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can read and do math--just can't write!


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I have a friend with a son who is very bright but has a terrible time writing.

She says everyone thinks he is lazy in class becasue he doesnt' want to do his work--but he's frustrated because he can't write what he is thinking. He's 11 and his work looks like a 7 year old wrote it. He is failing most of his classes. do they have special classes for this? should i tell her to have him tested? does anybody know? thank you for helping.

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Mattie, your post caught my eye because written language disabilities can be some of the most difficult to deal with in school.


Since you say he is bright, tell his parent to ask the school to evaluate him. If he is determined to have a significant difference between his IQ and his writing skills, he may qualify for special accomodations.


There are two main concerns with written language problems. One is that, as you have found, the student avoids work--or does persist but receives discouraging grades because of poor penmenship and/or poor language skills. (And when their work is sloppy and you ask them to do it over--forget it!!) Then, because they don't like to write, they miss an important part of learning that takes place when with notetaking.


For the bright kids, this is so detrimental, and self esteem is greatly affected. Yet they can respond well verbally in class and do fine on reading assignments.


The accomodations that can be made are thing such as allowing computer use, avoiding unnecessary writing, more time for writing assignments, etc. The voice-activated computer programs will save the day for him if he can just make it to college! Sometimes they get so discouraged they give up before then.


An evaluation is worth pursuing. The parent can check with the school psychologist if not getting anywhere with regular school staff. And they should request a thorough written language assessment--not just a spelling test, which is more standard. Hope that helps. Sheila

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another idea to suggest to your friend:


Have a conference with the teacher and ask:


Is it necessary that he respond in complete sentences when writing or are answers alone acceptable in certain instances? Are there other accomodations the teacher is willing to allow?


When note taking is appropriate, can he record the lessons on a tape recorder or use a buddy's notes?


Some children also like writing better when they can do it with different mediums --- colored pencils, fat markers, pens, etc. Are any of those more popular with the child?


Recommending him for a screening of sorts sound like a great idea, also. In the mean time, maybe some of these alternatives will make the waiting go by a little easier.


Your friend is lucky to have you helping!



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  • 3 weeks later...

there is an article on the latitudes site. under learning disab. i think. maybe that will help. we have a boy at our school with tinted glasses and his mom told me this is waht it is for and that it helps him. have never tried it myself. but it makes sense in a way. will have to start watching my kiddos, maybe have been missing somehting here. TH

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  • 6 years later...
there is an article on the latitudes site. under learning disab. i think. maybe that will help. we have a boy at our school with tinted glasses and his mom told me this is waht it is for and that it helps him. have never tried it myself. but it makes sense in a way. will have to start watching my kiddos, maybe have been missing somehting here. TH

I have a 10 yr old daughter who struggles with certain issues at school. I have tried for 6 years to find help for her. Her school couldnt find anything wrong with her using the dyslexia battery, a series of 50 or so tests..., her pediatrician offered not much more help. I have done some research over the years and have finally found a website discribing my daughters disability to unscramble the "gas fumes" on the page, to unscrambe the order of the words as they are written or typed on white paper, to comprehend and retain the information she has read, to learn multiplication facts and retain them until test time, same with spelling words ............it is called MEARES-IRLEN SYNDROM. Children are often misdiagnosed or like in my case, no one knows about this and it is very difficult for a small child to tell you what they see on paper or the white boards, because it looks normal to them, this is all they know. My daughter is having difficulty with spelling, reading, and comprehension. We were given a set of blue and green matte color strips last year to use briefly in class but this year we have not been given those and her grades are low in those areas. I did some reading tonight and found a website that may help us as well as your child.........www.visual-stress.com. I am purchsing a color strip set to use at home for homework. Please let me know if anyone else has had any sucess with this. Thank you so much, Monica

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  • 1 year later...
Guest hussey

This sounds just like MY friend. he has also see visual problems, not just fine motor. Seems extra sensitive to light. Anybody have any ideas for that? please kindly tell me

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Hi Mattie,

slow writing or showing no interest in writing doesn't mean that you child is ill or having any disability.

May be he is not properly guided writing skills or may be he is having less interesting in writing rather than reciting or reading. Suggest your friend to consult the teacher about the problem of the child and try to consult a counselor to know the reason behind less writing interest. It will take time but you child can be cure and develop the interest in wriitng skills too.



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  • 2 months later...

Hi there:

I just signed up on this forum to answer THIS question! My son also has really bad handwriting, but it's gotten better. Where we live, a lot of people send their kids to occupational therapy to work on fine motor skills and so forth. I used several different techniques, including one called "retrain the brain" where the child does exercises to music, and they are helping.


I'm reading a book right now that I would recommend to ANYBODY without reservation. (And I have about 30 books about this stuff at home.) This book is by Sally Goddard and she explains how infant brains develop, and how some of the reflexes from infant development can affect everything from emotional to balance, handwriting, reading, and so forth.


The book is called "Reflexes, Learning, and Behavior" and I am buying several copies to give to people.


There are tons and tons of websites that reference the idea that "retained reflexes" can get in the way of normal development, but this book explains to you from the beginning, how infants brains develop. It's an extremely logical, and medically-grounded approach. She also tells you what exercises you can do to "integrate reflexes." With my son, we found that pulling back, doing exercises and some reflex work, and then trying later on had a HUGE effect. Made sense. We fixes the underlying issues.


I've been using movement on my son now for two years. Different therapies, since I couldn't find an OT to hire. (We live in the silicon valley where a LOT of the kids are quirky and apparently, everybody takes OT!). I found it ridiculous that my kid had to suffer because the OT's were busy, so I started researching different types of movement therapy, from all over the world. Guess what? MOST of them are founded on the stuff that Sally Goddard talks about. Or they should be. Because if you don't deal with the retained reflexes, it's MUCH harder to teach a child things that rely on them.


Here's a link that gives an overview of some of the reflexes. I have to laugh because I found this link on a UK forum, and it belongs to a trainer that I brought to our area last year! She's in Seattle and will travel to areas if you find enough people who will take her class. (She didn't charge me anything as the organizer.) Her name is Sonia Story.



If you are in different parts of the country or world, there are other trainers available. One of the trainers I was talking with several years ago is now working at this place, in the US south.



Seriously, though, the best thing to do is to buy the book.




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