Any SENCO Teachers or TAs here? Hand writing in 8yr old help needed.

(7 Posts)
Shybairns Fri 30-Nov-12 14:35:12

Hi, I am a TA in training and in the class that I volunteer in we have a girl aged 8 who is very below average level in handwriting. She does not have a statement and so no one to one helper. She has the condition whereby words/letters/numbers swim on the page or board. She can use a blue acetate to help with this.

Her handwriting is very poor. Partly because copying from the board is difficult for her but also because she doesn't seem to look at the marks her pen or pencil is making on the page. She will write rapidly and with no care for forming the letters correctly. 'P's and 'g's sit on the line. her 'i's are as tall as a 'l'.
She knows she's poor at writing and this has not done much for her confidence and now she just acts like she doesn't care.

She seems to need to return to learning how to form letters again and also how to do joined up writing.

I want to help her and the class teacher has said I could take her out for 20mins on the mornings I'm in.

But I don't know how to tackle it and what exercises to do with her to improve her hand writing. I worry that returning to tracing exercises and asking her to repeatedly copy letters and words would demoralise her. And she'e think I was asking her to do babyish things.

Could it be her eye sight that is the issue? Could her own writing be swimming on the page or simply blurry? That seems like a logical answer.

Any tips and advice welcome. Thanks

Shybairns Fri 30-Nov-12 19:29:41

Not sure anyone will have the energy for this on a friday night but just in case...

toomuchicecream Fri 30-Nov-12 21:27:10

How did she get the blue acetate? Was it something a bit random that someone thought of trying, or did she have a proper assessment from a behavioural optomotrist? Having the acetate suggests her eye sight has been checked in the past - has she ever done any exercises to help it? (she would know if she had).

Re the hand writing, check out the national handwriting association website. They've got loads of ideas for things you could do with her.

Also, is her problem copying from the main board in the classroom or a mini whiteboard in front of her? A lot of children struggle to track up to the main board and then back to their page (I think we just don't ask them to do it much these days so when they need to they don't have the skills). Writing whatever she needs to copy onto a mini whiteboard in front of her might be the answer, especially because as she writes each section into her book she can rub it out - that way she can easily see how far she's got and she doesn't have to move her eyes as far between the page and the board. I've seen a lot of children copy from the board without looking at their books - I think it's because if they look down to their writing it then takes them too long (in their view) to work out where they've got to on the board.

Shybairns Fri 30-Nov-12 22:03:14

Thanks for your reply toomuch. The SENCO teacher for the school had her for year 3 and they must have assessed her to discover she needed the accetate. But she doesn't appear to be getting the one to one time she needs. I guess she will eventually be a child who uses a lap top in lessons instead of writing?
I'll ask on Monday what the full story is. It seems like she's moved up to class 3 and the teachers she has now aren't doing as much as could be done to get to grips with her hand writing issue.
I had a look at the handwriting site and it is good. So thanks.
She really does appear to write with no care. If I was poor at writing I would be slow, but she scartches out her writing fast. And as I say doesn't seem to look at the marks her pen is making on the page.

This is way beyond my experience. I must be careful not to get ahead of myself and start guessing about things.

toomuchicecream Sat 01-Dec-12 09:24:02

Had a year 4 child last year with dreadful handwriting (managed to make the words "fabric conditioner" fill 9 yes 9 lines in her Science book) whose mum printed off handwriting sheets with trees on which we stuck into her books for her. So letters with descenders went down to the roots, and ascenders went up into the branches, with the ones that stay in the middle being the trunk. I've also heard people talking about earth, grass and sky in a similar way. It really helped for that child. Success breeds success, so if all she hears is that her writing is dreadful, why should she make any effort, just to get knocked back again??

tabulahrasa Sat 01-Dec-12 09:28:13

Talk to the SENCO, there are handwriting programmes for children who are struggling with it.

sayithowitis Sat 01-Dec-12 23:02:52

this might be of help. We have used it quite successfully with a large number of children who have had problems writing. Also, these. Agian , we have found them very helpful for many children.

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