Poor Handwriting? Does it get beter on meds?

Krissy - posted on 01/11/2009 ( 33 moms have responded )

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My 10 year old son has terrible handwriting. I can barely read it at times. Not only do we have the ADHD to contend with, but he's also a lefty. I'm a righty and it's hard to instruct him on better writing because I hold my pencil different. To be fair, there have also been issues with his fine motor skills (discovered in Kindergarten). But the OT at school has worked with him, and his grasp is much better.
The doctor said that now that he's on medication his handwriting will improve. The last parent-teacher conference, I was told that his teacher has seen an improvement in his writing. I just don't see it.

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Shellie - posted on 11/19/2010

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i know the feeling on this one.. handwriting will always be an issue. OT helped alot with grasp & penmanship when he was littler. They also encouraged us to get the paper with the raised lines on it so he could distinguish the lines better.. cause his writing was more rollercoaster & messy too. Now, he can keep it on the lines, but messy. His cursive is gorgeous, but everyone has given up on it cause it's too large. Also, he uses a computer or alphi instead of writing long assignments (it's stated on his IEP).. If you district can get his some support for that -- it's great. He can type then they can print it. He even had a typing class in 6th grade..and now he is up too almost 50 wpm.

Suzanne - posted on 02/18/2009

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My son is 11 and his handwriting is almost completely illegible.  When he started on Strattera it improved GREATLY!  But he writes very slow so he has been allowed to use the computer at school and now has an AlphaSmart supplied by the school in his IEP.  Since he uses the alphasmart or computer for most things his handwriting has gotten very bad again.

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2009

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My eleven year old's handwriting is really bad. You can actually see a slant in all of his words where he is just writing so fast to get to the next letter/word. He can not write in cursive. The teachers tried to teach him, but he just never grasped it or ever wanted to try. Learning cursive was just slowing him down. Medication has NOT helped. Im very grateful that my son's teachers arent as concerned with handwriting as they were before computers were mainstream.

Amy - posted on 02/06/2009

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My son is also a lefty and had the same problem. They put this funky "wedge" in his chair that we got from the OT person at school. The wedge forced him to sit properly in the chair and now his handwriting is prettier than his sister's. When un-medicated (or under-medicated), he can still be sloppy since he has a hard time just sitting down. It sounds silly, but the wedge actually worked. Good luck!

Susan - posted on 02/05/2009

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My son is 9 and on meds, his handwriting is bad but his teachers have said its improved slightly, i don't see it though. So no meds don't help to improve handwriting.

Lyndi - posted on 02/05/2009

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My son is 8 and is on meds...  His handwriting is bad but it has inproved....  I think more with age and practice then from the meds.

[deleted account]

My daughter is 8 and on meds. Hers is horrible, but has improved somewhat. I wouldn't say its great though. She is also a lefty. Although she was ambidextrious till like 2nd grade. I haven't noticed it as much this year though.

Jennifer - posted on 02/05/2009

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My son had bad handwriting too, and still does after meds.  However, now that he is on his meds, he is more apt to taking his time and WANTING to have better hadwriting......so I guess my opinion and answer to your question would be that the meds may change the childs attitude, which may eventually effect handwriting

Beth - posted on 02/05/2009

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I am having the same problem with my 7yos handwriting. We had a med check yesterday and the Dr. seems to think he may have a problem called visual-motor integration problems. There is a test for it. Please talk to the Dr. about it. A lot of kids with ADHD/ADD have this problem also.

Angela - posted on 01/30/2009

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My son is 11, And his hand writing was really bad up until this year. If he has to do writing in class Its neater.  But home work forget it!  He gets lazy, And the meds start  wearing off around 4:00. The teachers told us don't worry about it, That's what computers are for.  (That's not what we wanted to hear)



I remember back in kindergarten he told me he couldn't hold the scissors real good . And he hated art.  WHO hates art?  But i tell you, What he lacks in in art and writing skills he makes up for in his favorite class GYM......... LOL



 

Janet - posted on 01/26/2009

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My son is 15 with ADHD. He has terrible hand writing. Every year I have the school evaluate him trying to get an OT to work with him and every year the school district says he doesn't qualify. (he misses it by one point. Please) He also is a lefty! We've tried that bigger paper with the lines like they use for first graders, with the dotted line in the middle. Now that he's older, it's in his IEP that he uses a computer or his Alpha Smart to take notes and do essays etc. He still could use help with the actual task of writing but at least this way the teachers can read his work. ;-)

I didn't notice a difference in regards to taking meds or not. I think it just got a little better with age. It's still not great but.........better.

Good luck

Danie - posted on 01/23/2009

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have no fear the handwritting does improve! My sons writting was HORRIBLE!!!!! when we did finally give in to the medication we saw an improvement very quickly.  :)

Amy - posted on 01/23/2009

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Is anyone using the Handwriting Without Tears program with him?  It's great!  If possible, I would supplement his school OT with private OT.  School therapists often only work for 1/2 hour a week with kids, sometimes in a group setting.  He may benefit from some grasp and other hand strengthening exercises.

Colleen - posted on 01/22/2009

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My daughter is 8 years old and in Grade 3 here in NS. She has been on Medication now for 2 years and we see continuous improvement as she gets older. I think the best advice I can give is to keep a routine and schedule in place where they spend say 20 mins each day reading and then 20 mins writing. Like with anything in life the more you practice the better it gets.

Jodi - posted on 01/22/2009

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My son has atrocious handwriting (not improved with medication much) but we found great success in a program called Handwriting Without Tears. You can Google it for more info. We weren't fortunate enough to have an OT at school to work with, so we sought outside help. HWT is a great program for kids with ADHD and other sensory issues!! Hope this helps.

Krissy - posted on 01/22/2009

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my son has been on meds for 4 months and I see no improvement in his handwriting. but definitely see the improvement in the other areas

Jennifer - posted on 01/22/2009

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We too have handwriting issues. I think the meds help because they allow his brain to slow down enough so he can regulate himself a bit. Of course his result is all dependant on how fast of slow he goes.



Cursive helps a lot. but is tough because last year when they were learing cursive and practicing it, his teacher told him he didn't need to do it because it was "hard for him". We found this out at the end of the year (I hadn't realized that wasn't being required to do the work in school and that the letter formation sheets had stoped coming home in is friday folder).



The computer helps a lot with my older son, now that he knows how to type faster.



 

Angel - posted on 01/22/2009

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I must say that since my son started on the meds his handwriting improved drasticly. I believe that he now has the ability to concentrate on the writing thanks to the meds...

He's also lefty, but thankfully so is his dad so the only problems we had was ignorant teachers in kindergarden who thought that he was "to young" to choose hand and more or less forced him to use the right...

Heather - posted on 01/21/2009

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When my daughter was first diagnosed and started with medicine our pediatrician told us to give it a week and check her handwriting. He said this was one of the fastest ways to tell if the meds were working. I was somewhat skeptical but was amazed at the end of the week. If you compared her work from the week before to that week, it looked like a different child wrote it.

Dana - posted on 01/15/2009

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Unfortunately not, unless he wants to focus on it. I got my boy a handwriting book. Writing in cursive yielded better results, but it is still not very legible

Emma - posted on 01/15/2009

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my son is 5 and iv been told that he has adhd his hand writing is really poor but i find that with having dyslexia can can under stand why he finds it hard and within time he will get better to a point i know myself if i slow down my writing  look so much better but because iv so much to say i do end up getting messy again and am 29 and i can see the same in my son. you find it hard to hold the pen and to slow down at the same time iv been given a pen of school it a big one with 3 silde so he can just write draw at home so he can get better at holding it he not any better but he having fun at having a go and thats all i wont because if felt like every one was at me to have better witing and to hold it writing it got to the point where i just didnt wont to do it any more . but as i have got older i have got better and redone my gcse and passed english with an a so try not to worry to much

Teri - posted on 01/14/2009

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My older boys both have messy handwriting.  When my oldest was able to learn and use cursive writing, he was much happier.  The legibility of his writing improved greatly.  He was the top of the class, and his teacher would have him teach the other kids.  I can't wait for my next one to learn cursive.  His handwriting has become much worse this year.  I attribute it to all of the work they have, even the teacher says all 2nd graders handwriting gets bad.  I have hope for 3rd grade.  I never noticed any difference on the meds, I think just that they write fast to get it done.  I just try to remind them both that the teachers need to be able to understand it, or it will be marked wrong.

Brandy - posted on 01/14/2009

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I have an 8 year old son. His handwriting is also horrible. He's been taking medication for his ADHD for the past 2 1/2 years now. We got his report card last Friday and his handwriting grade is a C-! I don't know how to help him anymore than I can. His hands shake a bit and he can't seem to get it in his head that he has to write smaller. I'm kinda of at a loss for advise because I'm in the same boat. His teacher is aware of the ADHD but doesn't seem to make exceptions for him.

Pat - posted on 01/14/2009

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Handwritting is an issue with and without ADHD. My 8yrs. old is in a multi model treatment plan and we just added Focalin in Nov. ...... so far I've seen a very slight improvement with his handwriting. He also get's OT 2x week. Like anything they just need practice.

Sandy - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have a 12 year old son who still cannot (and will not cursive write).  His printing can be quite neat when he focuses, but if he wants to hurry through his work, it is soooo messy.  He is medicated with Adderall and clonidine.  I have yet to find the magical formula between meds, practice and consequences at school.  I am aways open to help and tips.

Tina - posted on 01/13/2009

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my son is also a lefty and his handwriting is ... i can't even describe it.  i push him to do all of his homework on the computer and his 504 has this accomodation in it.  he can type faster and organize his thoughts better this way so it is a great help to him.  i have not seen any improvements with his writing on any of the meds he has been on.  we started with concerta which worked well for a.d.d. but cause intense mood swings, strattera did nothing for either and now we are on vyvanse which has put him on teachers honor roll but his writing is still terrible.

Shaye - posted on 01/12/2009

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I would look furhter into that because I myself have dyslexia and I often  as a child wrote things backwards it even happened with numbers too.  I had to see a special reading and writing teacher that specialized in dyslexia and certain letters and number had to be color coded. It helped me a great deal I even used it with my son when he first started school because his reading was terrible at first but after doing this and getting him glasses he is now in the GT reading a huge improvment....the GT classes also help his ADHD....cause the extra challenge help keep his attention...before the GT classes he was getting bored in class...Causing him to get himself in some trouble.

Krissy - posted on 01/12/2009

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My son can do much better when he slows down. But he too gets frustrated when I make him redo his writing. Usually to the point of crying. But I was amazed at the quality of work from him when he tries. But the problem is he refuses to do that on a regular basis.
Cursive writing usually is neater. My son prefers cursive to print, but I have noticed that now that he knows how to form the letters, he's rushing again and it barely legible
His teacher is a saint. She doesn't mark down for his poor penmanship. He often writes certain letters backwards. I have questioned the school about the possibility of a mild form of dyslexia, but they say it's because he's lefty.

Mary - posted on 01/12/2009

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My son's handwriting is awful to.  I can't really tell if the meds have helped any or not.  His older sister and dad have terrible handwriting also so I don't know if I can blame it all on ADHD.  I try to get him to slow down but he tends to get frustrated with this.  He is only in the second grade but I have found his writing to be much neater in cursive.  His sister has been showing him how.  I think it is the fact with him that the letters are hooked together.  When he prints the letters are all different sizes and he tends to spread them out to much which makes it harder to read.

Shaye - posted on 01/12/2009

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My son is also a Lefty....So that right there makes their handwriting a little messy but we are having the same issues with him... he is 9 has been on Medication since age 5 And I have not seen an improvement in his handwritting while on the Meds. I have noticed though that If I am persistant with him and make him slow down and  take his time his handwriting is quite neat. The only problem is some times this can cause him to have a small meltdown do to frustration..... Cause I think he see nothing wrong with the way he writes.....And me making him slow down and rewrite things in his eyes is me picking on him and sometimes cause small battles. However I think the small battles are worth it because it is helping his handwriting and I also see it helping him be more aware of the moods which is helping all around. 

Susan - posted on 01/11/2009

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I know that this is important to a degree.  My son also had terrble handwritting, he could not slow down.  His teacher allowed him to do some of his work on computer but he had to earn the priviledge my keeping one of his other written assignments neat.  Be willing to problem solve with the teacher.



Dont get to caught up on this though, you haven't reached 13 yet and you don't want him to tune you out prematurely. 

Jolene - posted on 01/11/2009

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I know the feeling. Our son's writing is not great either. I think it did get a little better with the meds because now he can concentrate better. I try to gently remind him that if his teacher can't read it, she will mark it wrong.

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