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Improving handwriting in a year 8

(14 Posts)
LittleMissGreen Sat 01-Nov-14 21:37:42

DS is in year 8. His handwriting is poor, he has a bit of hypermobility in his fingers that makes it hard for him to hold a pen correctly. All the way through school he has been told to improve his handwriting, but it has never really been an issue. His spelling is also poor, something I have been asking teachers about for ages, but it is always brushed off as he had a good reading age and they seemed to think he would naturally catch up at some point. I did some spelling intervention with him and he improved a bit, but not great.
All his teachers now however are making his work targets to improve his handwriting.spelling, rather than a subject specific target (if that makes sense), but he has always written this way. How does he go about changing his handwriting? He doesn't write particularly fast so slowing down is unlikely to make any difference.
I really need some info either on what I can do at home, or who I should approach at school to get them to help him actually acheive this target.

NotQuiteSoBig Sat 01-Nov-14 22:30:29

Has he tried something like this product to help him hold his pen?

My DD didn't really like writing and had untidy writing. She went back to basics of shaping letters correctly. You can get lots of different versions in learning to write. Helped her a lot and her writing is much better.

LittleMissGreen Sat 01-Nov-14 22:34:08

I tried to get him to use a triangle one before (When he was about yr4 I think) but he refused to use it as he thought it made him stand out in school. He has Aspergers and sticks out baddly anyway.

cilldara Sat 01-Nov-14 22:37:17

This is a great site with lots of information and tips.

I know some of my students with ASDs have had some success with this.

LittleMissGreen Sat 01-Nov-14 22:37:36

Wonder if getting him to use one at home would work, even if he didn't use it in school.
Did you just do a small amount of handwriting practice every evening? If so, how long for?

LittleMissGreen Sat 01-Nov-14 22:43:09

Thanks for the link cilldara that looks quite helpful.

NotQuiteSoBig Sat 01-Nov-14 22:44:29

How about an ergonomic pen? Something like this one?

NotQuiteSoBig Sat 01-Nov-14 22:49:25

We did 20 mins every couple of days.

littlenicky61 Sun 02-Nov-14 12:42:41


this thread may help especially the comments by Lee D

my friends son had similar issues and one of the practise exercise he did was popping bubble wrap as apparently it helps strengthen the fingers in order to do a correct tripod grip. Another friends son had dyspraxia and was eventually allowed to use a laptop when he began year 9

Jeanniemacarooney Sun 02-Nov-14 13:37:16

Hi. My ds sounds similar to yours and is also in year 8. He is believed to be borderline aspergers but they couldn't quite agree when he was 4. He has always suffered with poor fine motor control which when he was younger was very evident in his problems with pen holding and writing. The best thing we ever did was to get him to an occupational therapist who worked with him to improve his gross and then fine motor skills. She also advised us on lots of different ways and techniques to improve things. Now in year 8 he writes as well if not better than his peer group although he still struggles with the speed and takes as long to write one page while others would have written two. Hope that advice helps.

TeenAndTween Sun 02-Nov-14 14:18:36

Having got to y8, you may like to consider giving up the fight on this one, for schoolwork at least.

If the problems are as bad as you say, then he should be allowed to use a laptop in class. Then if it is part of day-to-day life, this should be extended for use in GCSE exams.

DD1 was assessed and allowed to use a laptop from start of y10. It has made a tremendous difference to her.

LittleMissGreen Sun 02-Nov-14 17:05:43

Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll go and talk to the school and see if we can let him use a laptop even if he has to keep working on the handwriting too.

FlowersForAlgernon Sun 02-Nov-14 17:14:41

For handwriting you need OT exercises like 'speed up' (buy from amazon)

Even if he can use a laptop for English and history it's likely he'll still choose to write for maths and science.

For spelling the best thing is spelling tutor

Runningtokeepstill Mon 03-Nov-14 12:50:15

Another vote for the laptop.

If he's got some hypermobility in his fingers it may be that handwriting is actually painful if he does it for any length of time. My ds had quite poor handwriting and could manage a few legible lines, after which things got progressively worse. I'd always thought it was because he'd moved on to focusing on the task rather than the writing, until he had an assessment by an OT. She told me his wrists were quite weak and that his handwriting got worse because his hand was fatigued; so she wrote a report saying he should use a laptop for prolonged writing tasks.

He still works on his handwriting and it is now much more legible but he can produce more work on a laptop for extended tasks as he finds typing more comfortable. As you say your ds writes quite slowly, he may be producing less work in some subjects because he's being held back by the effort of writing.

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