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Tutoring for Poor Handwriting

20 replies

DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 09:59

Hi, wanted to check if there is anything I can do to improve my son's poor handwriting. He is in Year 9 and his handwriting, which was never great to begin with, has become illegible now.

I can barely make out the letters, for example if it is an 'a', 'n' or 'h'. It takes out ages to figure out when I read his written work. He also does not capitalise or use the right punctuation. He has had intervention at school but with very short term improvement and he reverts back to poor handwriting pretty quickly.

Is there anything I can do - practice books, online tutoring, other resources which can help. I am happy to spend money if I can get good results.

Will be very grateful for any advice, thank you.

OP posts:
DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 10:05

Just to add, we are already using grips, special handwriting pens etc. he has excellent fine motor skills otherwise.

OP posts:
Lovetotravel123 · 28/05/2023 10:05

My son has these issues. In the end, we got him assessed by an occupational therapist and she recommended a behavioural optometrist. It takes time but it has helped. He is now allowed to use a laptop for exams because of the assessment he had.

Butterflybutterflies · 28/05/2023 10:07

When my son was in year 7/8 I was told it would be very unlikely to improve his handwriting.
DS has had daily intervention at school since the start of year 9 and also weekly OT sessions. He has improved but only because he’s had such intensive support. You could engage an OT for your DS but it’s likely to be needed long term.

When it comes to class work DS uses a laptop rather than writing as it’s easier for him.

You need to speak to your school SENCO to request a handwriting assessment. After that he should be allowed to use a laptop.

DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 10:18

Thank you very much for replying @Lovetotravel123 and @Butterflybutterflies. Both of you mention involving occupational therapists. How did you go about this please? Did you find yourself one or were you referred by someone? I am happy to privately engage and pay for any help but not sure on the next steps. Did the school help in connecting you with the therapist? Thank you.

OP posts:
magnolia1997 · 28/05/2023 10:45

The Senco will be able to arrange for him to use a laptop.
It's important that this is already in place before he starts external exams so that he can show this is usual for him and be allowed laptop use for GCSEs.

EducatingArti · 28/05/2023 10:52

I know a retired OT who does handwriting tutoring. PM me if you are in the Manchester area.

NancyDrawed · 28/05/2023 10:58

I found Sheilagh Blythe at Help With Handwriting really approachable.

Ds (now year 8) did the online 66 day course towards the end of year 7 which aimed to improve legibility rather than produce perfect handwriting and it did help him loads. He didn't get much handwriting support at primary and he said he was never taught how to form numbers correctly either - him and his brother both write 5s and 2s from the bottom up!

I've just had a look at her website and the course DS did is now £350 (I can't remember what I paid last year) so it's definitely not a cheap option, but might be worth a look? I will say that DS started off enthused but ran out of steam towards the end and tbf I was more bothered about his writing than he was, but having marked test papers I know how important it is to have readable writing. There's also now a course for getting exam ready handwriting if that might suit your DS better if you go down the online route?


https://helpwithhandwriting.co.uk/handwriting-courses/

Handwriting Courses - Help With Handwriting

Online handwriting courses for children aged between 6 and 16 years or in primary, secondary or high school years.

https://helpwithhandwriting.co.uk/handwriting-courses

DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 11:10

magnolia1997 · 28/05/2023 10:45

The Senco will be able to arrange for him to use a laptop.
It's important that this is already in place before he starts external exams so that he can show this is usual for him and be allowed laptop use for GCSEs.

Than you @magnolia1997. You are right. We need to put permanent measures in place before the GCSE exams. Will check on using the laptops instead of handwritten papers if his handwriting does not improve over the summer.

OP posts:
DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 11:11

EducatingArti · 28/05/2023 10:52

I know a retired OT who does handwriting tutoring. PM me if you are in the Manchester area.

@EducatingArti thank you. I live in Berkshire.

OP posts:
DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 11:15

NancyDrawed · 28/05/2023 10:58

I found Sheilagh Blythe at Help With Handwriting really approachable.

Ds (now year 8) did the online 66 day course towards the end of year 7 which aimed to improve legibility rather than produce perfect handwriting and it did help him loads. He didn't get much handwriting support at primary and he said he was never taught how to form numbers correctly either - him and his brother both write 5s and 2s from the bottom up!

I've just had a look at her website and the course DS did is now £350 (I can't remember what I paid last year) so it's definitely not a cheap option, but might be worth a look? I will say that DS started off enthused but ran out of steam towards the end and tbf I was more bothered about his writing than he was, but having marked test papers I know how important it is to have readable writing. There's also now a course for getting exam ready handwriting if that might suit your DS better if you go down the online route?


https://helpwithhandwriting.co.uk/handwriting-courses/

I will check out Sheilagh Blythe at Help With Handwriting. Thank you @NancyDrawed. Right now my main focus is that his writing is legible and I really don't mind if it is looking pretty or if he is using cursive handwriting etc. This looks useful!

OP posts:
Butterflybutterflies · 28/05/2023 12:07

@DressDilemma google childrens handwriting OTs in your area. You will hopefully find some that offer handwriting packages. You don’t need a referral, you can contact them yourself.

DS goes to a dyslexia specialist school so is lucky to have lots of support - he does practice within class daily and then weekly sessions with an OT. He has improved so much but it takes so much concentration that he loses his train of thought so he uses his laptop for most work.

Your school SENCO can perform a DASH test, request this. Then your DS will probably be given permission to use a laptop. If his touch typing isn’t great then he should practice this.

DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 18:49

Butterflybutterflies · 28/05/2023 12:07

@DressDilemma google childrens handwriting OTs in your area. You will hopefully find some that offer handwriting packages. You don’t need a referral, you can contact them yourself.

DS goes to a dyslexia specialist school so is lucky to have lots of support - he does practice within class daily and then weekly sessions with an OT. He has improved so much but it takes so much concentration that he loses his train of thought so he uses his laptop for most work.

Your school SENCO can perform a DASH test, request this. Then your DS will probably be given permission to use a laptop. If his touch typing isn’t great then he should practice this.

Thank you! I have noted down your tips and will speak to the school and also look up the local occupational therapists.

OP posts:
Augend23 · 28/05/2023 18:52

Butterflybutterflies · 28/05/2023 12:07

@DressDilemma google childrens handwriting OTs in your area. You will hopefully find some that offer handwriting packages. You don’t need a referral, you can contact them yourself.

DS goes to a dyslexia specialist school so is lucky to have lots of support - he does practice within class daily and then weekly sessions with an OT. He has improved so much but it takes so much concentration that he loses his train of thought so he uses his laptop for most work.

Your school SENCO can perform a DASH test, request this. Then your DS will probably be given permission to use a laptop. If his touch typing isn’t great then he should practice this.

Just to say I learnt to touch type as an adult using the BBC children's touch typing course. It's quite childish and it depending on your son if he can cope with that but it was really effective - I can now type at speaking speed and it's way faster than my (fast and legible) handwriting.

SweetiePi3 · 28/05/2023 18:54

DressDilemma · 28/05/2023 09:59

Hi, wanted to check if there is anything I can do to improve my son's poor handwriting. He is in Year 9 and his handwriting, which was never great to begin with, has become illegible now.

I can barely make out the letters, for example if it is an 'a', 'n' or 'h'. It takes out ages to figure out when I read his written work. He also does not capitalise or use the right punctuation. He has had intervention at school but with very short term improvement and he reverts back to poor handwriting pretty quickly.

Is there anything I can do - practice books, online tutoring, other resources which can help. I am happy to spend money if I can get good results.

Will be very grateful for any advice, thank you.

I always, and still, have awful handwriting, but who cares? With phones and computers, who writes anything anymore?

magnolia1997 · 28/05/2023 19:15

Tbh - I wouldn't bother at this stage.
Most people don't need to handwrite at length these days and any interventions my son had didn't make any difference.
His time could be better spent 😃.

DressDilemma · 29/05/2023 08:31

Thank you @Augend23, @SweetiePi3 and @magnolia1997. I want to to try out some remedial measures over summer. However, if there is no significant improvement, I will also be speaking to the school about reviewing options to type out his work instead of writing. Personally, I am keen to try to get him to improve to a point where his work becomes legible.

OP posts:
applecharlotte12 · 29/05/2023 08:41

thanks for starting this thread and for others sharing links, I hope you find some good support. My DS in year 7 has illegible hand writing - I think due to covid and working in laptops at home in year 5/6 and just losing this basic skill.

He is in handwriting intervention club now which has seen some sporadic improvement but they were keen to just stick him on a laptop in lessons rather than try and get him to improve it which I thought was a bit odd.

I have very messy handwriting and know it doesn't matter as an adult but I worry about losing marks at a-level and GCSEs due to the marker being unable to read his answers! Maybe he will be on a laptop by then but we'll see. Good luck and solidarity!

applecharlotte12 · 29/05/2023 08:43

Oh one thing that helped straight away in handwriting club was them saying to him that his handwriting doesn't need to be joined up. As soon as he stopped doing that it became more legible, although he needs to keep practicing. Like you, I don't care what it's like as long as it can be read!

justasking111 · 29/05/2023 08:44

Is he dyslexic?

JanBlue · 29/05/2023 08:49

My DS is also yr9 and has been using a laptop in lessons since before Christmas. His form tutor pushed for it as exam boards are apparently tightening up on laptop use in exams but was backed by all of the subject teachers. The SenCo agreed the same day! I wouldn’t wait to push for a laptop for your DS, he can always stop using it.

Bizarely DS’s writing has marginally improved since he has used the laptop. I think this is because he now prints in capitals and can write slowly. Whereas in lessons/exams there are time constraints and he is under pressure to get it all down quickly which turns it into an illegible scrawl.

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