.

One trick for handwriting is a pencil stub, as small as possible. It is much harder to hold a tiny pencil incorrectly. Mechanics helped my son with legibility but did not help the aphasia like aspects. It is a very frustrating disorder.

Dragon speech to text software is a lifesaver. Their iPad app was still free last time I looked. Also digital voice recorders sometimes come with the software at a good price.

hetware
03-18-12, 06:12 PM
For me it's mostly mechanical. My hand simply goes in the wrong direction when forming letters, or skips movements. One might think I'm just lazy and not trying to form letters and words correctly, but that's not what's going on. It just doesn't flow from thought to paper.

I have some trouble with typing, but proof reading usually gets my mistakes. I grew up before PCs were invented, so not being able to write was a major impediment. It still is if I want to go to school and be able to take notes. I simply cannot keep up.

silivrentoliel
03-20-12, 01:46 PM
My husband is dysgraphic and dyslexic- made writing papers hard for him in school- even just getting thoughts out onto the computer screen sometimes. He would talk and I would type exactly what he'd said, and we'd go from there... we make a good team when overcoming our "disabilities"...

QueensU_girl
03-25-12, 02:55 PM
Dr. Mel Levine's books cover Dysgraphia. Your library may be able to order them in.

MissesS
03-31-12, 07:15 AM
I just realized I have this. Always thought my shocking handwriting was due to ADHD.

I never had this issue as a child. I had beautiful handwriting as a child. I'm not sure when it started to develop. What I do know is that I'm struggling at work on meetings.
I just can't process what is being said and write it down. It like my hand is possessed! I end up half writing words, writing in various places around the page. I'm get very embarrassed in meetings with others because I just can't write notes! What's worse is that my memory is poor. If I don't write and I still cant focus on remembering what is being said - I'm screwed!

Anyone else also suffer at work? Is there any treatment for it? I did notice when taking dex I started to print and write words.

From what I've read, it manifests in adults after some sort of trauma - does anyone have any example of what this might be?

littlefidget
03-31-12, 12:46 PM
I have dysgraphia, although the main component is the speed of my writing. I'm a real slow writer, but I think that's to make up for all the other aspects... maybe?