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His handwriting is like a 4 year olds Please Help

15 replies

lucie1919 · 21/04/2008 17:38

Please can some one help me I have just got back from a meeting with ds (8) teacher who has told me that his handwriting is beyond appaling. I have looked through his work books and its all completely illegible. He is really bright, i know we all say that but he won an award for science last year and is doing year 4 maths while in year 3. His reading is average but his handwriting is worse than reception class. He doesn't seem to show the classic symptoms of dyslexia since his reading is pretty good and he reads for pleasure at home. but you cannot read a single word he writes. he also cannot tie his shoelaces and has trouble with a knife and fork. Could it be a motor skills problem. I cannot see how this can be though since he is a keen skateboarder and loves riding his bike. We have done writing practice every night and I thought it was improving but I haven't forced him to do any over the holidays and its like we're back to square one. Any suggestions please i am at my wits end.

OP posts:
dustystar · 21/04/2008 17:40

Maybe its is fine motor skills he has a problem with rather than gross ones. Sorry no advice other than to keep practicing but hopefully someone will have some for you

LIZS · 21/04/2008 17:43

Have you thought of having an assessment, possibly for Dyspraxia /Developmental Coordination Disorder. It can affetc certian areas such as fine motor mroe than others such as gross motor. Ds cna read really well but his spelling and handwriting is a struggle to read compared to his younger(by 3+years) sister's

Lazycow · 21/04/2008 17:44

I wish I could help with this.

My handwriting was always awful (still is) and I always did really untidy work. I like to think I was (and am) bright though. I went to university etc, got a good job. My handwriting was just pants.

I did practise, but tbh it made me quite miserable when people complained about it all the time. I just couldn't seem to make it neat and tidy. Thank goodness typing has become the main mode of writing for most types of work.

gagarin · 21/04/2008 17:44

Ask for a referral for assessment from a paediatirc occupational therapist.

They can make suggestions and offer help.

If the problem continues and he's been flagged up as having a specific problem then extra time is available in tests - I think he can have a scribe in SATs for example.

He can also use a lap top in secondary school I believe.

LIZS · 21/04/2008 17:45

ring any bells ?

lucie1919 · 21/04/2008 17:56

Wow I didn't expect so many replies thank you. Lizs, i had a look at the link and it def rings some bells but some are definately not the case such as poor socialising and unable to cope with school routine. He always moans about school but has some good friends when he;s there. My biggest worry is what Lazycow was saying. He's such a bright spark I dont want him to become disheartened.

OP posts:
bigTillyMint · 21/04/2008 17:56

I was just thinking the same LIZS!

christywhisty · 21/04/2008 17:56

My daughters writing was like this at 8. Teachers couldn't read it to mark it, although she is very bright. She is left handed as well which probably doesn't help. I did write on here at the time.
We were going through the DC's old school books the other day. DS yr 1 (who is dyslexic) books were so much neater than DD's yr 3 book.
But she is now 10 and there has been a huge improvement in the last few months, it is legible but compared to other children in her class it is probably still immature, but her teacher says if that is the only problem it doesn't matter.

KatieScarlett2833 · 21/04/2008 17:58

Both my children were the same at that age, very bright, no other problems but awful handwriting. Both have no problems now. Try not to stress about it, if possible.

RosaLuxembourg · 21/04/2008 23:58

Sounds like dyspraxia. My DD1 suffers from similar problems, although she has gross motor problems as well. She is 10 now and just after she turned nine, her handwriting suddenly went from being like a reception child's to almost normal for her age. Her teacher was amazed and I have no idea why it happened. We tried all sorts of extra handwriting practice, special pens etc but none of that seemed to do much for her.
However, she did take up the violin in Year Three and I think that has helped quite a lot, whether it accounts for the handwriting improvement or not I really don't know.
Shoelaces are still a problem for her, and scissors, and she didn't master a knife and fork properly until she was nine.
If I were you I would look for a hobby that he can enjoy that emphasises fine motor skills and not focus too much on the handwriting itself. You may find that like my DD, his fine motor skills take a sudden jump forward in a year or so, but you probably need to talk to his teacher about any resources they may have to help him. My experience was that because DD is a high achiever academically, it was difficult to get anyone to take her problem seriously.

fortyplus · 22/04/2008 00:19

ds1 was exactly like this. Primary school totally failed to address the problem - when he went to secondary his spelling age was assessed as 8yrs 2 mnths. He had extra help with writing after that.

It's never held him back in Science & Maths - he's top set Science and 2nd for Maths in excellent school.

Even in English he is due to achieve level 7 in his KS3 SATs (national expectation at that age is level 6).

I really wouldn't worry too much. If you start to fuss too much you could damage his self esteem. I definitely wouldn't practise writing every day at that age - he'll be doing plenty at school so what's the point? I would encourage him to do simple puzzle books or colouring.

GooseyLoosey · 22/04/2008 00:40

I was like this and tbh my handwriting did not really improve until about 18 (its extraordinarily neat now). Teachers used to be mystified at how such a bright child could produce such hideous squiggles. I too could ride a bike and was not bad at games, I just had terrible fine motor control.

I can honestly say that it has not held me back in anyway in my life. People going on at me about it got me down but did not improve my writing.

There are alternative to endless writing practice in books like this.

mimsum · 22/04/2008 12:28

ds2 (8) has fine motor skills problems and up until very recently his writing was awful - barely legible and soooo painful and slow for him I could hardly bear to watch him ...

he loves reading, can ride a bike well, is quite clumsy but loves cricket, lego etc

he had an OT assessment last year and we were told that he'd probably never be able to master joined-up writing and that typing would be the way to go - school issued him with an alphasmart and typing lessons so he could manage extended pieces of writing without a scribe

however, a few weeks ago, something just 'clicked' and suddenly he started doing cursive handwriting completely out of the blue - at parents' evening I was looking through his books and literally one week he was producing this horrible, cramped printing with loads of fussy curlicues - the next week he was doing fluid joined-up cursive script - it's still not the neatest but he's finding it so much easier, so don't despair

swedishmum · 23/04/2008 10:57

At the end of Y4 ds's handwriting resembled spider poo on a page. I did some work with him making sure all letter formation was right and made a mini checklist to stick on his desk (margin, lines etc). There's a Lois Addy book with some good ideas in. SOme children find a writing slope really helps. If he presses too hard on the page 2 quick ideas are to use a cheap retracting pencil - it'll snap if you press too hard or use something soft under the paper (laminate underlay foam stuff is grat) to understand about making holes in the paper. Other idea - 3 little boxes - do one too hard, one just right and one too light before you write (cd be 3 bears for younger kids) to "programme" your hand into applying the right pressure.
Ds's writing vastly improved (when he thinks about it) and he's dyslexic. When he's drafting work at home I get him to write on every other line so he can edit it and still read it. Typing's a good skill to learn as well. Ds spells much better when he's typing.

cory · 23/04/2008 14:25

I had weak ligaments in my wrists which meant writing was a total pain, and I'm still not very good at shoe-laces (at 44 ). The invention of computers were my salvation. I had no particular problems getting a PhD, but I still struggle to write a legible letter by hand.
My dc's have both been diagnosed with joint hypermobility syndrome and I notice they have similar problems. Dd has finally developed nice handwriting (at 11), but has difficulties cutting up her chop.

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