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Any suggestions? DS is good at reading but really struggles with writing

(21 Posts)
confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 10:14:25

Anyone have any ideas that might help us? DS (Yr 3) is quiet and sensitive. He is fine at reading but really struggles with written work. His handwriting is ok, he has had his eyes checked, and he understands what he has to do, but he just doesn't seem to be able to get on and do it. He can spell, he understands punctuation - all the bits that make up 'writing's he seems to have - but he still can't seem to write more than a few words unless he has one-to-one support. If I dictate a sentence he can write it down, but if left to make up his own sentence he will still have a blank sheet of paper an hour later. He has been seen by OT and they have said he doesn't have dyspraxia. He has been assessed as being reasonably bright. Does anyone have any ideas about how I could help him, or what might be the problem? Thank you!

zzzzz Wed 10-Dec-14 10:25:39

How is he a typing? That can be go using.

What about a dictaphone? He talks into it, then listens and writes what he he dictates for himself.

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 10:34:01

Haven't tried a dictaphone, but am willing to try anything that would help. Have tried typing on the computer at home, which he enjoys, but it doesn't seem to help an awful lot. Maybe he needs to use it more, so it becomes more second nature? When I watch him he still struggles to find his way around the keyboard, so it is slow going.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 10-Dec-14 10:41:30

Dd3 has a similar problem her writing skills have just been measured as being on the 1st centile!

She is above average intelligence and has excellent verbal comprehension eg on the 86th centile.

The Independent EP we took her too says she needs specialist teaching.

Dd3 does have a primary diagnosis of Asd too and the EP feels that this is the main contributing factor in her difficulties. She isnt learning in the same way as other students so needs teaching a different way.

I hope you manage to get some help for your Ds, it is very frustrating for our children to have ideas but not be able to get them on the paper sad

Good luck flowers

streakybacon Wed 10-Dec-14 10:48:38

I second typing. Teach him to touch-type so he can work faster. Often a big part of the problem is the brain thinking faster than the hands can write. Typing helps balance it out a bit.

It also helps with organisation. Ds (16) does all academic work on a laptop and with longer questions he can start at the end or in the middle if he wants to and work back and forth till he's got everything down. Working by hand means you can't do that.

Planning might help. Mind mapping, ideas boxes, ways of bullet pointing the basics that he can then expand on in longer sentences.

For story writing we used Story Wizard which helped to break the bigger task into smaller, more manageable parts.

zzzzz Wed 10-Dec-14 10:48:47

My boy is in year 5. He Does have difficulty reading and spelling though, so possibly not the same vibe. If I read the questions to him he can ace a verbal reasoning paper though confused

zzzzz Wed 10-Dec-14 10:49:39

There are apps where you just drag and drop words which can help. Clicker5 I think.

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 10:50:11

Thanks patience. Can I ask what a writing assessment involves? Who does that? I have a gut feeling that DS also needs teaching in a different way - but I have no idea what to do to help him. Does your DD's school use any specialist teaching techniques?

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 10:52:00

Thanks zzzzz. Can I ask if your school did verbal reasoning with your son, or was that something you tried at home?

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 10:57:38

Thanks streakybacon. When we are talking together he loves to play word games, and we do that 'who can make the longest sentence adding a word at a time' game. Verbally, he finds it great fun. When it comes to putting it on paper though, we stumble. Have tried structuring in boxes and have tried bullet points, but no joy yet. So, touch typing - not a skill I have ever learned but would be more than happy for him to learn. Do you think it possible we could ask the School to lay that on or would we have to find someone privately?

zzzzz Wed 10-Dec-14 11:04:10

I did it with him (bond tests from WHSmith..puzzles, quite fun).

We are trying Touch typing this Christmas holidays. There is a free game from the bbc. Follow link to dance mat typing.

I have friend who says it takes about 20 hours to get to typing easily. I'm quite excited to try with him.

The verbal reasoning has given him a huge boost. He feels all clever grin

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 11:05:46

Oh thanks zzzzz - I might just try that too. Have got to go to work just now, but back later. Thank you!

zzzzz Wed 10-Dec-14 11:07:16


streakybacon Wed 10-Dec-14 11:26:52

Mavis Beacon is a good typing tutor, from simple games for young children right up to speed development for adults. It's definitely worth teaching him to type so that by the time he's old enough for exams, it will be his 'normal way of working' and he'll have access to a keyboard.

PolterGoose Wed 10-Dec-14 11:28:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 10-Dec-14 11:45:17

Hi again confused I will be honest and say I dont really know blush , Dd3 is quite a lot older than your Ds she is yr7. I know she had to write a letter to somebody but there was more to it than that. Her ideas are jumbled and all her sentences start with either So or And even after the occasional full stop. Her punctuation is virtually non existant and her spelling hit and miss. She has a large bank of known words she can spell but once outside that bank she is struggling.

We went to an independent EP because we are trying to get her a statement/EHCP.

We were shocked at actually how poor her skills are, especially as school are always telling us how "Fine" she is sad hmm

I agree about typing. Dd3 can produce much better written work this way, although her ideas are still confused and muddled.

Good luck flowers

streakybacon Wed 10-Dec-14 11:59:10

I think it also depends on what type of written work your ds is trying to do. Mine struggles with anything with a personal or emotional slant to it - it's because there is no 'right' answer or way to present it, and he panics. He can fly through literary analysis because there are techniques you can learn, but that's not possible when you're writing about yourself.

He got an A* for English Language GCSE but he can't write a letter, or even a text to a friend without me checking it over first. A lot of it is to do with confidence.

It helps to break down specific areas of difficulty and relate them to writing. Eg, does he have sufficient imagination for story writing, can he put himself into situations that haven't happened to him? Can he empathise? Lots of things will inhibit writing.

Also agree about hypermobility and pain. Worth checking out.

Also bear in mind he's very young. A lot of children, especially boys, of his age struggle with written work. Hard to tell at this stage whether it's a serious issue.

confusedaboutthis Wed 10-Dec-14 12:51:50

Hello Polter! His gross and fine motor skills have always been weak. He is apparently in the 'normal' range now - but I would say still the bottom end of normal. I think he is still hypermobile (was assessed when he was tiny) but he doesn't complain of pain or aches. He does look tired a lot of the time.
He enjoys Lego, but tends to do his own creations rather than following the instruction booklet.
I got him something that looks like a Yoropen (thank you Mumsnetters!) but he didn't really take to it. He seems to have an OK pencil grip but does grip it quite hard - he often breaks the lead in the pencil by pressing too hard as well. He was excited when I gave him some coloured pencils to write with recently, and enjoyed using those. I think he particularly liked the patterns he could make by using different colours in his words. We haven't tried any different types of paper - is there anything you would recommend?

PolterGoose Wed 10-Dec-14 13:24:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Wed 10-Dec-14 13:26:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confusedaboutthis Thu 11-Dec-14 07:43:46

Thank you everyone for all the good advice. Will keep trying and see if we can come up with something that works.

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