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Anyone else having this problem?

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This is my first post this this chat so I'm not up on all the short-hand.


I have a ds 11, 5th grade. He has ADD and possible something called hyper sensitivity (not exactly sure what that means - still looking into it). We have been hs since mid-3rd grade. He is very bright but only remembers things he likes no matter what methods used to get the non-liked facts to stick but my biggest problem is his dislike of doing anything that requires him to pick up a pencil and write. It isn't just writing assignments (like writing a story, outline a passage, write a sentence) that sends him into a fall on the floor, pull your hair out, crying fit. Any worksheet that has more then 10 questions and requires more than a single charater for the answer will send him spiralling out of control. To date we have not gotten beyond 4 sentences at a time for any writing assignments and we rarely do this more than once a month. Early this week he had to write four sentences describing something. It took him two days to complete. Almost nothing else got finished because of his temper tandrum over the assignment. This response also happens on math assignment that have more than 15 problems and grammer worksheets what require diagraming.


The only way to keep some order and calm during school time is to do almost everything orally. For math we usually review the math concepts and do problems together (I'm doing the writing, he describs the process). Once, maybe twice a week he has a math worksheet that has 20 problems on it. Grammar is the same way if the worksheets require more than minimal writing. Writing assignments almost never occur because of the stress it causes both of us. We have tried to do written assignment on the computer but it doesn't make it much better.


We have been trying to follow the plan described in The Well-Trained Mind but if I tried to get him to do all the work described in the book my son's head would explode. I'm starting to feel like I'm doing him a disservice by not forcing writing more often but the stress and anxiety it causes him is unbearable for him and me. As a consequence my son does not write cursive, his hand writing still looks like a kindergardeners and he has a difficult time coming up with what to write when I do force a writing assignment.


The possitive side is he loves to read (would do nothing else if I let him). He is doing well in Latin and has started Japanese on his own. He is really good at math and grammar as long as he doen't have to write. He loves history and knows more about ancient history than most adults. He enjoys the logic puzzles we do and is better at figuring them out than me.


Am I stressing too much about the writing? If you have experienced this what have you done to over come the situation? Any advice would be much appreciated.

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What you have described is called dysgraphia. There is a support group on Yahoo! you may want to join.


My dd has borderline dysgraphia. It was more of a problem in elementary and middle school grades. She has gone to public high school and in the last three years has improved quite a bit, although still not more than low-normal among her peers.


Keyboarding is often a difficult skill for dysgraphics to acquire. The *only* keyboarding program that worked for my dd was Keyboarding Skills by Diana Hanbury King. Once basic skills are acquired via that program, you can use some of the computer-based programs to work on gaining speed and accuracy.


Dysgraphia is often a neurologically-based problem that does not respond to interventions. Some dysgraphia is exacerbated by fine motor problems. An occupational therapy evaluation can help determine if this is the case, and OT can help develop the muscles associated with writing. A home program that often helps with fine motor issues related to writing is Callirobics. Sometimes motor planning is the problem. When this is the case, OT can help. Also, Interactive Metronome sometimes makes a profound difference in writing ability. (I had a friend who had her son do IM, although he had other motor planning issues besides writing. Before IM he could not write a paragraph. After IM, he could write multiple paragraphs.)


My dd's dysgraphia seems to be largely neurological in origin. She did not have fine motor issues (can draw beautifully) and did not have motor planning issues (very athletic), so Callirobics and IM did not help her. She is a remediated dyslexic, so I suspect her dysgraphia is a language-based disability.


Most dysgraphics also have difficulty acquiring the mechanics of writing -- grammar, capitalization and punctuation, etc.


Depending on the severity of the dysgraphia, your son may need to go to voice-recognition technology to develop writing skills. It takes about a year to train this kind of program, though. Dragon Speak Naturally is one.

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You also mentioned "something called hyper sensitivity " This might be Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or, it's old name, Sensory Integration dysfunction. I suggest you get The Out-of-Sync Child by Kranowitz.


I also second Claire about teaching typing and using Keyboarding Skills. The timed computer programs were too stressful for my ds. With Keyboarding Skills the student always advances because each succeeding lesson repeats the previous lesson before introducing new material.

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I would go to an occupational therapist and get an evaluation. They cannot make a diagnosis of dysgraphia (that is left to pyschs, neuropyschs, dev. pediatricians, etc.) However, they can work with you to help him acquire writing skills.


There are two types of dysgraphia: one is dyslexic dysgraphia. Kids with this can write fine when copying, but not when generating their own work because the brain gets overloaded with all the stuff they're having difficulty with as a dyslexic (spelling, word choice, punctuation, etc.) and their handwriting goes to pieces. The other kind of dsygraphia is motor dysgraphia. Those kids either can't produce decent handwriting even when copying, OR they are laboriously SLOW.


My ds has severe fine motor skills issues and dsygraphia. The neuropysch thought he might need to use voice recognition software, and it's getting less and less expensive. However, my ds is coming along fine with his keyboarding and has now written some nice compositions.


There are some programs that even allow kids to do math on the computer, but the problem must be pretty severe to make it efficient.


Again, I would get an evaluation, both from a neuropsych and from an OT and go from there.

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