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Granddaughters writing

(68 Posts)
morethan2 Tue 18-Jul-17 20:13:34

I am hoping a gransnet teacher can give me some advice on how or where to get help for my 9year old granddaughters handwriting. She not behind in schoolwork and has a reading age above her chronological age. Her hand writing is almost illegible and it's affecting her confidence. Her mummy is concerned and thinks it's important. When she's with me she spends lots of time playing offices/school so there's lots of holding a pencil and writing.

Eglantine19 Tue 18-Jul-17 20:30:45

A bit hard to comment without an example. Can you upload one?

morethan2 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:02:05

Hope you can see this

MiniMouse Tue 18-Jul-17 21:02:57

Is she right or left-handed?

morethan2 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:03:16

And this

Crafting Tue 18-Jul-17 21:05:37

morethan my DGC has appalling handwriting as do I and my DH. My DGC took typing lessons and is allowed a tablet in class to do homework on. DGC spent so long trying to write legible letters that classwork fell behind. Lots of children in my DGC classes (now age 13) are allowed to use tablet. Try asking.

trisher Tue 18-Jul-17 21:12:57

Firstly how are her other skills? Things like riding a bike, skipping, -large motor skills and fastening buttons, sewing, manipulating small things- fine motor skills? She may have a problem called dyspraxia, if she seems very clumsy and has problems doing things. If this is the case you could ask the school to get her assessed.
You can still work on her writing, I suggest you start with looking at how she holds her pencil, you can buy special holders that fit on the pencil and help develop good habits. Then you could go right back to basics and begin by simply getting her to copy patterns, zig zags curves, vertical and horizontal lines. Also encourage her to paint and draw. Then move on to letter formation .
That said she may not improve a great deal. If her lack of ability is affecting the work she produces it might be worth asking the school about her using a computer for some of her work.

morethan2 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:49:40

She has really good gross motor skills and there's no indication of dyspraxia that I've seen. She dances, horse rides, rides a bike and goes to gymnastics and is as accomplished as her peers in all those activities. Thanks for the advice I'll be seeing a lot of her during the school holidays so I'll set up a little office for her and encourage playing school and offices.

Eglantine19 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:51:15

I don't want to worry you but this is nowhere near the standard I would have expected for a nine year old. It is quite fuzzy on my iPad but I notice that the spelling is not good and there is reversal of letters. I'm assuming it should read Leonard and not Leonarb.
I think there is more to this than fine motor control or even dyspraxia. If I'm honest, if the school has said she is not behind then I would be a bit worried about the level of expectation at the school. I know that sounds brutal but as a teacher I would have been concerned about work of this level in an intelligent child from a supportive background.
Has the school arranged any extra help?

Swanny Tue 18-Jul-17 21:51:59

Excellent reply trisher. DGS, nearly 8 years old, is only just usually holding a pen/pencil in a manner that will help him write recognisable letters. Do your granddaughter's teachers not pick up on her handwriting skills - or shortage of them? Personally I do not think her writing is illegible, rather that she is thinking quicker than she can write.

' you can buy special holders that fit on the pencil and help develop good habits ' We got some of these for DGS but he finds them very awkward and does better with a triangular pencil. DS has recently got him a stylus to use on an Ipad and he is showing, and more importantly for DGS I think, seeing a difference, in that he can recognise the letters he writes himself.

I know it's the 'computer generation' and has been for many years now, but legible handwriting is still important.

Marydoll Tue 18-Jul-17 22:00:05

Trisher, I too also wondered about dyspraxia.

Morethan here are some sites from where you can download pencil control worksheets. Has her mum spoken to your granddaughter's teacher about her concerns? My daughter was dyslexic and her handwriting was almost illegible. She was also very disorganised and messy. As a teacher, I had lots of concerns. Her own teacher was quite dismissive, but I insisted that she was assessed by the child psychologist and lo and behold, dyslexic and dyspraxic. However, it t didn't stop her going to university, with lots of help in place.

trisher Tue 18-Jul-17 22:21:14

Having looked at this I would ask the school for a proper assessment of your GD. I suspect she may be dyslexic. I know this is commonly seen as a reading problem, but it is much more complex and some of this writing makes me suspect this may be the problem. She is reversing some letters and her spelling is insecure. That said she obviously has some good ideas. One of the troubles with dyslexia is that the children are often very bright but struggle to present their ideas. Once they get the help they need they come on with amazing speed.
Good luck.

Coolgran65 Tue 18-Jul-17 22:44:45

My son had dreadful writing. No full stops. Just went on and on.
He was considered poor at English. Excellent at numeracy.
His reading was fine. Primary school said he just needed to concentrate.

He made it into grammar school and worked hard at the sciences.
English still worst subject but got 4 As in the sciences. Got into uni and it was there that he himself felt something needed to be checked regarding his written work as his grades on written work did not match what he knew to be his ability. Uni arranged an assessment and he was found to be dyslexic. He was 19. Uni had a special class once a week for such students. It taught techniques and was wonderful. He came first in his year at graduation.
He went on to do his Phd. with sponsorship. After diagnosis he was allowed an extra ten minutes in the hour for exams. And was also provided with a personal pc, printer, etc so as not to have to queue for the library computers. This was many years ago.

I'm so sorry that the dyslexia was not picked up in primary school as he at that time struggled so much with the written word and the structure.

Please insist on an assessment. There is everything to gain.

Jalima1108 Tue 18-Jul-17 23:11:04

I remember a friend remarking about her son's dreadful handwriting at about that age - she blamed lack of good teaching at infant level, although my DD's seemed just fine.
However, it doesn't seem to have held him back at all as his career in the financial world earns him far more than my DD's teacher's salary.
I expect he uses a computer now anyway.

gillybob Tue 18-Jul-17 23:19:50

We can't all have brilliant handwriting which (imho) is a bit of an art form. My eldest GD aged 11 has impeccable handwriting. just like her grandma whereas her 9 year old sisters' is a bit "hit and miss" although they are both very bright. I (personally) wouldn't take messy handwriting too seriously and look to diagnose it as something. Plenty doctors, engineers (and dare I say teachers) have very messy handwriting. Usually means that they can't get what they are thinking on paper quick enough and at nine there's plenty time for improvement .

BlueBelle Tue 18-Jul-17 23:21:16

Trisher I too will come down on Dyslexia my granddaughter has good handwriting but the d and b still go the wrong way round at 14 and her spelling is below standard The school wouldn't believe it because she is an a * student in everything except her language class and they refused to test her , so my daughter paid a lot of money to have her tested privately and she is serverly dyslexic, although she has average reading skills she's wont read stories as such hard work goes into identifying the word that she loses the gist of the story the dyslexia report advices the school gave her a laptop but she won't use one in class as she can't bear to be different to her friends However she seems to find a way as she is doing really well and is taking Triple science and was recently picked out to go on a women's science/engineering day

MiniMouse Tue 18-Jul-17 23:25:33

I agree with trisher and Coolgran she may be dyslexic. Her school should be able to arrange for her to be assessed, but speaking from experience, you/her parents will have to be persistent! Schools are not always keen to pay for the assessment or the extra tuition and may try to fob you off.

BlueBelle Tue 18-Jul-17 23:40:23

If you see my post Minimouse in our case the school refused and said they could only test and help failing students but although it's a lot of money if is worth having a private assessment done if nothing else my grandaughter should get 15.minutes extra if needed in exams ( to compensate slow reading or not so accurate reading) and that in itself may be more than enough help

MiniMouse Tue 18-Jul-17 23:51:30

BlueBelle Glad to read that your GD was assessed, but it's awful that those whose family can't raise the funds themselves could lose out. As you say, once assessed, the extra time in exams could also make all the difference.

Teacheranne Wed 19-Jul-17 00:18:22

As an ex SENCO and responsible for the exam access arrangements at GCSEs, I need to point out that a diagnosis of dyslexia or dyspraxia does not necessarily entitle a child to extra time in exams at age 16, even with an assessment report. Extra time is only allowed if a child has language processing difficulties as indicated in certain tests such as non verbal reasoning. Slow handwriting might result in extra time if the child can prove that they achieve higher marks during the extra time compared to the usual time. A school has to show evidence of history of need ie that the child is used to having these special arrangements during their regular lessons and exams for several years prior to GCSEs. It is very hard for a school to apply on line for these special arrangements nowadays and many applications are turned down by the exam board. A child with poor handwriting might be able to use a lap top in exams if they use one in lessons as well but in reality, although we might think someone's handwriting is poor, as long as the teacher and examiner can read it, it will be acceptable. I had no problem reading the examples given and although there were a few issues, I am not sure that a Primary school would be able to pay for an assessment of every child with such handwriting - possibly half the school! I have seen may poorly written and assessed provide dyslexia assessments which do not really say anything concrete and seem to be used to get parents to pay for private tuition in their own centres.. I know that is cynical and I am sorry for children who do not get the help they need in school, I always helped any child regardless of a diagnosis, if they are falling behind then extra interventions should be provided regardless.

trisher Wed 19-Jul-17 12:16:09

Well Teacheranne your prejudice and narrow minded ignorance is something I had to fight since my youngest son was 4 both personally and professionally. I don't particularly care if you can read the examples. Identifying dyslexia involves looking at the child's potential and the work they are producing. There is some evidence of real potential in the examples and it is possible that the child's ability to communicate is being hampered by a real learning disability. Having a dyslexic son and having identified several dyslexic pupils during my teaching career I really object to your comments. It sounds like the old idea that dyslexia doesn't exist and is a middle class myth. As research into the brain and memory function develops there is substantial evidence to the contrary, Your remarks about exam times aren't helpful either the child is 9 and with the proper help could make substantial strides before she sits GCSEs.

Jalima1108 Wed 19-Jul-17 12:42:07

I would have thought she needs to be assessed well before she goes up to senior school. This is obviously a bright child who doesn't have an apparent problem with reading but has a problem with getting her thoughts down on paper, so an expert opinion is needed.

Jalima1108 Wed 19-Jul-17 12:42:28

This - I mean she!!

MiniMouse Wed 19-Jul-17 12:43:50

although we might think someone's handwriting is poor, as long as the teacher and examiner can read it, it will be acceptable. I had no problem reading the examples given and although there were a few issues

I tend to think that the 'few issues' are rather more relevant than you give credit for Teacher!! angry As you were a SENCO, I'm amazed - and horrified - at your dismissal of the 'issues'.

devongirl Wed 19-Jul-17 12:47:03

Sorry, I haven't had time to read this post thoroughtly, but my daughter was assessed as dyspraxic at the age of 15 and subsequently was allowed to use a laptop in GCSEs and offered extra time, though she hid not need it.

trishers comments re. other aspects of life are so important - I can see looking back that all the symptoms of dyspraxia were there, but no-one ever suggested it and I knew nothing then. If I had, she could have been helped at a much younger age, and as well as possibly progressing as trisher says, she would have been spared years of confidence-sapping comments about being clumsy/useless.

I urge the OP to get her GDD tested.