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Handwriting help for reluctant 7yr old boy please for newbie????

(15 Posts)
Vinasolsenora Sat 10-Nov-12 22:29:29

Hello out there! I'm new to mums net and am posting as a last resort.
Can any of you out there offer any direction as to where I might go to help my son who's a most reluctant hand writer?
We suspect problems and could be as a result of his awful birth (forceps caused a few issues and he was in an incubator for some time) and we are currently awaiting assessment.
He has a vivid imagination and is a happy little boy but is finding it difficult in school since he is the youngest in his year (August baby) and has many talented 8year old amazing girl writers in his class.
He had been on the whole, unaware of writing issues until recently ( we didn't want to undermine his confidence) when a very helpful girl called him 'stupid' and drew his attention to his 'awful' handwriting.
It is pretty difficult to understand. He has issues forming the letters correctly, despite hours and hours of my sitting practising with him.
I have tried all that I think will help but am drawing blanks now and he's upset and frustrated. I'm having weekly meetings with the school right now to try to help him but it seems to have reached crisis point thanks to this helpful peer.
Can anyone possibly recommend any practical tools that have helped in any way? He is now at the point where he doesn't even want to try and I want to try and help him as much as possible. I don't know if I'm asking the impossible but I'm prepared to spend no end of time whatever it takes to help him so if there's even a possible bit of advice anyone has to offer, I'd be most grateful. Hope I've posted in the right hoping this finds its way out there and I can get a nugget to help......many many thanks for taking the time to read this x

3b1g Sat 10-Nov-12 22:39:33

I have a boy in Y6 who has problems with handwriting for different reasons, so I do sympathise. Age 7 is early days, but you could look at types of pens / pencils that are easier to hold eg Stabilo do one. Does he get weekly spellings to practise? If so, then you could write them in largish writing and then get him to trace over them with a colouring pencil. As time goes on, he will hopefully get praise and recognition for the content of what he is writing, which will boost his confidence. If you are still concerned, I would speak to the SENCO / Inclusion Manager, as they may have some tips or be able to suggest something that can make things easier for him.

Jenny70 Sat 10-Nov-12 22:40:00

So it's his formation of the letters that he struggles with?

Lots of fine motor practice - mine like mazes, dot to dot.

Another thing mine like is tracing paper over the top of any pictures they like (I use sticky tape to hold the tracing paper still)... star wars, dinosaurs...

Rolling play doh is a good fine motor strength builder.

Best of luck

Vinasolsenora Sat 10-Nov-12 22:49:58

Oh wow thanks so much to you both for listening and taking the time to post. I'm so grateful. I'll get some of the pens - he does get weekly spellings yes so I can do this easily......the tracing is also a great idea, thank you so very must, had not thought of that before. Will do that tomorrow! The formation of the letters seems to be a real issue to him. We practise handwriting in an exercise book like I had at school ( he loathes this and I don't blame him) but no matter how many times I tell him that d is around, up and down, he still draws it like an a and then does a tail going up. Sometimes he misses tails off completely. S an a could be a d or a q - an o could be a b or a p etc....
Many, many thanks again, it's so nice to feel there's understanding out there!!!

Vinasolsenora Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:22

By the way, jenny70 is there any dot to dot you can recommend??

Ruprekt Sat 10-Nov-12 22:53:28

Any dot to dot books from WAterstones.

And HAMA beads. Mine both loved these.

Get him to write shopping lists or a Xmas list or a postcard to Nanny or stuff where he doesnt feel like he is learning.

isw Sat 10-Nov-12 23:10:40

My DD is younger but has fine motor skills issues. We do tracing letters in a sand tray (shallow ikea trofast tray is ideal), in shaving foam or with shaving foam! Tesco does a good soap foam, drawing letters on the tiles in the bath. If you have an iPad pocket phonics is good. Making letters out of play or salt dough. Drawing letters with sticks in mud, painting them either with fingers or a paint brush.
Stickers are good as picking them up and manipulating them works the hand muscles as does scissor work. Hama beads, picking things up with tweezers, cut a tennis ball open like a PAC man and get him to put his whole hand round it and squeeze it open to pick things up.
Has he had his eyes checked? Could also be he can't see the differences as clearly as we do. Different colour papers and pens or paper, lots of variety.
Make it as fun as possible, good luck

AlfalfaMum Sat 10-Nov-12 23:11:08

There's a child development centre near me that does Handwriting Without Tears workshops, perhaps there's some local to you? If not, you can also get Handwriting Without Tears book.

Just doing some colouring helps develop the required motor skills; some kids need to work harder to get there, especially if special needs are present. I found my daughter was more enthusiastic about it if I sat and did it with her confused.

A writing slope helps some children.

Has he been checked or hyper mobility in his fingers/thumbs?

isw Sat 10-Nov-12 23:12:12

There are loads of dot to dot and mazes online or printable exercises.
I must say the biggest thing for us has been tracing letters and letter games on the iPad.

Vinasolsenora Sat 10-Nov-12 23:23:03

Thank you all of you. I can't tell you how much this is helping me. I hadn't even considered dot to dot or mazes. Doh!!!! I feel like such an idiot. I've been concentrating so much on the letter formation. Alfalfa mum no, he has 't been checked for that, will definitely look into that. He hates colouring really even if I sit and do it, he just gives up. I would go so far to say that he hates holding a pen........although I tell him that if he wants all the lovely presents, he now has to write the thank yous and so we need to practise! I got a shock this August with this birthday cards from all his classmates - their writing was amazing! Eyes have been checked thanks and thanks for the tip on stickers too, have stopped doing those lately so will re-look. Thanks again, so grateful to you all x

simpson Sun 11-Nov-12 00:33:12

How does he hold a pencil??

Do you think a pencil grip might help??

My DD has poor pencil control but the ideas are in her head about what she wants to write so she can get very frustrated sometimes...

She is hyper mobile and has regular physio in school....

It might be worth checking out the hyper mobile side of things. Does he complain that writing hurts??

Vinasolsenora Sun 11-Nov-12 08:56:34

We've tried a pencil grip, he hated it. Yes! He complains it hurts him all the time!!!! How do I find out about this hyper mobility then? Is it something the school would look at or do I go to my GP????? I've never heard of it? Many thanks.

mrz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:45:15

Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the
Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.
Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following
activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It
may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent
switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand
for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by
presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body
through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play
imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line
across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

mrz Sun 11-Nov-12 10:45:47

I use a Busy Finger Box in the classroom but you could easily find most things at home

1. Pegs –
You need pegs of different sizes, clothes pegs, small bulldog clips, stationery clips etc. Get the children to use one hand only at a time. I usually get them to peg about 10 pegs of different sizes onto the sides of a gift bag. They might put them on with their left hand and take them off with their right.
They can also try squeezing the pegs between the first finger and thumb (on each hand) then the middle finger and thumb and so on.

2. Elastic bands –
Elastic gymnastics! – Start by putting 2 elastic bands (the same size) around the thumb, first and middle fingers, ask the child to open and close the fingers. Then add another 2 elastic bands and so on. The more you have on, the harder it is to move your fingers. These exercises help to develop the muscles which make the web space when writing.

3. Beads –
Get beads of different sizes and thread. Ask the children to thread some beads onto their string. The smaller the hole obviously the harder it is to thread. Develops hand/eye coordination.

4. Ball bearings and tweezers –
Put the ball bearings in one little box and ask the child to try and pick one ball bearing up at a time with the tweezers and place in a second small box. If this is too tricky try using Hama beads and tweezers.

5. Floam / Playdough –
These products are great for squeezing and rolling which provides necessary sensory feedback and helps to develop hand strength. Ask the children to squeeze the dough and roll it with the palm of their hand.

6. Doodle board –
The Doodleboard is just a way of children practising handwriting patterns or letters without having to commit them to paper. Provide some patterns and shapes to copy.

7. Gummed Shapes –
Give the children a sheet of plain paper and ask them to make patterns or pictures with the gummed shapes. Just picking up on shape at a time, licking it and then sticking it down all help to develop hand/eye coordination and the pincer grip.

8. Hama Beads –
Hama beads are good for pincer grip and hand/eye coordination. The children have patterned sheets to copy and peg boards to put them on.

9. Lacing cards –
Also good for hand/eye coordination. Just give each child one card to lace.

10. Bean bags –
Give a child 4-5 bean bags and place a container about 3 feet infront of them. Ask the child to try and get as many beanbags in the container as possible. (Hand/eye coordination)

11. Chalk and blackboard –
If you can, try and wedge the blackboard between two tables and provide the child with a piece of chalk in each hand. Ask them to draw the same pattern with both hands at the same time on both sides of the board. This helps develop bilateral movement.
Allow the children to draw patterns, shapes and letter shapes on the blackboard. The chalk gives sensory feedback and sound simultaneously.

12. Stencils –
Children can use the stencils to make a picture. Helps develop pencil control and special awareness among other things.

13. Feathers –
Ask the children to try and balance a feather on different parts of their body. This helps to develop balance and coordination.

14. Handhugger pens –
Hand hugger pens are the triangular shaped pens. These help the children to establish a better pencil grip.

15. Tissue paper strips –
Place the child’s palm (at the wrist) on the end of a strip of tissue paper. Ask them to only use their middle finger to get the paper to scrunch up under their hand.
Repeat, but this time place the side of the child’s hand on one end of the tissue strip and ask them to only use their thumb to scrunch up the paper and bring it under their hand.
These activities really help to develop the hand arch, web space and muscle tone of the hand.

16. Stickers –
Children love stickers. Just peeling them off provides an opportunity to develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

17. Peg boards –
These can be peg boards where the child has to place pegs in the holes, maybe copying patterns.
They can be the boards with plastic pegs already on where they have to stretch elastic bands between them to make patterns.

Vinasolsenora Sun 11-Nov-12 21:28:24

Oh wow I feel quite emotional reading this advice. Thank you so much. There's so much for me to go at, I really do appreciate it so very much and don't feel quite so alone with it all now x

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