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  1. #1
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default Need help with handwriting- any suggestions?

    My youngest son is nearly 6yo and started Kindergarten a month ago. He has sensory processing disorder which manifests in irregular ways. More to the point, though, he CAN write with a pencil very nicely and will- only sometimes. He does it very infrequently. Most of the time his letters are whispy and light- as if he is not pressing down with the pencil. This is confusing to me because he is very much a pressure/touch- seeking child. He LOVES deep pressure. I do have some squishy pencil grips but most of the time he just picks at them. I think if he could get past destroying them they might help him feel more comfortable holding his pencil. sigh.

    Has anyone here experienced this? I know it is common with some children with sensory needs and other special needs. But I don't know anyone IRL who has dealt with this and our OT doesn't have any experience with this.

    Any suggestions? Our teacher is VERY open to trying anything that will help my son in any way so ALL suggestions are much appreciated. TIA!
    "It is not 'progressive' to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life." Pope Francis

  2. #2
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    Is he holding the pencil correctly? My DD's best friend (who is not SN) did get extra help for handwriting in K. They had her hold something small (like a die) in her hand (with the last three fingers in her palm) to allow for a better grip on the pencil. She had pull out help weekly for handwriting.
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

  3. #3
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    Can you get a referral to a good OT? Someone highly recommended. If you can afford it, I would start now and try to resolve it early. If you want to work on it yourself, I'd use Handwriting Without Tears.

  4. #4
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    My son's OT told us to take a 2" binder and use it as a slant board. Might it help your DS if he is writing on an angle, and doesn't have to press down quite so hard?

  5. #5
    Katigre is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    He likely needs too work on developing his hand muscles so that he can apply proper pressure and awareness to the pencil.

    There are many activities that dh this and also ways to approach learning handwriting that facilitate this. Handwriting without tears is EXCELLENT (the teachers guide) and a multisensory approach. I'd do it with a trained OT for the most benefit.

    Sent from my Android phone using Swype
    Mom of 4: Boy (10), Girl (7), Boy (4), Girl (2)

  6. #6
    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I would find a better OT who works on fine motor skills with children. Handwriting is a common concern that OTs deal with.

  7. #7
    karstmama's Avatar
    karstmama is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    last year (in k), the ot had ds using a weighted pencil. it really seemed to help. this year his handwriting is a bit inconsistent, but legible, and if it strays into being too light i only have to remind him to press down a bit more & he understands.
    mama to j karst, former 25 weeker, 12/06

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepper View Post
    My son's OT told us to take a 2" binder and use it as a slant board. Might it help your DS if he is writing on an angle, and doesn't have to press down quite so hard?
    My DD's friend did this too.
    DD (3/06)
    DS1 (7/09)
    DS2 (8/13)

  9. #9
    Gena's Avatar
    Gena is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katigre View Post
    He likely needs too work on developing his hand muscles so that he can apply proper pressure and awareness to the pencil.
    I agree. This has been an issue for DS (age 9, 4th grade) too. DS also craves deep pressure, however he has a hard time pressing hard enough when he writes. His writing looks like a much younger child's and it takes a long time for him to write. For him it is a combination of several things including hand strength, muscle tone, core muscle strength, motor planning, and visual motor integration. In OT he works on exercises to increase hand strength, such as therapy putty. His IEP also includes 15 minutes of day of exercises to improve his core strength.
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  10. #10
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    Your ds often sounds so similar to mine when he was younger. Hand strength is most often the best way to improve. There are things that have really helped though for my ds. We use a clip board a lot so it holds his paper steady. Sometimes we even had him lay on his belly with the clipboard in front since it changed how he used his muscles. We tried a ton of grips with limited results, especially because he always loses his pencils. Triangular pencils and thicker pencils worked much better. Mechanical pencils worked the best (and still do, we stock the yellow papermates). Having him hold a rubber ball with his last two fingers helped. Also practice holding the pencil; we taught him to pinch with the thumb and pointer near the tip, then "flip" to proper position so he could do it when we were not there also. When he was younger, having triangular crayons and encouraging him to draw and use different pressures to get different shades of the color in his picture was something that we worked on. He also went to private OT regularly for a long time (now he goes through the school)!

    So here is the reality of experience with my kids. Both my kids saw huge improvement in their handwriting when we homeschooled. The lessening of time pressure seemed to allow them to improve. As they have gotten older, their hands are large enough to type which has lessened some of the frustration they previously faced as well.
    All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
    ~Abraham Lincoln~


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