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Handwriting problems & TS

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My son has had problems from the beginning with his handwriting and somehow I missed that this is supposedly connected with TS.


I homeschool so it would be helpful for me to know if anyone has had any experience with improving handwriting.


Obviously, practice doesn't help (it's more like torture!) But what about Occupational Therapy or something?


Is there any advice or hope of improvement...or is he destined to be keyboarding it? :wub:



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Is it just messy, or can you pinpoint any ocd problems such as scratching out, going over letters, erasing?


Those were the problems for my son (altho his writing was impeccable), so his was more ocd in that it bothered him if it wasn't perfect. we have recently tackled that with ERP therapy (exposure and response therapy for ocd)...its a form of congnitive behavior.


I really don't know how they would tackle messy handwriting, but in case you havn't, I would check out the book by Doris Rapp called "Is this your Child?".....talks about how some things like handwriting problems could be the result of food sensitivites or allergies. maybe you can make a connection there? sometimes, certain foods, dyes, sugar, etc. has an effect on behavior, attention, handwriting, maybe look at what he consumes and you might figure some things out.





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He does display some slight OCD tendencies, but I don't think that is the case with writing. He's not a perfectionist with it and will NOT take time to correct. He will avoid it alltogether sometimes (especially if it is an "assignment"...he hates to be criticized or corrected about it), and when he DOES write for fun, I have a hard time deciphering it. Practice is like torture for him and doesn't seem to help! :-(


Well, I ran up on a couple of things last night.


1. Most TS patients have faulty visual motor integration (therefore have bad handwriting) and it can be helped with vision therapy.


2. Dysgraphia is common and may be helped with occupational therapy.


Not sure if these things can/do overlap, but just trying to figure out what I need to do to help with his frustration in writing (IF there is anything I CAN do) and was wondering what experience others had with TS and writing difficulties. Now that I have found this out, it all fits together as I have always wondered why he had such difficulty with writing when he is so advanced in other areas.


Any similar experiences out there?



Edited by laster99
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Hi Melissa


yes, poor handwriting is something that does seem to often occur with TS, especially when compounded by OCD as well as integrative stuff


my son used keyboards in school (including an Alpha Smart in elementary and middle school) and had special accommodations on his 504 plan for handwriting, even tho he was also in advanced and gifted classes.



he got some help from OT, and seemed to struggle more with cursive than printing, so he prints. The OCD of writing over till it was "just right" was by far most bothersome, tho sometimes he would also tic more when focused on neat writing and the jerking would mess it up!


one can help this up to a point where it becomes too stressful and then accommodations for it was part of the syndrome are usually the best option


here is some helpful info




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Hi there, just wanted to put my 2 cents in. We've been homeschooling from K-5th grade, which we're in now and I've noticed my son's handwriting has gotten worse when I tried to get him to learn cursive. I asked him which style he liked better and he said cursive but whenever I assign him any writing, he chooses to print. He used to have beautiful printing but now it's a bit messy but still legible, thankfully.


I was going to suggest a program to you called Handwriting Without Tears. They have a few workbooks that are geared towards older students(I don't know how old your child is). The one my son is working in right now is called 'Can Do Print'. The program was created by a woman who was/is an occupational therapist and the program is now used in many school districts around the country as a main handwriting program even though it wasn't originally created for that purpose. I've even ordered 2 workbooks and made him go through 2 of them back to back through the school year. I figure practice makes perfect, right? Also, my son does better while working in the workbooks but when he's give a free writing assignment I see structure fall by the wayside, so to speak. I really think the workbooks give good practice.


I also found a great website for him to learn keyboarding and it's through the BBC. Let me know if you'd be interested in that, too. It's free and I think it's a great introduction to typing. Obviously, we cover a lot of bases around here. Homeschooling can be quite an adventure!!



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I homeschooled my son 3 years (3rd, 4th, 5th) and at that time he did not display tics that I would have noticed. Just like Bonnie's son mine also had beautiful handwriting until the explosion of tics at 12yo. He now writes very small and it still can be very nice, but that does not last long if he has to write for a long time. Yes, he also prints.



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Well, I was considering actually not teaching cursive. He will be in 3rd grade this summer, and he really has no desire to learn cursive, though he can read it. I have heard how it can be miserable to learn for TS, and I don't see how I can attempt the transition when the print is still so hard for him. He describes it as that he has to think about it too hard. He's a very intelligent kid and seems to excel in every other area, but just struggles with writing.


Bonnie, I did try HWT a couple of years ago with him, but he hated it. (He hates the workbook thing, though.) I would be interested in the typing website, though! He likes to type (though not correctly), but i would love to speed him up.


I was thinking of trying Getty-Dubay italics when we start back and actually doing it with him to give him encouragement. (My handwriting could use some polishing! ;-) ) Not sure if anything with help, but I keep changing tactics as he and I are both frustrated with this...


And yes, it is an adventure. Sometimes I think I learn more than he does, but that can be the fun of it too. :ph34r:



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My oldest's corn allergy greatly affected his handwriting when he was reactive a few years ago and very ticcy. His handwriting is age appropriate now but can get sloppy when he doesn't want to do the work. I just make him erase it and do it over again. This is enough to make him keep it neat.


But bad attitude or 'opiate effect' and physical limitations are very different things. So you have to first figure out exactly what you are dealing with here.


Doris Rapp talks about poor handwriting phenomena in her book, Is this Your Child. She also includes images of examples of how handwriting gets worse and improves based on hidden allergies. In her examples the writing is poor from a coordination standpoint as well as content. What we saw in our son was a sort of "ADHD" slop job, which is much like what she showed in her examples-- kids with disconnected ideas and handwriting. This is different from what Faith describes as an OCD-like handwriting tic, in which the child continually erases or writes over a letter and has obvious perseverations during the writing process. In my experience it was more like 'intoxicated' versus 'sober' school work.


In our case the diet helped the handwriting tremendously, to the point where the samples look like they were done from two different kids-- to the point where you would think one kid's sample was from a much older child than the other.

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