Help! Has anyone successfully helped their offspring to write more clearly? My ds is in year two and has the most appalling handwriting. We successfully managed to eliminate mirror writing this year (hurrah) so at least the letters and numbers are facing the correct direction. Now we need to work on the legibility. Has anyone any good ideas that we can try at home? What help is available from specialists?
He has had extra handwriting lessons at school, we have tried the things you put on pencils, lined paper, handwriting practice books but his work is still messy and very hard to read. His grip looks "wrong" to me but teacher says it is fine. He is right handed and very dextrous - gross and fine motor skills are excellent - but is very frustrated by his writing and is beginning to avoid written tasks. His reading is good and his end of year scores are very encouraging (although the teacher must be able to read ciphers to have been able to mark it!)
Any top tips or pointers from you would be much appreciated!
My DD has these issues. I found a paediatric occupational therapist with a specialism in handwriting to assess her. There were various issues in terms of core strength, midline, balance, fine motor skills --- none of these you would have thought as she does very well in most PE, dance and art activities. However, she was compensating for the weaknesses with a grip, wrist, arm, shoulder and body position that made writing a wearing activity for her, and slower than average. As she is very quick to think up good stories only being able to get them down slowly and inefficiently was frustrating and she also found it physically painful at times. Her handwriting was neat though - and this is where you want to be careful. You could achieve neat handwriting without addressing the underlying issues (if there are any).
The OT will give you the right exercises to do for your child's very specific issues. The problem is, when they are full-time school, making time to do this. You may be luckier. My daughter's school was completely uncooperative. They wouldn't even let the OT in to assess her so had to do the assessment at home which isn't as good because they like to see the school seating position etc.
When I look back, there are things I wish I had done slightly differently when she was a pre-schooler e.g. getting her to do all the drawing she loved doing up on the wall instead of on a horizontal surface, using tiny bits of chalk which force you to use arch shapes in your fingers and hands and a nice pincer grip etc.
I just assumed that pre-school and reception did lots of the stuff which helps develop the pre-requisites for a comfortable writing position, but they didn't. I wasn't aware enough of the kind of playthings at home that might have helped too --- don't get me wrong, she wasn't short of lots of age appropriate physical play for both fine and gross and motor skills, but the very specific "weaknesses" that she has / had were not being developed by these and, when she made choices, I realise now that she tended to avoid the things that gave her difficulty so I didn't really notice.