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(8 Posts)
peanutbuttercup Fri 24-May-13 02:07:07

Do you have any suggestions for a 8 year old who HATES writing at school has done since he started and still hates it. He is able to write and is good at spelling etc but just hates the "creative" writing stuff - even coming up with sentences about his weekend etc is a problem.

How important do you think it is to physically write on paper? Do you think writing on a computer is a reasonable alternative (if the school was willing). Are there any gadgets out there for children on the spectrum to use at school for this purpose? I don't care if I have to buy it myself.......
Peanut. (thanks so much for any advice - second post today - or tonight in UK time)

Handywoman Fri 24-May-13 07:06:48

Dd2 (8yrs old ?ASD) finds writing very, very difficult. She finds it enormously difficult to organise her thoughts unless she is interested in a subject. Yesterday in SaLT her therapist (who usually gets dd2 to work well and demonstrate developing skills) had a very hard time getting her to speak coherently about simple subjects. It was depressing. Of course there are other issues that affect writing, e.g. Fine motor skills.

However, both SaLT and school Ed Psych have suggested using 'schemes' or plans to prompt structured output. Things like 'write your name' 'write the date' what colour is it/smell/sounds/movement/taste 'where do we find it''what do we do with it'

This gives written structure to support output. School are supposed to be using these three times a week with dd2 as part of her IEP.

Is that the sort of thing that would help or is it more of a physical issue?

crazeelaydee Fri 24-May-13 10:01:41

Hello same for my Ds, he can write albeit very slow. Give him a passage to read and answer questions from he will 'begrudgingly' do it (copies the answer word for word from the passage) ask him to finish a story in his own words....he can't, he physically can't, he has all the ideas swimming around in his mind but he just can not grab the one idea and put it on the paper (LOVE his paediatrician! I have told the school this may be the case for some time now from my observations when he has been doing his homework!), he gets so frustrated with himself and gets into so much trouble at school because his writing varies from day to day (to them he CBA to us depends on what he is writing).

His writing problems were mentioned to his paediatrician yesterday she said suggest a scribe for the times when his written work is 'creative' I can't see this happening TBH, she can tell by talking to him that he has a lot of very smart brain cells floating around in his head, all's he has to do is 'show' the school that he has retained the information he has been taught and it should not make a difference how this is put onto paper be that by a scribe or typed. Just have a think about often do we actually write? I know that I type EVERYTHING it's only when I am pressed for time or I am given a form consisting of 2 words answers to fill in that I will physically write something.

My Ds has AS, she also said that they have just learned (although some of us who have been doing our research for some time wink) that Asperger's can sometimes overlap with dyspraxia which can cause difficulties with fine motor skills and the child may appear clumsy. He has been referred to OT to observe his writing just to rule this out. This will be the first time since he started school that his writing has ever been looked into! After years of me being brought in because of his lack of written work that someone has actually thought ok lets get this checked.

Sorry if I have rambled but it's such a breath of fresh air to hear someone else mention that there must be something hindering instead of the usual he doesn't want too, lacks motivation, can't be bothered, is lazy. angry

PolterGoose Fri 24-May-13 10:38:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

peanutbuttercup Fri 24-May-13 10:56:00

Thanks so much for the replies. I do think it is a combination of the organising thoughts coupled with the physical aspect too much to think about at once. I think some kind of prompts may help to get the ball rolling? Will have to come up with some strategies before upcoming IEP...

crazeelaydee Fri 24-May-13 12:25:46

I agree about the writing PolterGoose but when the basics of the skill is there but there is evidence that the individual is becoming anxious to the point of illness when would it be time to try an alternative? My DH had similar struggles at school as our DS. He was punished relentlessly due to it and told pretty much the same as my DS is being told, now you would be luckily to get him to sign his name on something, so all the focus on handwriting in school was pointless really.

OK peanutbuttercup here are some ideas which we used as parents and some which have been used at school for DS, not sure if it will help your Ds or not.

HOME (over the past 2 years)

a) story frames- starting with 3 sections (a bit like what cartoon makers use to begin with) beginning, middle, end - adding more sections as he gets used to doing it. We worked backwards so DS new the ending first then he just had to fill in the blanks.
b) Mind maps, spider graphs
c) Work on the fine motor skills every DC's develop differently, bendaroos were ideal for this.
d) Dictaphone, then DS replayed himself and wrote it down. This didn't work too well, my DS can tell you a wonderful, lengthy story but as mentioned above takes a long time to write it down.
e) Brain storm the basics eg characters/setting/plot etc, jotting down key words then DS uses this to complete a story.

most successful was the story frames, but saying that he tended to focus more on the pictures he did. smile


a) breaking up the work into smaller sections (green, amber, red), similar to story frame but without a picture to help. This could be done on an A4 piece of paper or a whiteboard.

b) small group work so more help from the teacher.


vorpent Fri 24-May-13 23:08:18

If his issue really is with the organising and thinking of stuff to write, then crazyladee's ideas sound great.

If he's got fine motor issues though, I think typing's the only way forward really. We got our dyspraxic ds (yr 3) typing and it's transformed him. His self-esteem's gone up, as well as his grades.

If a child is uncomfortable writing by hand, they'll write as little as they can get away with, and they'll find it hard to concentrate on the content when they're having to think so hard about physically forming the letters.

I disagree that children need to hand write. It becomes a barrier to the whole curriculum if you can't record your thoughts in a form that teachers can read and assess. Get children access to the curriculum first, and worry about handwriting later.

peanutbuttercup Sat 25-May-13 08:24:59

Thanks so much for your useful replies. Definitely need to do something to help as its overshadowing all other things at school. I think doing a proportion of it on the computer is probably ok but for the rest the idea of story frames is great thank you crazyladee I will look into all of that

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