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Letter Formation help for Dyspraxic child.

(22 Posts)
SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 12:43:37

My son is 9 years old, and dyspraxic. I have known he is dyspraxic since he was about 6 months old, but is only just about to be assessed for it.

One of the major problems we have is his handwriting, he can barely write his own name. he can tell you how to spell things, read perfectly well, he just cannot write.

His teacher has printed out letter formation worksheets for him, but i am wondering if there is anything else that other mums/dads of dyspraxic children could recommend?

PolterGoose Sun 19-May-13 14:13:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nostress Sun 19-May-13 14:21:32

My son was diagnosed in year 4. His handwriting was really bad too! We started off using a slant board, a cushion, moulded pens, rubber grippers and those faber pencils that are triangles rather than the usual hexagon shape. By year 6 he moved to using a laptop and typing everything. He is now in year 10/15 years old and he takes a ipad to school and types most things.
I'd still do handwriting practice with him but its very tricky to get it looking nice and at a good speed. In 'real life' mist people no type most things and the quicker you can get him going with that the better!

Fyi he is allowed to use a laptop in exams too!

Have you seen an occupational therapist? Or just an ed psych?

nostress Sun 19-May-13 14:22:59

*most and now, must really learn to proof read!

SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 14:52:35

He has his assessment with an OT, PT and Paed next week, although we are all (school teachers, SENCO, home and others) sure that he has it.
I recently changed GP, as the previous one would not refer us (didn't 'believe in dyspraxia'), hence the delay in getting diagnosed.

Nostress- did you find any of those tools useful, in particular I am interested in the triangle pencils?

nostress Sun 19-May-13 15:06:15

Yes the pencils are the best thing i could recommend they are called "faber-castell grip". Can get them on amazon. You can get normal hb and also colouring pencils. The other aids didnt work for us but might work for your son. Mine found the board and cushion embarrasing at school as it was obviously different from other kids although he continued to use them at home for years. The rubber grip things he found to thick and made it more difficult to control. He still uses the pencils!
He had about a year of occupational therapy and we followed the advice and did the exercises religiously. Our ot recommended "developmental dyspraxia:identification and intervention: a manual for parents and proffesionals" by madeleine portwood. And it is a very good book!
Apart from the handwriting what else makes you think he has it?

nostress Sun 19-May-13 15:07:57


SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 15:24:43

Believe me, I am not one of these mums who just diagnose my child with something because they read it on the internet, I really have researched this and know it to be the case.

He is the most accident prone child you will ever meet. He can (and does, frequently) trip over his own feet, spills things a LOT. He cannot balance, ride a bike, run very well or skip. Has no common sense, finds it hard to dress himself, and cannot draw even a simple picture.

He didn't sit (aided) until 11 months, unaided until he was 14 months old, and didn't start walking until he was 2 years 4 months.

nostress Sun 19-May-13 16:10:27

Yep that certainly sounds like it to me! I'd never even heard if it until a teacher/senco suggested it to us. There were lots of flags that we missed. He was our first and we just didn't know what to expect! The first flag was age 2 when his preschool said he didn't like doing pencil skills! He was assessed for adhd in year 2 (for poor concentration) but although he scored highly on somethings it wasn't bad enough for a diagnosis. He was under the senco at primary school because his written ability didn't match his oral..that is he was very bright and knew things but it all went pear shaped when he tried to write down. He also couldn't copy from the board when he started junior school. His y4 teacher had experience of another dyspraxic kid and she was the first to put a name to it.
He to was bad at dressing, couldn't ride a bike til he was 11 or 12, was a messy eater/had problems with a knife and fork. He was not good at jigsaws or shape sorting. Most of his problems are fine motor ones though as his gross motor is not bad. In fact he walked at 11months.
I've just remembered another thing a balance board! That helped alot with his balance and he is now really good on his bike! Also do lots of colouring in activities and cutting out as this helps with motor skills.
Also a problem was/is following multistep instructions and deciding how to tackle a problem. He is also really bad at maths that relies on spatial awareness so shape rotation that sort of thing.

SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 16:46:03

Thanks nostress,
I wondered at the beginning if he had ADHD, and several times I was asked if he had ADHD (mainly because he would-and still does- talk so LOUDLY), but I don't think that's an issue.

I'll have a look at balance board, thanks for that. I am tired (and skint!) from having to replace carpets, crockery etc from his constant accidents with food, drinks and anything that has the possibility to stain grin

I have fought for so long to get this appointment next week, and have had to put up with being dismissed as a neurotic mother, and I am just so tired of it.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:25:16

I would recommend the following...
Write from the start workbooks - I got men from amazon. There are 2 books of exercises from zig zags to letters...
I would also strongly recommend retained reflex therapy.
I know you say you are skint (we were too) but it helped ds so much.
We went to inpp at Chester, but there are several a places in the uk, like hemispheres and sound learning centre.
Good luck

nostress Sun 19-May-13 17:32:42

Lol its so the opposite of me i was in denial! I said 'oh hes a boy he obviously would rather be wrestling than doing pencil skills'!
The balance board/wobble board £12.35 on amazon. But just standing on one leg can help! Also rolling a marble between your thumb and fingers helps. Practice touching individual fingers on the thumb in turn. I know it all sound pretty random but they did help build those connections. Start after your assessment though! Apparently dyspraxia is often misdiagnosed as adhd because some traits overlap.

Just out of interest did he have a difficult birth?

SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 17:39:55

Thanks badvoc, I'll definitely look into those workbooks..although i like the idea of being able to get men from Amazon ;)
I'll do some research on Retained Reflex Therapy, i haven't heard of that before. Thanks for the info.

Nostress-the birth itself wasn't too difficult (apart from being undiagnosed breech), but straight after birth his lungs collapsed and he spent a few weeks in the NICU for having air in between the lining of his lungs (can't remember the proper medical name for it). Do you think it could be related?

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:50:28

Oh!! blush
If only, eh?
The books were great for ds1.
I will try and link them...
Rrt was also amazing for him...within a dp few weeks he was ride a bike, a scooter, swim, able to use a knife and fork....if you go on e inpp website there is an online questionairre you can fill in to see if they can help.

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 17:51:07

nostress Sun 19-May-13 17:51:52

Apparently yes difficult births can increase the likelihood especially if forceps were used. My ds had a difficult birth, was in distress for a long time and had forceps. We also have sen in the family, my husband's mum is dyslexic....and extremely intelligent in fact she is a professor! Also husbands sister. My husband has very poor spatial awareness but not dyspraxic, so i think with my son its a bit of genetic and a bit of physical circumstances with difficult birth.

SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 18:00:23

Badvoc- thanks for the link, it sounds great that your son made such great progress!

nostress-my sons dad is dyslexic, quite severely i think, but also very intelligent.
In regards to the birth problems that he had, i kept all the paper work from when he was discharged from the NICU. Do you think it would be useful to take it with me to the assessment next week?
The school SENCO and teachers have given me loads of evidence, his IEPs, previous school reports going all the way back to reception class, demonstrating his dyspraxic tendencies. I will be taking those with me.

nostress Sun 19-May-13 18:35:56

From what i remember the assessments were different for the ot & ed psyc. We had the ed psyc first and it was very quantitative. He assessed verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning, spatial awareness, hand writing speed, spelling. It was the difference between his vr, nvr & spatial awareness that was key. He (ds) scored on the 97% percentile for vr (50% is average), 86% for nvr and 12% for spatial awareness. That meant there was a massive difference between vr and nvr and spatial. I think he said a difference of more than 30 indicates dyspraxia. He then diagnosed dyspraxia but also suggested ot assessment to be sure. The ot assessment was very qualitative looking at drawing ability and physical things. She also took a thorough medical history including details of birth. I didn't take anything with me though as wasnt expecting this!
He also had a physio assessment to because he was also very very double jointed!

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 18:52:00

Dyslexia has no link whatsoever to intelligence!
60% of the people who work at NASA are dyslexic for example.
Part if the issue with dyslexia is that it does have a huge knock on effect on a persons self esteem and belief in themselves....and of course ere is the bullying sad
Do check out the tinsley house support thread if you are interested in tackling all of your sons issues.
My son is now 9 and in year 5 at school and in 18 months has gone from not being able to read functionally or write a readable sentance to being top table for reading!! His progress has been amazing.
He is so much happier and his talents are now there for all to see because he is no longer trapped in his dyslexic/dyspraxia prison.
Good luck x

Badvoc Sun 19-May-13 18:52:38

(And there is a massive genetic link wet these issues so no surprise your dh has dyslexia)

mumgoingcrazy Sun 19-May-13 19:45:15

We've done this:

With dd2 (5.11yrs) and have had great results. She has dyspraxia and I never thought I'd see her write anything remotely legible but she does and she's progressing all the time. Last week she wrote a 7 word sentence that I could actually read! It was horizontal and (sort of) followed the line.


SEWannabe Sun 19-May-13 20:40:56

mumgoingcrazy-thanks for that link. It's those little things that takes so much effort from them, it's so nice when they succeed isn't it.

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