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Handwriting suggestions please

(78 Posts)
claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:46:06

Ds aged 9, has great difficulty with writing. He can write if its something that interests him, but other than that just refuses point blank.

He has hypermobility, uses the wrong muscles etc to write with, so its obviously a tiring experience for him.

His tutor has tried a scribe etc, but it doesnt appear to make it any easier for him.

His tutor has just left, she couldnt get him to write and has left it for me to do.

I have tried encouraging him. He has some sweets he can have after and ive told ds no x-box etc until he writes 2 lines.

Any suggestions?

Can you have an amazing week where he can have whatever he wants provided he writes you a note about it in a full sentence?

How's it all going?

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 10:51:42

i don't understand why he has to write so much

writing is just another way of communicating, which our DCs with ASD (hope i'm correct in that assumption?) often find difficult to do unless it makes sense to them

DD can write reams about kindness to dogs, but ask her to put her spellings list into a sentence and she's flummoxed

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 10:58:45

No amount of bribery seems to work when it comes to handwriting, he will do it for me...eventually. But it will involve hours of him laying on the settee, with a blanket over his head, screaming for me to go away. It seems to be a real mental block, when it comes to handwriting.

Some improvements Star, he is now getting dressed in the mornings for when the tutor comes. Well i have to dress him, but at least he is now allowing me to.

His engagement with the tutor varies from day to day, ranging from excellent to extremely poor. But more good days, than bad now.

moondog Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:04

Harness his interests.
Get him to write desired family events up on a calendar and organise shopping lists.
You're on the right track with the issue of him accessing reinforcers but turn it around a little so it's less of a 'you can't have this unless you do this' into a 'let's do this really quickly and then we'll do this!'
Get him to time himself against a clock. How many words/letters can he write?

A little bit of practice every night works wonders. My kids are used to this and it's now an accepted part of their routine.

For my nearly 9 year old ds, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' has it seems, turned on a light inside him. He asked me to buy him a diary and he writes reams and reams every night. He is so inspired. He now wants one with a lock.

We went on a very long bike ride yesterday and he moaned for a lot of it, saying that his favourite things were reading and writing not 'bloody biking'. How my heart soared! (MIld irritation at grumpy swearing child notwithstanding!)

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:05:08

Unchartered, that is EXACTLY what ds has said to me, when i asked him why he didnt want to write. Its a blurb of 2 lines and his words "i dont see the point"

and it does impact of the things he does like to do, such as reading, he loves reading. But the minute the tutor asks him to write about the book, he then refuses to read.

I have been doing the writing for him ie he tells me what to write, just so he will read.

Tutors words "if he was in school, he would have to write"

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 11:06:50

can he talk about the books he reads?

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 11:07:57

and i'm not so sure he would have to write if he was in school...he might have a scribe there, or use a keyboard

but anyway, he's not in school, so that statement is irrelevant

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 11:11:11

He has to be able to write (has to is a bit strong but it would be good eh? ). I don't think he has to write a blurb or whatever. What a waste of time to argue about it. You're going to suck the joy out mod reading if you hang such a unlinked past time on to it.

I'd let him tell you what be jinks of the book and write about the stuff he likes.

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 11:11:31

Jinks =thinks blush

Badvoc Mon 22-Apr-13 11:16:29

Would he use a dictaphone to dictate his thoughts about his work/books/films whatever...?
Then you could transcribe them so there is a paper copy?
(Can you tell I am an audio typist? smile)
You could also try something like dragon VR software but I don't know how expensive that is.
Agree 100% about harnessing his interests, whatever they are.
With ds1 it's currently history (ESP WW 1 & 2), farming, how to train your dragon etc.

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:17:00

Moondog, the writing he is being asked to do is part of the 'theme', his fav theme, animals. So it is something that interests him. We are also printing out pics of animals and he is requred to look up info and facts about the animals and write notes. Something else he wont do.

I am trying to work with positive reinforcements such as you have sweets in the kitchen which you can have after we have written etc. We have rewards chart etc, which earn him x-box time, McDonalds, sweets etc.

Timers and clocks just send him into a panic.

You can do it really slowly. The 'challenge' may be too big.

Start by just getting him to do what you say. At say 8am each day ask him to do something. Don't call it writing

'ds, draw three sticks with a pencil' ' yay, end of lesson and end of me naggin, go and play'.

next day:

'ds, draw three sticks and a circle' ' yay, end of lesson, and end of me nagging, go and play'

Keep going EVERY day at the same time so he expects it, and he knows that it is easy and he will shortly have you off his back.

Increase the demand by a very tiny amount each day, until he is writing a word, then a three word sentence, then a 5 word sentence. Always stop on a positive.

Could that work?

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 11:21:50

i can only go from what DD says (she's almost 6yrs) but this is her take on it

"why does she have to write about something that is already written, if she knows a lot about (chosen subject) and you want to hear how much she knows, she will tell you confused it's much quicker and she hates writing words she doesn't know how to spell."

can you turn the writing into a quiz for DS? this will show his comprehension, give him practice at writing and have something on paper for the anal tutor to tick?

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:21:54

Unchartered, yes he is more than happy to talk AND he will write eventually, its just such a long drawn out, stressful experience for him, unless he has choosen to write.

So what makes him 'choose' to write?

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:30:01

Star, the problem seems to be, is that he will write, when it suits him. This is how the tutor sees it.

This morning, he had written, on a worksheet, facts. Such as one word answers, the title of the book. Numbers in answer to how many chapters etc.

The last thing was to write a blurb on 2 lines. He refused to do it. Maybe more abstract. Then the tutor was telling him what to write and he still refused. I can see that the tutor telling him what to write, would also be a problem for ds. He wants it to be his idea, not someone elses.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:30:20

The tutor should not be pushing him to write or delegating it to you. imo hours of chronic stress are not worth it and it is counter-productive. For now let him draw - still learning fine motor skills and improving them. He needs to learn to touch-type and use voice recognition software. There are different ways of recording your thoughts and writing without physically making marks on paper.

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:33:21

Prior to him having his 'episode' in October and not being able to attend school. He would write poetry or write me notes about how wonderful i am, draw pictures and label them. Since October he hasnt really choosen to write anything

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 11:58:13

I have just reserved a dictaphone from Argos, ds was very keen on the idea of recording his thoughts. Maybe once the pressue of writing is off, he might want to write, rather than being forced to.

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 11:59:54

absolutely yes to taking the pressure off

good luck, but watch out for stealth recordings grin

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:02:33

Oh yes, ds quite fancies himself as a bit of a 'spy'!

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 12:08:22

mind, if he's anything again like DD, her stealth tactics leave a lot to be desired hmm

her sneaking involves you turning your back, and promising not to look until she tells you it's ok grin

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:15:27

Lol oh ds doesnt even wait for you to turn your back! He hides under the table while you are looking at him!

I doubt the tutor will be happy about me getting the dictaphone, but seen as she is leaving it for me to do, i will try to do it my way. There is very much a feeling of me not pushing ds and only letting him do things he is comfort with. All im trying to show is that is more than one way to skin a cat and forcing him really isnt the answer. The more you force him, the more he will dig his heels in. A battle of wills with a 9 year old, there isnt really a winner!

Hopefully, i will be able to show results.

Badvoc Mon 22-Apr-13 12:23:43

Hope it works out for him smile

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:24:10

Thanks for the advice everyone, im off to Argos smile

Will also try and keep the handwriting going in other ways, as you have suggested.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:36:05

Take it you still have Doubting Thomasina as a tutor?

DS is not in school due to extreme anxiety - her priority is to reduce it and to do what is necessary to reduce it and build trust. Her focus should be on what he needs now rather than what he 'needs' to fit back into a m/s classroom.

DS1 uses his laptop for tutor sessions and is allowed to choose whether he wants to write or type. Written text is kept to a minmum using multiple choice, lists etc. Even after around 2 months she would not risk asking him to do free-writing.

I remember when DS1 first went to the CPOC clinic in 2008 that they were very clear that 'stress' is not purely psychological but is also physiological and involves the release of hormones and chemicals that severely affect cognitive abilities. If DC become stressed you are unable to positively intervene and must stop. If DS1 has problems with narrative construction and inference and problem solving etc they will be much worse following several hours stress and make it much harder to engage in free-writing.

Badvoc Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:10

The tutor should be coming up with ideas to help him claw.
Thats her job.
I really wouldn't give the tiniest shit how she felt about in all honesty.

TimidLivid Mon 22-Apr-13 13:03:25

I dont know if this has already been suggested but may be as he has hypermobility it is painful for him to write and the longer he does it the harder it is the hand grip lessens with tiredness. so you could maybe cut down his writing to a bare minimum and see if he could use a school laptop . with my ds he can write but it can never mechanically look any better his handwriting and it is as sore now at 14 as it was at 8 years old, he has hypermobility and we thought practice would help , but after they know how to write well enough to be understood and its been at the same level for years the written letters are probably not going to improve much but if they can use a laptop or similar the content does not have the impediment of pain and the feeling of not keeping up or making progress.

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 13:04:48

If he likes spy sort of things what about invisible ink?

You write in lemon juice (or pretty much anything organic) let it dry, then cook it in the oven to reveal the secret message.

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 13:30:32

Keep, the tutor is ok, in as much as she sees first hand exactly what ds is like. She sees me having to carry him down the stairs, refusing to engage with her, hiding from her etc, etc. So i am obviously believed on that front now.

Its more the reasons behind why he behaves like he does, that she seems to find difficult. Despite her having read OT reports, where it clearly states he uses the wrong muscles to write, grips the pencil so his fingertips turn white, doesnt put enough pressure , forms letters incorrectly etc, etc. She still sees it at him being 'lazy' or 'trying it on' kinda thing.

Im fed up with trying to argue the toss, all i get is "we all have to do things we dont like doing" etc.

She doesnt come up with ideas to help, her way is to force. I have enough 'enemies' as it and despite everything, the tutor is clearly onboard in as much there is no way he will cope in school, without a statement and support.

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 13:40:16

Timid, he finds it very effortful and is slow with writing. His writing was age appropriate a few years ago, but i do think as you say, its kind of stopped there.

Everyone has made recommendations of a laptop with appropriate software, keyboard practise, scribes etc.

The tutor tried a scribe once, for the first time every with ds and decided it didnt work after one attempt. She is also insisting that he write with pencil, despite him telling her he doesnt like the feel it makes on the paper and he struggles with adding more pressure to get the pencil to mark the paper. I let him write with a pen, which he finds easier.

UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 13:56:00

oh dear, it doesn't sound as if she knows much about your DSs conditions though.

has he tried drawing pencils, with a softer grade graphite?

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 14:11:40

He avoids pencils totally, its pens and felt tips for drawing.

Apparently she isnt a MS teacher, she has worked in the PRU unit for years. She is used to teaching very 'disruptive' children.

Ds isnt 'disruptive' as such (although not engaging with her, having to be carried down the stairs, is disruptive obviously) he is generally extremely quiet and well behaved to the extreme.

TimidLivid Mon 22-Apr-13 17:49:53

thats awful she doesent seem to understand if he is gripping the pencil untill his fingers turn white it will be hurting as it would if did anything untill our fingers turned white. my son couldnt tell me when he was small just that he somehow he knew before us that he was trying to write but some thing about his hands was different and he coudlent express it to us. we found out when he was eleven about his hypermobility and it was like being slapped ,suddenly we could see why... and what had been staring us in face for so long. At least you know from an early age. I used to say he has trouble with his hands but I didnt know what it was. This teacher needs to understand it hurts and it is not easy for him and he will be making a big effort when he does any writing its just wont yield the same results as a child without hypermobility.

Ilisten2theradio Mon 22-Apr-13 18:24:15

I know that this is a bit "out there" but DS had similar but nt a bad issues writing due to the hypermobiity and weak hand muscles and AS.
We found that after 6 mths of doing shoulder strengthening excercises from the Physio for a shoulder problem as he kept dislocating it, that a side effect of this was that his arms and wrists and fingers were stronger as he had to do exercises holding small hand weights.
His handwriting suddenly improved hugely too ( although The teachers manage I have problems!), and his resistance to writing became less as it became less effortful.
We also have hand exercises from the OT to do daily ( they are done at school as part of his statement) which are also slowly helping to build hand strength.
Any good?

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 18:29:38

He cannot use a knife or fork either. His handwriting isnt awful, its just the amount of effort and the time it takes for him to write. If he is required to write more quickly, his writing then becomes much worse, capital letters in the middle, big spaces, letters back to front and you can hardly see it as the pressure he applies becomes so light.

He has done the writiing now, after shutting himself in a room for a good hour, with a blanket over his head. He then called me in to 'surprise' me, bless him.

PolterGoose Mon 22-Apr-13 19:03:30

Ridiculous! If he was in school he'd be using a pen for everything except maths.

Has he been assessed by an OT for pen grips etc? There are loads of aids and different pens that can really help. Does he have a Move'n'Sit and writing slope? Is his chair at the right height for the table, really important with hypermobility, ds's OT was pleased to see he is still in his Tripp Trapp as it massively helps his posture and means he is at the right height for comfortable writing.

Ds was a reluctant writer for a long time. We concentrated on drawing and avoided formal writing, instead getting him writing using bath crayons, pavement chalk on the patio, old fashioned slates, big whiteboard, anything that wasn't pen and paper. I photocopied lots blank word search grids so he could make them for me to do. As time moved on he made posters and leaflets to teach me stuff. He likes making his own versions of books he has read so I would help him make little books. He and dp would write stories taking turns writing a bit.

I'm lucky that despite ds's hands being ridiculously hypermobile, they don't hurt, his pen grip is all wrong but he manages without discomfort so it'll have to do. He cannot use cutlery either, but as he doesn't eat anything that requires cutlery it isn't a huge issue for us.

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 19:18:04

I've had some success with a graphite artists pencil and very textured drawing paper. The weight of the pencil seems to help as does the very very soft lead. I bought it because I had forgotten to order something lose on line and needed it for the next day. I had a half cocked idea that I might put it on a radiator and see if heat helped. (Ds has hypermobile finger joints that cause him some pain).,or.&bvm=bv.45512109,d.ZWU&biw=1024&bih=672&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=3324118756967042591&sa=X&ei=uH11Ub_kK4bvOr66gLgL&ved=0CGgQ8gIwAQ

These ones. I got mine for less from Hobbycraft.

White boards help ( and when they say they can't keep the writing, advise them they can be photographed with a phone or photocopied).

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 19:30:35

Polter, same here, ds only eats finger food, so not really a problem.

He has been assessed by OT and various difficulties identifed, but this was private OT so she has recommended that state registered OT provides programmes etc for the difficulties identifed by her. Laptop for extended writing, scribe, seat wedge, sensory diet etc the usually stuff.

He sits on the settee when with the tutor and writes on a coffee table which is knee height when sitting on the settee. He has hypermobility, curve in the spine, poor posture, poor fine motor etc.

He doesnt have any equipment, just a pencil.

PolterGoose Mon 22-Apr-13 19:56:58

Sorry, but sitting perched on the sofa working at a coffee table is atrocious shock

Do you have a table he can sit at? If not can he use a clipboard? That worked quite well for ds for a bit.

OTs don't usually provide the equipment our children need, I've had to buy everything ds has needed, which is fine, we get DLA.

The pen grips usually used in schools are rubbish for children with hm because they are either too hard or too shaped, ds got on well with noodle doodles which are a good fiddle toy too.

PolterGoose Mon 22-Apr-13 19:58:17
UnChartered Mon 22-Apr-13 19:59:31

DD finds one of those lap-trays with the bean-bag type thing on the back great for doing fine motor, she likes being enclosed and the weight of the tray suits her fine

maybe this could be a compromise for DS if you don't have a table he can sit at?

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:12:27

When he writes with me, he sits at the kitchen table, however the kitchen is a very busy place in the morning with my kids getting ready to leave for college etc. We only have the front room or kitchen.

Ds gets DLA too, but unfortunately i am so far in debt having to pay for experts, solicitor etc for the statementing process, i dont have much spare at the mo.

zzzzz Mon 22-Apr-13 21:54:19

What time does the tutor come that the kitchen is SO busy?

Could the others not use the other room and let the Tutor and ds sit at the table?

He will do significantly better sitting with his feet on the floor (or up turned bucket), and in a proper chair.

claw2 Mon 22-Apr-13 22:00:52

She comes at 9am, i did ask whether she would require a little table and chair or a desk prior to her starting and she told me that is she needed one should could get one from school.

I hadnt given his sitting position and handwriting much thought until now.

PolterGoose Tue 23-Apr-13 07:45:27

I really think your older ones need to prioritise ds and his tutor and get up and out before 9 so they can use the table...

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 23-Apr-13 09:27:53

Be aware that if you do appeal at a later point, the tutor will provide a Statement as evidence to the tribunal. This will follow a pro forma and there will be a section specificially on recommended transition and setting.

DS1 has two tutor statements. Both witnessed anxiety and resistance. One says that he will be fine in the m/s but that I have made the transition difficult by exaggerating his needs and taking him out of school - ie I am the 'cause' of witnessed anxiety/resistance rather than SEN. Luckily I had her removed and her Statement is considerably weakened by the fact that she only taught DS1 for 5 hours. The other, by his current tutor, says that he needs a specialist setting, small classes, small school etc.

What do you think DS's tutor will put in her Statement?

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 09:31:25

Tutor was fine with the dictaphone and even suggested that ds could use the laptop to type instead of write!

Although she does have a habit of not following through with my suggestions, we will see.

The front room was choosen for various reasons (obviously not taking writing into account) and i can certainly ask if tutor would prefer the kitchen and tell my older boys the kitchen is out of bounds.

Can you set up a little breakfast table in the living room?

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 09:43:52

Keep, it was this tutor and her husband that suggested the indi school i had in mind (without them knowing, this is the school i would prefer)

She has witnessed ds refusing to come downstairs and me having to physically carry him, with him trying to run off and hiding from her. She told school he was refusing to get dressed as he thought she was going to take him to school.

She will probably say that ds can cope in MS. I have never said that he cannot cope in MS. MS is the best place for ds, he just needs specialist provision to enable him to cope.

I dont think she will blame me. However if i show resistance to her or complain about her, she no doubt certainly would. No professional takes criticism on the chin, in my experience.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 09:53:22

Star, i could get a desk or a smaller table and chair. My feeling is, that moving ds from the front room to the kitchen now, would cause him a lot of problems with the change. He has only just started to accept the tutor and we could be back to square one by moving. Even getting a table and chair is going to cause problems for him.

He has made improvements, from screaming that he hates her, refusing to get out of bed, to get dressed, to come downstairs, eat or drink or engage with her at all.

Does the tutor think she has made progress?

Could you 'ask' her opinion on your idea to move him to another room, and if she wants this then let her witness, deal with and then write about the fall out?

At least it shows that you are considering ways to make her job easier and thinking of your ds!?

Badvoc Tue 23-Apr-13 10:09:10

I think that the older kids need to understand that ds and his tutor take priority on the days she comes tbh.
Glad the dictaphone idea is eg accepted smile

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:19:13

Yes, at the last meeting a few weeks ago, a 'progress update' meeting. She was saying that ds is making progress, slowly, but that it isnt going to happen over night.

and oh yes, i always run my ideas by her to see what she thinks, she is very opinionated and its hard to get a word in edgeways! She is one of these of these people who like to know best and a bit of a know it all really.

However if i fed her ego, she can also be very supportive and sing my praises at meetings.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:21:19

God spelling mistakes! i have lost my glasses and cant see properly!

Yes. That is what you must do. Engage. Ask her advice. Even for small things. Make a bit show of how much you trust her and she'll find it difficult to betray you.

She sounds okay though.

btw, have you thought about Baston House? As Secondary approaches etc.?

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:38:07

She is ok really, i have to bite my tongue sometimes, a few minutes ago i heard her raising her voice and saying to ds "NO, NO, NO, do it like this, its not rocket science" when he didnt understand. She can be very cutting and harsh with her remarks sometimes.

Ds slips very easily into an overly compliant role, pretending to understand, being overly nice and giving compliments, giving cuddles in order to be 'liked'.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 23-Apr-13 11:14:35

Are you sure that this tutor was suggesting that the LA fund the indi school placement or that you should pay the fees personally?

You might find it interesting to do a Data Protection request with the LA in which case you will have access to the EOTAS file. Then you can read what she writes about you in email exchanges.

I complained to the co-ordinator about two tutors for being harsh and cutting towards a child who is unable to attend school due to extreme anxiety. The tutors were replaced and I received a personal apology and the co-ordinator commented that they clearly needed to do observations. An email was also sent slapping down tutors who concern themselves with tribunal issues.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 11:35:56

She was suggesting that this school would be suitable for ds and the school i should name. I think she is well aware that i couldnt afford such a placement.

I have a rep for not working with professionals and complaining, one i am trying to live down, not play up to. It doesnt help that ds will becomes overly compliant, appears to understand etc, etc. This is exactly why i am in this position in the first place. Ds is telling her she has pretty hair, hugging her, iniviting her round to have dinner with us, nodding in agreement with whatever she says (even though he clearly doesnt understand), not because he likes her, but because he wants her to like him.

I really have to pick my battles and this isnt one.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Tue 23-Apr-13 12:51:49

No offence but in picking your battles you seem to be tolerating teaching that is not appropriate - not because you think she understands his needs and can help him reduce anxiety but because you want her to like you. I am worried that this tolerance will look odd, that the 'normal' response is to be outraged. He has extreme anxiety and can't cope with critical and judgemental comments even if they are the norm in the m/s or when dealing with 'disruptive' DC in a PRU. You can't do anything about dumb-ass comments at school but you don't give access to your child to someone who makes such comments.

Part of DS1's ASD profile is that he holds grudges for years and has an exceptional memory for perceived slights, he has extreme emotional responses and he perceives normal banter as bullying or abusive. He is at significant risk of serious mental illness in later life. The stakes are high and so I am willing to risk being misunderstood or considered mad MBP momma.

By the time you get to appeal part 4 you want to be in a position where DS is able to attend school and that multiple reports agree that m/s is not suitable. If we win at tribunal I am aware that it is going to be hard work to get DS1 back into school. The longer he is out of school, the harder it is.

claw2 Tue 23-Apr-13 13:40:56

Keep, i really couldnt care less if she likes me or not. Being liked isnt my motivation, i see her as a potential ally. The evidence is mounting against me, it shouldnt be about me, it should be about ds, but the fact is it isnt. 2 ms schools who have failed ds, but blamed me. A social worker, who has not read a report etc and taken what school is saying as gospel. All of which i complained about, the more i complain, the more people cover.

At the moment i have CAMHS on side, but there is certainly going to be a feeling of 'mum removing anything that upsets her ds'. I have to be seen to be working with her. I dont think her teaching is appropriate, isnt how it works, my opinion counts for nothing. No one has recommended that her teaching isnt appropriate or that ds cannot cope with ms teaching.

At the end of the day, yes she says cutting remarks, yes she doesnt really understand ds. But ds is not self harming, he is not talking of killing himself, he has made some huge improvements, so is obviously a lot less stressed than he was before, she is not ideal, but she is tolerable.

vorpent Wed 24-Apr-13 00:02:54

Hi claw, just seen this thread, hope I don't just repeat what's already been said.

Sounds like everyone's giving you a really hard time for doing what you know is best for your son. My sympathies! From what you say about how his tutor speaks to him, my son, also, would be getting very anxious and difficult to teach in that atmosphere.

I don't know much about hypermobility as such, but we had similar difficulties getting our dyspraxic son to write, and after practising with him for a year and seeing little or no progress and a very unmotivated, unhappy and under-achieving boy, I decided to give up on handwriting and get him touch-typing. Luckily his brave class teacher supported the idea, so long as we taught him to touch type and supplied the laptop. We've never looked back, it's completely transformed him.

The way it seems to me, asking my son to handwrite is a bit like asking a short-sighted child to read without glasses. Why ask a child with a disability to manage without the assistive technology that would make it so much easier for him? And who handwrites these days anyway?

On the subject of scribing, I think the problem is that it stops children from feeling in control of the task and makes them dependent on an adult, which they'll resent if they're, er, a little bit independent-minded.

I think switching to typing helped my son in two ways. Firstly, he knew very well that his handwriting looked terrible and was illegible. Teachers would have to ask him what he had just written. So that wasn't great either for his self esteem, or for his teachers' perception of him. Like it or not, most people see messy work and judge the child subconsciously by it. Secondly, he was devoting too much of his processing power to moving the pencil correctly, and not enough to the content of his work. So basically when he types, he's free to concentrate on the content, which improves dramatically. Plus he can read his own work back, which helps with coherence and error checking.

On a practical note, we used Nessie Fingers typing program to teach him to type. It's got a lot of quite fun games and helps with spelling, as you can select word lists to practise based on common spelling patterns. We did it a little and often, maybe two sessions a day of ten minutes, with big rewards for progress.

Good luck, whatever you strategies you decide on!

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 08:32:17

Vorpent, thanks very much, everyone has come up with some great ideas.

I have been asking ds what he finds difficult recently and he has been very good at expressing himself. Seems we have a few problems.

1. The biggest problem for him seems to be it needs to make sense to him. He explained writing a blurb there was 'no point'. What is the point of the blurb, when you just can just read the book.

2. It has to interest him. Or as he would say if it 'needs' to be written. He did a small amount of writing yesterday with his tutor, it was facts from his memory about a panther. When i asked why he could write this but not a blurb, he said it 'needed' to be written.

3. He finds writing tiring and it hurts his hand, if more than a few lines.

I think typing is the way forward for ds and something i will be helping him with. Its just getting everyone else to agree!

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:15:26

I spoke to the tutor this morning and told ds to explain to her what he found difficult.

She told ds that it doesnt matter if it makes sense to him or not, everyone needs to do things that dont make sense to them. The Government require her to tick a box, whether she agrees with it or not.

PolterGoose Wed 24-Apr-13 10:27:48

It's hard though, she is right that a lot of our education seems pointless at the time. And when your ds returns to a school he will have to do stuff that seems pointless. It is inevitable.

I have had many a discussion, argument and meltdown with ds because he 'can't see the point' of something they are doing in school. A huge part of formal schooling is fostering compliance, most children just do the task because 'the teacher said so' but for many of us here that just isn't enough and it is really tricky to deal with.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:11:15

I agree, ds very much likes to be in 'control' as do many ASD kids. However I like to have strategies to deal with it, rather than force. I find with force it just makes ds either a) dig his heels in even further or b) becomes overly compliant. With a) ds is then being 'disruptive' or with b) he then directs his feelings inwards and self harms (by scratching himself in private) and also b) can result in more outwardly self harming (head butting walls in anger etc)

He also has trouble understanding her explanations. Today for example when i got him to express to her what he finds difficult her explanation was so long winded and contained lots of words he doesnt understand, he just glazed over. He is again left feeling 'whats the point' in expressing anything.

He recorded her explanation with his new dictaphone and just sat there nodding! She was talking about the government and that she cant control everything and targets and jumping through hoops and went on for about 10 minutes.

After she left ds was giggling about 'jumping through hoops', he said he had visions of the tiger in Madagascar 3, jumping through hoops in the circus!

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:33:15

This is what she said to ds, without even pausing. After i got ds to express to her that he doesnt see the point, it doesnt interest him and hurts his hand.

"Shall i tell you one of the reason, i will be honest with you, i dont see the point to a lot of things, but the trouble we have got and something i have no control over, i would like to have control over, because i keep saying i am going to go and work on the government so i can tell them what they need to do. The thing i dont have any control over, is in this file, ive got, do you remember i showed you your targets and things and we have to do, we call it jumping through hoops actually and sometimes we have to jump through that hoop to do that, even if we dont want to do it or we dont see the point of it and then if you have jumped through that hoop, we forget about it after that, you see and then we go onto the next thing, so sometimes i might say to you from now on , this is a hoop, alright and you have got to jump through it, get it out of the way, do it, finished, out the way, tick the box and then we move on, alright, how about that. Because you know at that back here i have these targets, haven’t i that i write in and you are quite interested in theses, you know, and we have little things you have to do and there are a little list of things and you just think oh ok, whats the point of this, im not quite certain, but we have to do it. Because somebody in the Government thinks its a good idea. Not me, someone else, dont blame me"

Ds just sat there, glazed over.

PolterGoose Wed 24-Apr-13 11:38:08


I'm sure she could have explained it better.

That is probably one of the best speeches I have seen from a professional. I love the honesty.

It's all complete drivel of course but I can't help but liking her a bit.

The thing is, why on earth would your ds jump through her pointless hoops, even if she is honest about them?

By the way, when I say best, I don't mean inspirational......grin

mrsbaffled Wed 24-Apr-13 11:54:14

Hello, not read the full thread yet, so apologies if I repeat things.
My DS was an extremely reluctant writer up until mid year 3. He has hypermobile elbows, fingers and shoulders, SpLD in fine motor control, spelling and writing.

This is what we did:
Physio gave us some shoulder girdle exercises and told us to let him do lots of swinging from the monkey bars in the park.
I have set up a desk at home with a chair the right height, foot rest, writing slope and ergonomic pencils / pencil grips (the fat ones work best).
We saw a behaviour optometrist who dx eye tracking issues. He had a course of vision therapy which cured the tracking and it involved RRT which helped with his general core strength and fidgetiness.
The SENCO taught DS how to do mind maps. He was allowed not to write in sentences at school, and just draw a mind map instead.
I taught him to touch type. Then he could use an Alphasmart in school for writing sentences.
They said he didn't need to learn cursive (a real mental block for him).
He is doing Word Wasp to help with spellings.
For homework he dictates to me. I write it down, then he copies what I have written.

18 months on he mostly chooses to physically write with a pen and paper and rarely chooses the Alphasmart. His spelling is attrocious, but the actual formation of the letters looks much more like his peers now. He can write a whole page of text now, which is wonderful! (Needs a lot of translation still, but the content is good, and he doesn't normally scream about it anymore).

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 11:54:46

Exactly for starters he has no idea what she just said to him. He has no idea what jumping through hoops actually means, he remembered this part of the conversation, as he was thinking of the circus tiger jumping through hoops!

This is how she explains everything to ds, when he doesnt understand something too. She seems to think his level of understanding is far greater than it is. SALT "verbal instructions/explanations are to be kept short and to the point, avoiding abstract language and supported with visual cues, prompts or pictures"

She does seem quite anti LA policies and time wasting though.

Maybe she's trying to get you onside.

Not very professional really to be so openly anti-LA though it did make me smile.

I don't know what it takes to get someone competent I really don't. We have to fight so hard to get people that we can barely call adequate and are then expected to be as grateful as if we'd won the lottery.

claw2 Wed 24-Apr-13 12:33:57

Well the speech did seem to be more for my benefit than ds's.

I think the point of it was, she is just here to do what the government tells her to do, tick boxes. Which we knew anyway. She agrees with my suggestions, but then doesnt follow through with them.

Getting dressed for example ds doesnt see the point of wearing clothes, which he finds uncomfortable when at home. So in order for him to getted dressed, i provided a reward chart, with a movement break outside for getting dressed. As soon as ds got dressed for a week, the movement break stopped. Box ticked.

She agreed with my suggestion of a dictaphone and even suggested ds being able to type, instead of write. But then continues getting him to write. So bits he will write, she does, bits he refuses, get left for me. I assume this will show up in a report somewhere as 'ds will write for her, but not me and i have to use other methods!'

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