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Written Language Disability

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Hi there,


My ten year old daughter was diagnosed with ADD a couple of years ago and we will be gettiing a diagnosis for TS soon.


We always new she had learning difficulties and pulled her out of school and home school her now as a result of not getting any in school help, even though her teacher acknowledged that she had problems! But over the years of home schooling, I have narrowed down her difficulties and it seems that writing is the main area that she struggles with. Initially I thought it was part of a general dyslexia, which her father and all of his family have, but she has no problem reading, comprehending or listening. Her speech is sometimes a little quick and things like beginning - middle - end of sentence structure can be overlooked by her, but overall she is quite sophisticated in her language abilities. Even typing on a computer, it just seems that getting the words down in print is like trying to run through quicksand for her.


I am keen to investigate a diagnosis for this as it would helpful to know how I can help her. I am wondering if anyone knows any more about this? I have often wondered if I should let her use other methods of showing her work than writing. Like making a recorded film about a project rather than writing a report, do you think this is a good idea or should she at least try to do the writing? Or is this the sort of thing that is always going to be bothersome to her and she should not be made to go to that difficult place in her mind?


I once had her assessed by a psychologist who's results said that he could see a definite discrepancy between her above average i.q and her reading and writing abilities but he blamed home schooling and said she would be better off in school. :(


That assessment was done when she was seven and her reading has improved out of sight with encouragement. I am still angry about that assessment. I hate when people think that every time dd has trouble with something, even normal trouble, it must be the home schooling.


Anyway, I would appreciate any additional information if anyone has any.





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Hi Zoe

many kids with TS ADD etc also have writing difficulty


my son is one of them. His TS and OCD made it hard as he would either tic and malform the letters or the OCD would make him go over it till "just right". Even holding the pen/pencil can be difficult for some kids with neuro issues


One ofthe first accommodations he was given under his 504 plan (TS is classified a disability for education under "other health impaired") was to be allowed to do all work on a keyboard instead of writing. He was allowed to have his AlphaSmart at school and could take notes etc and then come homeand plug into computer and finish homework and print. The AlphaSmart even has an organizer etc...really nifty


Public schools now have them and issue to students with that need and you can also buy one privately from www.alphasmart.com


my son is an adult now so there may be newer and better tools available for this


one thing is sure tho...that psychologist who suggested your child's writing difficulties had to dowith home schooling needs some extra schooling themself!! :D

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Hi Chemar,


Thanks for your encouraging words. I personally have just found the school system way too casual about learning difficulties and ADD. It seems that because DD is bright and doesn't throw chairs around the room, like the steriotyped ADD child, she doesn't demand their attention so she doesn't get it!


Anyway, thanks for the info about the laptop/keyboard. I am off to check them out now! Bit of Sunday morning down time.


I'll keep searching for more information about this difficulty.


Thanks again,



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Zoe,


I should mention that lots of PANDAS kids also have writing issues (in addition to ADHD, tics, anxiety, OCD...). My dd just started using the Alphasmart Neo and likes it. I agree with Chemar that if your dd can get used to keyboarding that would be great. (If you have more questions about PANDAS lots of parents will help you out on the PANDAS forum.)


Out of curiousity, does your dd also have "margin issues?" my dd will start writing at the left side of the page but with each subsequent line her margin will drift towards the right so everything eventually gets all scrunched up on the right side of the page. Anyway, the alphasmart/or computer takes care of that problem.


My dd also has severe spelling problems (the worst in her class by far) and difficulty remembering "math facts" (times tables etc.), despite having an IQ in the gifted range. Like your dd, she has no problem reading, comprehending, or listening. She is scheduled to have IVIG for her PANDAS this summer and we are curious as to whether her learning issues will be helped by it (learning issues aren't the main reasons we are doing IVIG but it would be a bonus if it did help). We're quite sure that her writing problems are from PANDAS...not quite as certain about the other learning issues.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi there, just wanted to add that I homeschool and have a 10 year old son with 'issues', too! I see the same issues as you do when it comes to writing. What we are doing now is: I have him do writing assignments on the computer and we check his work together for grammar issues, punctuation, etc. Then for handwriting itself, I have him do copywork and cursive practice in a Handwriting Without Tears workbook. He told me he likes cursive better than printing so we'll be focusing on that aspect of writing for him this year. I try to keep the handwriting time of our school day short and I space it out. I have him do the copywork at the beginning of our day and then the cursive will be done when all the other lessons are completed at the end of the day.


The funny thing with him is that he can spell really well. He just has a great grasp of phonics and memory skills from just seeing certain words in books, etc. But, when it comes to his math facts, it's like I'm asking him to recite the Gettysburg Address!!! Yet, he is not lacking in math skills like algebra, word problems, using graphs, measuring, etc. It's just something about those darn 'tables' that gets him into a tizzy, LOL! Anyway, I've never taken him for an evaluation with a neuro or a psych. I assume he has some learning disabilities just like his father did(dh had dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD). I keep thinking I should get him evaluated, but then I wonder what good is that really going to do? We know he has tics, OCD-type behavior, ADD, etc. Just wanted to come on and tell you that you're not alone!



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