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Difficulty writing - hypermobility?

(10 Posts)
LadyDowagerHatt Tue 22-Mar-16 08:30:05

I have posted in the past about my little girl who has global developmental delay and is hypermobile. My son is 5 and a half and NT. However we have always been concerned about his writing - he is just not able to hold a pen well and press hard enough, as a result his writing is pretty much illegible and is way behind his peers, even the youngest boys (he is in reception). School raised it last term and we agreed to practise in and out of school. At parents evening last night the teacher said she thought it was something physical rather than developmental and has advised us to see our GP to get a referral to OT. She said she noticed that when reading he traces words with his second finger rather than his index finger. He also points with this finger. She said that he was doing well in all other areas and was concerned that this could hold him back. For example the ones who have done well with reading will start spellings in the summer term - his writing is so bad that it would be impossible to tell if he had spelt the word correctly. He is also starting to notice that he is struggling and is behind his peers.

He can zip his coat up and makes lego models etc so he doesn't seem to have any other issues with his fine motor skills. Not great at using play scissors though but I put that down to lack of practise as he never willingly does crafts and cutting.

I have got him the pencil grips and they help a little.

Just wondering if anyone has had anything similar, any advice? I'm thinking it could be hypermobility in his fingers but I'm no expert, it's just with my little girl being hypermobile. I know it isn't a big deal as he is bright and able with everything else but I am feeling inexplicably upset that he is struggling with this - I think I had poured all my energy and worry into my little girl and just thought he was doing great. Ridiculous really as it is good that it has been spotted and he is getting the support he needs.

frankiebuns Tue 22-Mar-16 11:14:26

My son is 5 and has jhs and his writing is appaling he has a splint wrost support for writing

tartanterror Tue 22-Mar-16 23:45:54

We got this pencil on the advice of the NHA for our similar sounding DS: here

School also got him a writing slope.

Our guy is great at Lego and really we had to crack the motivation to change things. He made no progress in a year! Then we teamed up with the teacher and he gets stickers for good work at school. He gets points/computer time at home in exchange for the school stickers. Before that we tried all sorts of practice books etc but it was no good until he decided to put effort in. He has improved massively since September and now he realises that it is not too tricky, has got over his mental block. Next thing wil be to deal with creative writing ideas block but that's a whole other story! Good luck

LadyDowagerHatt Wed 23-Mar-16 15:01:22

Thanks all.

Tartanterror, I think you might be right, there is a motivational element as well as possibly something physical (as school suspects). I got him to write some words from his reading book after we read it last night and he actually wanted to do it and wrote them well. He wrote in felt tip, not sure if that was a factor too. I've ordered the pencil thanks for the tip.

moosemama Wed 23-Mar-16 16:22:10

Ds1's handwriting issues were caused a degree of hypermobility, causing shoulder instability, as well hypotonia in his core and upper body. Together they make it really hard for him to move his arm in the movement necessary for writing to flow across the page. He also struggled with his pen grip and making his writing legible. In the end we were advised no to make him join his letters, but to concentrate on printing. He's 14 now and uses a laptop for all his school work.

Ds2 has joint hypermobility syndrome and has also had issues with handwriting. In his case his finger joints bend, which affects his ability to grip the pen/pencil and his wrist is too loose to hold the right position. He also has shoulder instability.

He found the pens/pencils, linked to upthread useful and also had a writing slope in primary school, but refuses any aides now he's at secondary. OT also recommended a gripper for his books and paper as, after he had been told off for his writing being too light, he developed a tendency to press too hard, whilst trying to stabilise everything and hold his book/paper still on the desk. He's never going to win any awards for presentation, but you can at least read his writing.

The OT referral is a good idea, as they should be able to pick it up if there's anything like that. I was amazed how much the OT picked up just from watching ds2 sit down and write a couple of words.

LadyDowagerHatt Mon 28-Mar-16 00:18:18

Thanks all for the replies. We went to the GP, she got DS to do lots of hand movements to test his strength in his fingers and wrists, like pushing against her hands at different angles. She also got him to write his name using his right hand which he writes with and his left hand. She said there was a little bit of hypermobility in his fingers (his little finger splayed out further than the norm when she asked him to spread his hands) but nothing that would cause him problems. She put it down to practise and technique so it doesn't look like we are going to get an OT referral. She was going to ring the school after the holidays to discuss with them but I have told her everything they said so I doubt that will change anything.

Not sure whether to be happy there doesn't seem to be anything physical according to the GP, or worried that something has been missed!

Runningtokeepstill Mon 28-Mar-16 09:22:43

This is difficult since as moosemama points out it's not just hypermobile fingers that cause problems. My ds who has joint hypermobility syndrome doesn't have especially bendy fingers, it's his wrists that make handwriting difficult and painful. I wouldn't have picked up on this but he was assessed by an OT when he was 10. I don't think most GP's would have picked it up either.

Maybe talking to the school would be enough to get the GP to refer on. I know you've relayed all that the school have said to you but sometimes getting the same info from 2 sources might trigger a referral. If not maybe go back if things don't improve. I don't know how much OT assessments cost privately.

moosemama Mon 28-Mar-16 17:26:01

In our area the school nurse can refer to OT, so that might be an alternative route.

In my experience, most GPs know very little about hypermobility, let alone how it can affect people on a day to day basis. Even the paediatrician that saw ds2 was woefully uninformed and out of date with what little he did know.

tartanterror Mon 28-Mar-16 20:44:35

Have a look at this site

It suggests exercises for improving core strength etc as well as tips on how to set up the desk; form letters..... And all the many many things that have to come together! Good luck

imip Mon 28-Mar-16 21:24:18

Dd is 9 and has JHS. She experiences daily pain in her ankles and wrists. She finds it very difficult to write and her writing has always been appalling. It took a while to be taken seriously, but we have just applied for an assisted referral technology so that dd can use touch typing or a specialised software package instead of writing,

She currently has pencile grips as recommended by her OT, a writing slope and she has an exercise programme she does at school 2x a day, focussing on things like the pincer grip, finding beads in theraputty, stretching an elastic band between her fingers. It's reminded me that I have failed to do these since we have been on holidays! At home, I help her do the physio she needs for her ankles. A physio is probably the right person to diagnose hyper mobility, but an OT is great to actually provide you with the help your dc needs. At least that is how it has worked for us.

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