My son is 8 years old and was diagnosed with aspergers when he was 6 years old
he is coping reasonable well in mainstream school but he struggles some days with
remembering things and mainly with his handwriting, we practise everyday but his
handwriting never really improves the teacher gets frustrated as she can't read anything he
puts on paper, she like me has practised endless in school with him, I feel so
sad for him as he really tries his best but still doesn't get anywhere is continueing
the writing practise at home and at school worth it as he is now getting really
fed up with the endless amount he is doing and getting no better!
Please is there any way I can help him improve his writing as now he is in the Juniors
there is more and more to do and I don't want him to fall behind
Handwriting is usually very difficult for Aspies. Because he is diagnosed, he should have an IEP. It should be in his IEP that is allowed to use a computer to type all of his assignments. My daugther does this, and it has helped tremendously!
What you want to request is an assisted technology evaluation - if he qualifies then they will train him and provide a laptop for him to use at school. My son also has extremely bad handwriting - unless he slows down and then his work performance suffers.
If you are in the UK I would suggest the following.
As he is in mainstream school with a diagnosis of Aspergers I presume he does not have a Statement? But is maybe on School Action or School Action Plus and has IEPs?
It is the schools responsibility to call in outside professionals to deal with any difficulties their pupils are having. So, the Autism Advisory Teacher or the Educational Psychologist may be able to give some advice on this. I agree with the post above that computers can be used when there is very poor handwriting and some pupils even have voice activated programmes where they just talk to the computer and it produces print.
The Specialist who usually deals with handwriting problems is an Occupational Therapist, but they are a bit like gold dust, which is why they tend to use the Autism Advisory Teacher/Ed Psych. But they will usually suggest 'practice' and the problem may not be remedied by practising.
Ask the school if they have access to an Occupational Therapist. If they say no, I would go to my GP and ask for a referal to OT because of his diagnosis of Aspergers and the fact that he is having great difficulty writing. Some Special Schools have Outreach Teachers or possibly Outreach OTs who could advise, it is worth phoning around and asking.
The reason OTs are the best professional is that they deal with fine motor skill problems, or cognitive/motor problems. Because they have to do tests to find out 'what' part of the process of writing is causing the problem. Is it the control of the fingers, is it the inability to retrieve information from memory about letters and words, is it an inability to think and co-ordinate your fingers to write the shape you want. It could also be an aspect of Dyspraxia either physical or mental. There is quite a long list, all of which can be assessed by an OT.
If the wait for an OT is too long (I am talking over 6 months plus), they you could search the College of Occupational Therapists website for one near you who specialises in these types of problems. It will cost you a couple of hundred pounds, but they could get your child started on a programme that will improve his writing.
Hope that helps!
Um, to be on the nonserious side of things... He'd make a wonderful doctor with bad handwriting... isn't that a requirement to get an MD? Um, okay that's poking fun at doctors, but if he's really good at school and stuff, maybe he will be a doctor or a surgeon one day.
On the serious side of things... teach him to touch type on the computer if he doesn't know how to already. I was bad at handwriting. Actually I refused to do it. I always printed instead of did that cursive in K to 12 school. And strangely though I refused to do handwriting in elementary school (they seemed to give up caring by the time 6th grade came around), I studied Russian in college, and managed to write syrillic just fine (Russian has a different alphabet which deterred a few people from continuing on with the language because it was just hard to write and a real pain in the butt to do on an English computer).
Thank you to everyone that took time to help me, the laptop sounds a fantastic idea and computers is my sons specialist topic, I have contacted the school and I now am waiting for a reply, just one last question does the school have to fund the laptop?
or do we? or can the school get outside resources to pay/provide him with one?
also if they come back and say they can't help him(becuase of cost) should I then go to my specialist
and see if he can persuade them to help him
There are a couple of ways you can get the computer funded, unless you want to pay for it yourself!!
If he has Aspergers I presume that he has a diagnosis of this and that he doesn't have a Statement? I presume he is on School Action or School Action Plus and has targets set on his Individual Educational Plan? At his next IEP review you can specifically raise the handwriting issue and ask that school contact outside professionals for advice about this and look into how your son could be provided with equipment such as a laptop.
Even without a Statement this is obviously a difficulty that will affect his abilty to demonstrate learning. Your school should have access to an Autism Advisory Teacher or Educational Psychologist. The school should approach them about your son's difficulties. You could also ask the school to find out which specialist deals specifically with handwriting difficulties. It should be an Occupational Therapist and you are entitled to ask the school if they have access to one (maybe through the AAT or Ed Psych). You can also go to your GP and ask for a referal to an NHS Occupational Therapist (ask that it is one that deals with autistic spectrum disorders and hand writing problems).
The difficulty with OT is that Local Authorities ie. Education do not tend to employ their own OT's. Any input from OT usually comes through Health ie. the NHS system, but your Local Educational Authority may say that OT is not an educational need. This is not true.
As mentioned above it might be a case of him learning to type rather than write. In extreme cases there are voice activated programmes where the child talks to the computer and it prints the words, it might be that he might need access to this type of technology during exams, or he will need to be allocated extra time during exams to complete his work due to this difficulty.
The other way you could enquire about getting a laptop is through the Family Fund. If you google them you will get their website. This is a charity that you can write to to ask for funding for any number of things eg. holidays, trampoline, computer etc etc.
I would try first through the school for the laptop, and also try to get an Occupational Therapist on board through the NHS.
You could also speak to a private OT about his writing difficulties to ascertain if they would be of use and what types of things they would recommend. If that sounds useful you could pay for someone to see your child in school and follow any programme they recommend at home. There shouldn't be any objection from school about carrying out any programme a private OT has devised.
Hope that clarifies.
Thankyou so very much sally for all your help I'm waiting for the school to get back to me and then I will take it from there I have made notes of all the things you have let me know about and also the website, I can't thank you enough!!
Let us know how you get on. It gives me a real buzz when things work out! The NAS have helplines that are both manned by specialists and by parents of children on the spectrum. If you are refused the help your son needs please make sure you phone them and check what you have been told with the NAS. They are very professional.
I agree with the suggestions for using the computer or a laptop. If I recall I had that option in later IEP's but by choice I did most assignments by handwriting. For final projects most of the time they were to be typed anyway. Oddly I found when I type, it helps me think better. I used to use it for doing the second drafts of my story writing. Now I do most of my writing straight on the computer.
When I write by hand I write in print. I sign in print too. Cursive is something I still don't like and didn't take on after 3rd grade. (It was forced in 3rd grade).
Does writing hurt his hand/wrist? If I write a lot (more than a page or two) I find that happening, but I didn't think any different until I read something up about various handwriting difficulty related with nonverbal learning disorder, autism and dyslexia.
Handwriting and dyslexia issues run in families. Chances are one of you may also have handwriting issues. In my family, it's my dad who has issues writing. He writes in all capitals.
that teacher getting mad at your son is like me getting mad at a blind student for bad hand writting
find a better class for your child
my son is going into the 4th grade
i fought with the public school system for 2 yrs and finally helped him recieve the help he needed
if the school refuses to help you, homeschool, i know its not east, i do a large percent of my sons school work at home, i am grateful the school is working with me
as an adult woh has lived with this disibility i can tell you that no amount of practice or teachers being me to me would help me write better
i kept hearing "your not trying" "you are behind" "whats wrong" then they started me on medication, like a pill would help me write
eventually i became a great writer, i started going to Duke Young Writers Camp each summer, my penmanship was aweful but my ideas were brilliant, now days most people type
my sons teacher lets him type some of his projests, and she gives all his spelling and vocabulary test verbally
sounds like you might want to call a parent advocacy group, i can help you find one in your area
hang in there!!! atleast you care enough to do this for your child! thats amazing!!
oopps, you are in england, i would not know where to find parent support groups there
yes. an IEP is a wonderfull thing to do and i really hope it works. With my son i have tried many handwritting exercises that helped. like what ever the ocd is hopefully something good get him to write about it. get him involved and like to write it is difficult but what i have found out that with aspies out side of the box is the best way to think...well i don't know all of them but i know mine, and some others that this has worked for, your son, he is pretty young so with much presistance which is a fav of my aspie kid he will get to learn many diffrent styles of handwritting. and always follow it up with a reward it seems to work you just gotta be presistant. that is the key to it working and i hope that it worked for you. hey it worked for me and im 33 with great hand writting, and many others stay positive and leave out the idioms. stay encouraged, be well. my son is 11 going on 12 in feburay.
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