Handwriting help for ten-year-old

(16 Posts)
theconstantinoplegardener Mon 19-Nov-18 12:51:34

DD10 is in Year 6. She's not particularly academic and struggles to focus at home sometimes, but she's well behaved at school and tries hard so that's fine. However I'm a bit worried about her handwriting. She tends to scrawl and it can be difficult to read. She can write neatly, but it takes her much longer. Her spelling isn't great either and I'm concerned that, once she's at secondary school, the combination of poor spelling and unclear handwriting will make her work very difficult both for her to study from when she's revising, and for her teachers to mark her homework.

She does lots of building lego, writing and drawing for fun, so plenty of opportunities to develop fine motor skills. I was wondering if targeted practice using a handwriting book would be helpful. Can anybody recommend something suitable for this age group please? Or does it sound more like dyspraxia?


OP’s posts: |
BottleOfJameson Mon 19-Nov-18 14:34:49

Hi OP didn't want to read and run. I guess it's difficult to advise without knowing what the issue is. Since you haven't mentioned it I assume she has no diagnosed SEN.The lack of focus and poor handwriting and spelling sounds a bit like dyslexia (perhaps at a level which wouldn't warrant a diagnosis) but also could just be how DD is. From what you've said DD sounds like she's doing well and it wouldn't we worth getting an Ed Psych but if you could get a one off session with a private OT who might be able offer guidance and tips for how she can improve.

theconstantinoplegardener Mon 19-Nov-18 19:03:53

Thank you Bottle. She doesn't have any diagnosed SN, but I have occasionally wondered about it. However, she's a keen reader so I thought that didn't match with dyslexia - but I don't know much about it. An OT is a great idea.

OP’s posts: |
Changemyname18 Tue 20-Nov-18 00:21:18

It's a myth that you can't be dyslexic if you are a keen reader. My DS devoured non fiction. But handwriting was poor, gradually getting better now at secondary, and spelling was much below age related expectations and did not match his vocabulary and reading ability. Dyslexia was diagnosed when he was 10, we had private assessment as state primary couldn't realise that good readers could be dyslexics and spiritually dismissed our concerns. Go with your gut feeling. Dyslexia in this form is often even more 'hidden' in girls than boys.

Changemyname18 Tue 20-Nov-18 00:22:24

Spiritually??? I meant initially. The joy of predictive text...

StargazyDrifter Tue 20-Nov-18 00:31:56

OP, also have a look at Dypraxia. It can be behind terrible handwriting and poor spelling. sometimes described as 'clumsy but clever' but it's much more complex than that.

Whatever it is, in the short term, you can get pens with a triangular grip from WH Smith's which help enormously with all manner of fine motor problems (and I say that as someone way past their school age! 😉).

100Pumpkins Tue 20-Nov-18 13:08:04

My child is a good reader but has dyslexia OP


theconstantinoplegardener Tue 20-Nov-18 23:10:17

Thanks everyone.

Stargazy I got one of those special pens today so will see how she likes it tomorrow.

If DD does have dyslexia /dyspraxia, would that be diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist? How would I organise this, should I approach her school with my concerns or would it be better to ask our GP?

I expect we could self-refer to a private OT?

OP’s posts: |
StargazyDrifter Tue 20-Nov-18 23:39:16

Glad you found them! Fingers crossed.

I'm afraid I don't know much about diagnosing children, but the Dyslraxia Foundation or the British Dyslexia Foundation probably have an answer to that somewhere. Or there's a board for SEN on here, I think. Good luck!

RosieBdy Thu 29-Nov-18 05:56:32

Hi, my DS’s handwringing was awful when he was the same age. His teacher at the time gave him highlighted paper to write on which worked brilliantly so we did the same at home... just 2 or 3 minutes a day really helped him.
His handwriting is never going to win him awards, but it’s SO much better now. This might be something that you can try at home?
If you google ‘highlighted flow line paper’ you’ll find lots that you can print, or just have a look at them and grab your own highlighter!

TamiTayorismyparentingguru Thu 29-Nov-18 06:07:21

My DS has naturally terrible handwriting. Like your DD, he has always had great fine motor skills for everything else - does the most minute and fiddly origami for instance - but his handwriting has just always been poor. What worked for him was learning cursive. Not joined up - actual cursive. He learned it when we lived overseas and the difference between his handwriting when we left the UK and when we returned 18m later was phenomenal.

He has definitely lost a bit of technique in the last 3 years since we returned - mainly because his schools (primary and secondary) just don’t seem to care about handwriting so he gets away with being lazy. When he puts the effort in though, it’s much better. Something about the flow of cursive just helped him.

My middle DD has naturally neat handwriting, but never wrote joined up - always print. I bought her a cursive book this past summer and she taught herself. We had parents’ night last week and her teacher told us that her writing is the most beautiful in the whole year group.

My DTs are 8 and have learned joined up writing at home (again - the school just doesn’t push it), but I am fully intending to try cursive with them in the next couple of years. One of them has suspected dyslexia so it’ll be interesting to see if it helps her as much as it has the others.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Thu 29-Nov-18 06:12:33

My dc have Irlens and hypermobility. If she really concentrates she can write ok but it takes all her brain power and then can't do anything else. Secondary school has been great because they no longer care about beautifully formed letters and being legible. They gave her a laptop and the problem is solved. Spelling is improving too. We have accepted that she will never be a sign writer and that there are some disadvantages when revising if not writing, but she can't even read her own handwriting so it isn't a massive loss. It does vary between schools and her issues are severe but if your dd's handwriting is really bad there will come a point where she might be eligible for a laptop.

whistl Thu 29-Nov-18 06:17:50

It sounds like dysgraphia to me.
Here are some variations to consider:-
Does she get hand or wrist pain when writing?
Does she have an awkward pen grip?
Does her writing improve (speed or appearance) when copying ie is it just limited to free writing?
Have you tried a pencil grip or an angled pen?
Have you tried a gel pen ( which has less drag)?
Does she write better when using a gentle slope? (Try a folder for the experiment)

Speak to the teacher and the school SENCo.

Robotindisguise Thu 29-Nov-18 06:24:24

In a hurry but marking to come back later x

sherbsy Thu 06-Dec-18 11:55:38

Hi OP, practise makes perfect with handwriting.

My DS used to have terrible handwriting until his school changed the way they practised it. They used to have a 'big write' on Fridays but changed it to much more regular activities throughout the week.

We also used this book at home which helped LOADS. He kicks and screams about it a bit but the improvement since September has been staggering.

woollyheart Thu 06-Dec-18 12:45:39

Do you think she limits what she writes in homework because she has difficulty writing it down?

If it seriously restricts the content of what she writes I would investigate further. If it is just a bit messy but she can write down everything she wants to, then maybe more practice...

As other people have mentioned, it is possible to be an excellent reader, but still suffer with dyslexia- my ds was diagnosed, and his problems were only with writing. He was fine if someone wrote it down for him, or he could do it with a keyboard. If he tried to write himself, answers were limited to a few sentences and looked very scrawled. He could write more neatly if he really tried but then he couldn't think about the content of what he was writing.

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