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Tufted Titmouse
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07 Oct 2012, 9:20 am

Hello
DS is 6 and has lovely neat handwriting letters formed, spaced, spelt and positioned correctly. probably best handwriting in his school year.
The issue is that he writes very slowly. He will probably write 2 sentences and the class will complete a whole page in that time.

We practised at home, and guess what happened? His writing become neater with each repetition and each sentence took longer! Practising only improved his handwriting neatness not handwriting speed.

His teacher is now sending his unfinished school work home for him to complete.

I have read a lot of threads about untidy handwriting and how to inprove, but I cant seem to read about anything similar to my sons issue.

Please can anyone advise what I can do to help my son improve the speed of writing?

Thanks all



phyrehawke
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07 Oct 2012, 1:21 pm

Keep him writing every day...maybe a journal on an interest, if he has one? The speed should pick up with continued practice.



Comp_Geek_573
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07 Oct 2012, 4:00 pm

You know what? This describes my own handwriting at the age of 6 to a T!! I wrote obsessively neatly, but at probably less than 20% of the speed I write now. I'm pretty sure I was perfectionist in that regard. It could be the "idealized" handwriting examples I learned from that are flat-out impossible to actually handwrite with that degree of perfection... To me it meant make it look like that, or as damn close to it as humanly possible, even though what I could have accomplished 5 or more times faster (or about my handwriting now) would have still been head and shoulders above the rest of the class when I was in 1st grade! To this day people comment on my "really good" handwriting.

So I strongly suspect that the kid is afflicted by perfectionism regarding his writing. When he practiced, to him, it was probably practicing writing more neatly, rather than faster.

Maybe some "real-life" examples of handwriting might help? Get various people who you consider to have "good" handwriting to write some examples. Then point out that any of those are acceptable. As in, they would get an A+ or whatever is the highest grade at the kid's school.


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MMJMOM
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07 Oct 2012, 6:06 pm

Maybe a timer at home, and explain the reward will be when he completes the task in time, not how neat it is.


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zette
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08 Oct 2012, 2:26 am

Maybe try telling him you are going to help him learn to write faster. Get a stopwatch, and time how long it takes to write 5 of an easy letter like "o". Then challenge him to beat his time. Do this for 5-10 minutes per night, moving on to other letters, then words and sentences. Note: I'm not an OT and haven't actually tried this, just an idea for you to try. Or go hire an OT to help him work on speed.



Mummy_of_Peanut
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08 Oct 2012, 5:58 am

My daughter is almost 7yrs and she has the neatest writing in her class. The class get turns to take home a soft toy. It has a diary, which the class write in each night. So, I've seen the other kids' writing and there's only one or two who have writing near as good as her's. Her P1 teacher told me that she thought it was very beautiful and she became quite emotional!

Anyway, she's slow too. She takes ages to copy anything from the board. I think she loses the place and is constantly trying to find where she's at. Sometimes, she comes home with work that isn't finished too, but this hasn't happened since she went into P3, this year. She's quite a perfectionist. The teachers have told them to leave finger spaces between words, which means the spaces are really quite large, too large in my opinion. But, she feels she must leave those huge spaces, even when she's told the space is fine. If she forgets to leave a finger space, she rubs out the next word and starts again. We're getting there, slowly but surely, as I'm sure you will too. Sorry, I've no advice, I'm just hoping the speeed will come with practice.


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08 Oct 2012, 5:14 pm

I like Comp_Geek's idea of showing examples of how other people write and that NONE of them look exactly like the "ideal". Maybe try explaining that there are times when its OK to spend the time writing neatly, e.g. writing a final draft of work being done at home to turn in to the teacher. And other times when neatness "doesn't count" like when you need to complete a worksheet in a short amount of time in the classroom. In the latter case, it is far more important to be fast than neat. Maybe he has it stuck in his head that the rule is that you must write neatly all the time. If you could find examples of other people's writing that follow this concept of neat when neatness counts but not as neat when speed is more important, that might really drive it home.



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10 Oct 2012, 8:04 am

It sounds like he's not using the automatic process of writing his writing, but is drawing it instead (which uses a totally different process in the brain than ordinarily writing uses).

Have you been able to get him to write faster otherwise? Then what is his writing like? Does it stay neat, or does it fall apart? Remember writing is only worth it when you can use it in a good timely fashion and if it's effective for him to use it. if not, then that it's a red flag for dysgraphia.

I'm at least glad that you've recognized the fact that he's not going to be able to keep up with notes in class if he's going so slow for it to be neat, instead of clamoring over the fact that it's "so neat!" regardless to usability of the speed (or the lack thereof) necessary to replicate it or alternative brain processes used to do so.



zette
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10 Oct 2012, 8:30 am

I raised a concern to our school OT about the amount of tracing DS7 was being asked to do -- whenever they can't get him to work, they write out the work in highlighter and have him trace it. I want him to get intensive direct instruction on the mechanics of writing, and suspect near point copy would be better than tracing. She had never heard that tracing and writing involve different processes in the brain and asked me for a reference. Anybody know where I can point her? I tried google, but only found one site addressing movement patterns in cursive writing.



Comp_Geek_573
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10 Oct 2012, 5:10 pm

I think the "drawing" as opposed to writing words is something I indeed did when I was 6!

As for neatness when I write at a "reasonable" speed versus "draw" my letters - it falls off a little, but it's still way better than most people's handwriting! But as I said earlier, that level of neatness is still way above what's expected!

Maybe the reason some adults on the spectrum have very bad handwriting is that they only ever learned how to "draw" letters and not "write" them?


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InThisTogether
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10 Oct 2012, 6:53 pm

musicforanna wrote:
It sounds like he's not using the automatic process of writing his writing, but is drawing it instead (which uses a totally different process in the brain than ordinarily writing uses).


Huh...I had never considered that, but it seems most likely what my son does. Do you have any insights on things that might help him use the "writing" part of his brain?


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musicforanna
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10 Oct 2012, 10:01 pm

InThisTogether wrote:
musicforanna wrote:
It sounds like he's not using the automatic process of writing his writing, but is drawing it instead (which uses a totally different process in the brain than ordinarily writing uses).


Huh...I had never considered that, but it seems most likely what my son does. Do you have any insights on things that might help him use the "writing" part of his brain?

well, first of all, you have to get down to the reason/s as to why he's doing that as to what path is next. is it because he feels that's the only way that it's going to be neat enough to read? Is it because he's a perfectionist? if it's the former, then what is his fine motor coordination like? There could be dysgraphia in his case lurking underneath that has perhaps been masked temporarily by "drawing". If it's the latter reason, then I suppose it'd be good to address those aspects and letting him know that he doesn't have to be perfect to be good enough by your (and their) standards (that was also a problem for me in other ways when I was growing up). It could very well be that he's trying to have perfect writing to attempt to blend in or be good enough because he hasn't really come around to accepting what he has/acknowledging the struggles he has as someone who is different.

With that said though, he may not even exactly know why he does what he does right off hand (I know that doesn't exactly help your quest to understand either, but it's a common reality with the ASD mind). I know when my mom asks me questions like that kind of stuff point blank, sometimes the answers don't exactly come to me right away, and especially if she yells stuff like "Why do you do that??" It's like my mind gets anxious analyzing or trying to find reason for stuff I've done and the words cease to come to me to explain what is going on there. Many times, years later I'll find an answer to the thousand different "whys" I've gotten from my mom growing up though.

1) I couldn't find the words to tell mom that I preferred baths over showers because I couldn't find the words to tell her that showering with the pressurized shower head feels like I'm standing in the shadow of a cactuar summon.

2) I couldn't find the words to tell her that her touching my arm while I'm talking makes me lose my train of thought and makes me distracted. Likewise, looking away to focus on auditory input so I could actually pay attention to what is being said to me.

3) I couldn't find the words to tell her that I am okay with music being louder than spoken word because both are processed differently in the brain and I didn't know that until much later and I also didn't understand my struggles then since I didn't know that NT people didn't struggle with the sensory issues I did. I wasn't fully aware of my struggles and that made a difference with me once I knew what it was causing the problems.

4) She asked me why I didn't like to write. I told her I didn't know why except that my arm hurt while doing so. She then (typical of my mom) asked me why it hurt, like I was going to know the answer for that. lol

5) I am not in everyone else's NT heads. At age 8, I did not have the concept that NTs do not process things the same in their heads as I did. I didn't understand how they could filter sounds out and that they didn't get overloaded. Me, when I get overloaded, once too many sounds become present, it's a meltdown to where they all of the sounds blend and smear together in my head kinda like the sound in a movie scene, that shot that is usually the black and white overly dramatic flashback scene in a movie where they dramatically slow down the sound and picture to show something, like a looming upset guy going NOOOOOOO (in a bellowing muffled decending pitch voice) as the object falls into the street and the bus goes barrelling over it. or whatever. When they show these dramatic shots where they slow-mo, the way the sounds muffle and blend together and mutate is exactly what goes on in my head sound-wise during overload. When I stop being able to process things accurately, then it becomes noise to me. It's like a radio station that doesn't come in clear and I didn't really know why.

6) A lot of time basically I just did something for a reason and I didn't really know why though. I rocked after a hard day of school because the stimming made me feel better, but I didn't know why it made me feel better or how to put it in words.

7) I didn't know why I was a perfectionist then but I do now. I didn't want to be confronted with the idea that I didn't feel good enough by my NT parents standards, as well as the standards of my teachers and peers who were trying to put me in the NT box. I'm sure being constantly compared with my NT sisters also didn't help either.



musicforanna
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10 Oct 2012, 10:01 pm

Comp_Geek_573 wrote:
I think the "drawing" as opposed to writing words is something I indeed did when I was 6!

As for neatness when I write at a "reasonable" speed versus "draw" my letters - it falls off a little, but it's still way better than most people's handwriting! But as I said earlier, that level of neatness is still way above what's expected!

Maybe the reason some adults on the spectrum have very bad handwriting is that they only ever learned how to "draw" letters and not "write" them?

nah, some of us are dysgraphic as well (as it tends to be comorbid with AS pretty frequently). I guess it depends on the person. With that said, despite my laughable horrible writing, I am actually quite skilled at drawing art. The difference in processes required to make them both happen, makes it possible to succeed at one and fail at the other.