Correcting mistakes in written work

(23 Posts)
Dancergirl Thu 01-May-14 15:03:19

Dd2 is 11, Year 6. She is a bright girl and off to a girls' grammar in September which she's really looking forward to.

She is mildly dyspraxic and although her handwriting is of quite a mature style, it does get a bit messy when she's in a rush. But the thing I'm noticing a lot is how much crossing out there is.

How does your child correct mistakes? My older dd uses blue ink so can use an ink eraser. Dd2 writes in black so it isn't an option. I try and encourage her to write/plan writing tasks first on rough paper which she isn't keen to do.

How important is good presentation? Will it be an issue at secondary school?

I presume tipp-ex is a big no-no these days??

HercShipwright Thu 01-May-14 15:15:53

Perhaps she could use a keyboard? DD1 is very dyspraxic (as is DD2). When she started at her Grammar School, despite the school technically/officially knowing about her challenges etc, she still found, in Y7 and to some extent in Y8, that certain teachers either hadn't read the memo or hadn't understood the memo (and in one instance 'didn't believe in' dyspraxia). This made things occasionally difficult for her. Her challenges extend rather further than handwriting, but 'shoddy presentation' certainly put her in some teachers' 'bad books' and first impressions are difficult to dispel. Eventually (not soon enough) we approached the school. She was re-evaluated and moved to using a keyboard for practically everything at the end of Y8, and her Y9 teachers were all given much better information about dyspraxia in general and her issues in particular and things went well from then on. It helped I think that one of her Y8 teachers, who wasn't particularly 'up' on dyspraxia previously, saw beyond her 'shoddy presentation' and became something of a champion for her. DD2 will be starting at the school in September and the school is being very proactive indeed about discussing her issues and potential needs. The moral of the story is, I think, communication.

Dancergirl Fri 02-May-14 14:00:44

herc does your dd touch type? Otherwise it would be very slow I imagine.

I could go down the keyboard route but dd has spent years at primary feeling she doesn't fit in. I think it would draw a lot of attention if she used a keyboard which she wouldn't want. I also think handwriting is still important.

How can she improve her handwriting and overall presentation? Is crossing out frowned upon at secondary school?

HercShipwright Fri 02-May-14 14:35:34

Dancer She didn't when she began using a keyboard. She does now. It has completely levelled the playing field and in some ways put her in advance of her peers since of course in the real world keyboard skills are more useful than neat handwriting, which isn't actually important at all, and she has been able to spend time devising coping strategies for other everyday things affected by her dyspraxia which don't have an easy fix like using a keyboard.

If you are absolutely convinced that you daughter has to plug on with handwriting, then my own experience (as a dyspraxic person who wasn't ever given the option to use a keyboard at school because that option just wasn't there in those days) was that making my handwriting very big and round was the best way to make it legible and speedy enough for timed exams etc. My handwriting - which was cursive - was about twice the size of that of most of my friends, but it was legible (mainly) and 'going large' hurt my hands less than trying to keep it small. Ultimately though, you can't learnt not be dyspraxic and every coping strategy has elements of compromise in it.

Dancergirl Fri 02-May-14 15:00:06

What about Maths where they are writing down calculations?

AElfgifu Sun 04-May-14 13:07:42

I am a secondary teacher, and I am dyspraxic, and I feel very strongly that dyspraxics are disadvantaged by being encouraged to rely on a keyboard.

Handwriting and dexterity with your fingers are so important to normal day to day life, and the less you write, the worse you become at it. I see many nondyspraxic teenagers losing vital dexterity and coordination through constant typing, and it is even worse if you are dyspraxic.

I learnt the hard way to commit myself to at least half and hour of hand writing every day of my life, whether I have anything I need written or not, because I lose the skill so fast, even a week's holiday disables me more when I return to work.

HercShipwright Sun 04-May-14 13:36:44

I'm a dyspraxic, and parent of two dyspraxic children, and I completely disagree. You don't need handwriting in normal life (I'm a professional - a proper one, the sort of profession that you have to pass competitive exams as a post graduate to become a member) and everything is keyboards these days (not so much when I started in ye olde ancient times obviously). Dexterity is better preserved/enhanced by doing things designed to improve dexterity, such as the exercises you get from the OT, or by learning a musical instrument. Touch typing is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have in the modern world, and it is harder for dyspraxics to acquire thus better to start early. Dyspraxics have so many other challenges in school, wasting time and effort on handwriting when it could be spent developing coping strategies for other things is just nuts, IMO. And also the opinion of the various OTs who have had my girls under their care.

mrz Sun 04-May-14 15:49:05

I agree with AElfgifu anyone who can't write is handicapped - everything is not keyboards these days, far from it and many employers ask for handwritten covering letters from applicants.

Recent research shows that handwriting is better for learning whereas using a keyboard may actually impare the learning process.

HercShipwright Sun 04-May-14 16:29:18

Mrz anyone with dyspraxia is handicapped. And handicapped people are entitled to reasonable adjustment to mitigate that handicap. They shouldn't have to (and aren't expected to) try and pretend they aren't handicapped. The idea that if you just practice your handwriting hard enough you too can magically cure your dyspraxia is very dark ages. It implies that dysoraxic people are just lazy. In fact we generally have to put much more effort in than other people to achieve everyday tasks.

mrz Sun 04-May-14 16:34:57

So why further handicap them HerShipwright?

AntiDistinctlyMinty Sun 04-May-14 16:37:44

Would it be possible for her to use a keyboard in school, in order to keep up with her classmates and help her presentation, but practice her handwriting at home?

One of my good university friends is dispraxic and found that she needed to write every day to help keep her dexterity at its best. She couldn't manage to do it in lessons though so typed in class and wrote a diary by hand in the evenings. It took the pressure out of the handwriting, and when she wasn't rushing to keep up her writing was much clearer...

BackforGood Sun 04-May-14 16:38:28

Thing is Herc - even if you do all your 'formal' stuff by word processing, there are LOADS of things you need to write every day - from a birthday card to a shopping list, from notes you take for yourself, to notes you write to other people.
My handwriting is very poor, and I'm aware on a daily basis of it, as I always have to write things.

HercShipwright Sun 04-May-14 16:38:58

You can't cure dyspraxia with handwriting practice. It's a wrongheaded thing to even suggest.

BackforGood Sun 04-May-14 16:42:32

No-one has said you can, but you can keep the muscles in use - just the same with any muscle.

mrz Sun 04-May-14 16:43:16

An extract from a 2012 article

Research indicates that handwriting influences reading, writing, language,
and critical thinking.

Yet, statistics show that not all students are being provided with adequate instruction for this foundational skill.

As students become increasingly reliant on communication via digital device, some educators have shifted their focus from handwriting instruction to teaching keyboarding instead. In the 21st century classroom, keyboarding is
undoubtedly necessary, but teaching this skill in lieu of handwriting can leave students at a disadvantage.
If handwriting isn’t learned and practiced (especially in the earlier grades), students are not given the opportunity to experience the related benefits of this skill that has been shown to

• increase brain activation.

• impact performance across all academic subjects.

• provide a foundation for higher-order skills.

children and adults with dyspraxia DCD can and do learn to write and do a host of other tasks given the right support a keyboard is a cop out.

AntiDistinctlyMinty Sun 04-May-14 16:44:54

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you can cure dispraxia with handwriting practice; just that completely stopping with handwriting will only make that particular skill deteriorate.

I'm also a 'proper' professional btw (a pharmacist) and I spend a lot of time writing by hand. Typing is more prevalent in jobs these days, but it has by no means replaced hand writing. Nor is it likely to while there are still customer facing jobs around.

kelda Sun 04-May-14 16:47:16

My ds is five and a half, with verbal dyspraxia and also problems with fine motor skills.
His teachers and therapists have recommended that he has physio to help woth fine motor skills, to help him when he learns to write. We live in Belgium where the education system places a lot of empahsis on being able to write well, and draw diagrams eg. for exams children are asked to draw and label a heart.

I am happy for him to have the physio (it's a specialist physio).

kelda Sun 04-May-14 16:52:25

Also I am hoping that the physio with help with fine motor skills so that he can one day start learning a musical instrument.

I fully expect him to grow up using technology to communicate, but it is useful to be able to write clearly and to improve all motor skills so that he has more of a choice when he is older.

mrz Sun 04-May-14 16:56:31

The Teodorescu Perceptuo-Motor Programme is recommended by most paediatric OTs working with children with dyspraxia and by the Dyspraxia Foundation, for developing the fine motor and perceptual skills for effectice handwriting.

HercShipwright Sun 04-May-14 17:23:12

There is a difference between being able to write a legible birthday card (or prescription) and writing several essays in timed conditions in important exams. My DD1 got 100 UMS in several of her English and history GCSE papers. She wouldn't have been able to get anywhere near that if she had not been allowed to use a keyboard. I write for a living (not exclusively, I also talk) and I wouldn't be able to do what I do without having keyboard skills as good as a typist's. Dyspraxic kids can and do learn to write well enough (arguably in some cases but you work with what you have) when young, but by secondary school the emphasis is on being able to write essays etc and, in those sorts of subjects, the use of keyboards is essential to level the playing fields. My DDs are both excellent musicians - in that limited sense they are extremely dexterous, and their finger muscles are obviously trained and supple, but the difference there is that hand eye coordination is not relevant (and indeed impossible for some instruments). DD1 is on course to study music at university/conservatoire. But she couldn't write an essay which adequately demonstrated her ability in English, history, music or geography (her A level subjects) if she couldn't use a keyboard. An emphasis on handwriting qua handwriting, instead of on being able to do the task in hand (write an essay) is, as I said, wrongheaded. The transfer to secondary school is an appropriate time to develop the skills you will need for the public exams, rather than condemning a child to keep banging away at something that will never really pass muster when compared to non dyspraxic people. It actually runs counter to the life lesson of developing effective coping strategies.

Anti sadly, there are reasons other than poor handwriting why a dyspraxic person might not be best advised to consider pharmacy as a career. If a dyspraxic person really wanted to do pharmacy they'd be spending more time trying to get better at measuring stuff, decanting things from one container to another etc (OK I realise that dispensing might not be the only element of pharmacy that a person can do, but it's part of it, right. Or am I completely misguided here?). And presumably they'd have to pass lots if science exams which might involve interpretation of graphs etc first, which could also pose difficulties. sad

I wonder if you all think that people with dyslexia who benefit from tinted lenses would be better served just practising trying to read without them? It's the same idea. Sometimes the most effective coping strategy for someone with an SEN condition involves doing things differently than people without the condition. Dyspraxia is all about the coping strategies.

mrz Sun 04-May-14 17:37:15

When they talk about effective handwriting they aren't talking about signing a birthday card

AntiDistinctlyMinty Sun 04-May-14 18:09:59

I wasn't suggesting pharmacy as a career necessarily, Herc, just pointing out that there are plenty of places where you still do (and always will) need to have some ability to write legibly.

I also think that it's important for children with dyspraxia to develop keyboard skills (hence my suggestion that OP's DD uses a keyboard at school) especially in the run up to exams. I just think that the idea that they don't also need to keep going with handwriting outside of the classroom is quite shortsighted. The OP specifically mentioned that her DD's handwriting gets worse when she feels rushed - so a diary/writing project that she can do in her own time at home may help her to feel more confident with it.

AntiDistinctlyMinty Sun 04-May-14 18:16:45

Sorry - that wasn't quite clear. I'm not suggesting that it would rid her of the issues the dyspraxia causes, just that by developing her confidence with writing, and finding her own way with it, she is less likely to be stressed or worried on the occasions when she does have to write something down.

It certainly helped my friend with those situations - she used to have a real panic if she was asked to fill out her address in a shop, or write her phone number down for something. After switching to a keyboard for seminars/lectures and working on her penmanship in her own time she's lost that pressure and panic.

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