I must try harder to catch a few Pokémon. During the week Son likes to see his trainer account topped up with a few catches. I’ve had a fairly shocking catch rate recently. Maybe it’s the Captain Chaos effect.

Our Son struggles with his handwriting. According to several of the teachers at his school he just needs to try harder to get to the handwriting level of some of the other kids. Its one of the reasons he has been labelled low attainment.

Well that’s very helpful, thank you. Just remind me again since you are constantly picking fault with his efforts with a pen – exactly what help do you provide to try and improve things. Yes now what’s the phrase I’m looking for here. Diddly squat.

Yes his handwriting is not what you would call neat.

It has improved a bit over the years. That improvement is down to – strangely – unrecognised hard work by our Son. But we have to recognise for all the hard work it is fundamentally down to a recognised medical condition. A medical condition which has been repeatedly documented by his health professionals and communicated to school. To quote the last health letter sent to school

His poor handwriting is specifically associated with the Developmental Disorders Aspergers, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. Conventional teaching approaches to handwriting are unlikely to deliver any positive improvements. Focus should be on specific Dyslexia investigations, Fine Motor Skill development, trialling of writing aids and the use of technology.

In effect his handwriting difficulties come from two interrelated factors

  • Visual and Cognitive Letter Perception – he struggles to recognise letter forms. Letters can be reversed and letters can be mixed up (an ‘a’ maybe mixed up with an ‘e’, ‘y’ mixed up with a ‘g’).
  • Poor Fine Motor Skills. He struggles to hold a pen (often held with too much muscle force). He then finds it difficult to coordinate and control the required hand movements (his movements are not smooth).

As I’ve said improvements have been made. We did manage to secure some ongoing Physio Therapy to work on the motor skills. Due to Government cutbacks they are not as frequent as the health service would like them to be. But they have helped. At home repetitively bouncing various size bouncy balls has made a huge difference. From not being able to catch to becoming really adept at it. But he still struggles to write, struggles to tie knots and has to be helped to open things like screw bottle tops. At home we have tried various pen types and grips. We have trialled things like colour overlays and special rulers. But these have had little impact in our sons specific case. But I’m no specialist so who knows if I’m doing it correctly.

In terms of the visual and cognitive perception area unfortunately the health service is not allowed to provide any detailed dyslexia assessments. This has been defined by the Government as an educational area. And in our area the educational services have decided not to provide a specific dyslexia service. So kids like our son are left basically to fend for themselves. Branded as low attainment.

So the hard work will continue. I will try harder to catch some Pokemon. Not hopeful as I’m not that good with computer games (I struggle with fine motor skills as well). In terms of our Sons handwriting I am sure that he will continue to try hard. However just saying he must try harder completely misses the point. Just constantly pointing out the kids who write neater and saying that’s the level you should be at achieves only one thing – erodes personal confidence even more.

One final thought. Associating poor handwriting with low attainment is an interesting concept. Having worked in education, health and policing I can honestly say that the individuals often with the most illegible and scruffy handwriting are the HEADTEACHERS, DOCTORS and DETECTIVES. So if poor handwriting is a sign of low attainment – we are in trouble.

67 thoughts on “Try harder

  1. One of those really unhelpful things I notice a lot is the attitude ‘You can achieve anything!’ I even see it on a banner outside a nearby school. It may be well-intentioned, but it is unrealistic and ultimately makes people feel like failures when they fall short of impossible goals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s shit. I’ve a gifted IQ (not that that means a thing) and my handwriting is atrocious. Good handwriting says nothing about intelligence or about anything else really.
    Such a tragedy about your kid’s school not helping. One of the only good things our education devices did for us was an OT handwriting assessment that enabled my son’s school to apply for a laptop for him.
    Nobody really writes things by hand anymore anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Each parent had to buy an iPad for the kids to use at school. They do use it for some of the work. But it’s always written answers required. Like Maths they use a great online package that has a video about the area then a series of online test questions. But school make them do this and then write out the main points of the video and the questions and answers in the homework book. Bizarrely the subject you would have thought would use the iPad least, Art, is the one that uses it the most.

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  3. Try harder? Sheesh! That’s annoying. My oldest’s math teacher drives me crazy – he’s in Algebra 2 and math is my mojo – but sometimes I need to see what the teacher has taught them to get back on track. I can’t understand the guys handwriting! And Doctor’s too – you’re right. We are in trouble. Declan has a hard time with this too – thankfully his teachers help him (at least for now). If he can’t finish a sentence he is trying to write for class work or a test his aid will finish it for him. I can’t tell you how many things come home with Declan’s writing for the first half of the sentence and his aid’s finishing it off. He KNOWS the answer or at least what he wants to say he just can’t write it in the amount of time, or the size of the space, or stay calm as he is frustrated with writing. I wish your son had this kind of support too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sometimes it is so difficult to understand school teachers. I used to teach a dyslexia kid for an hour at my house. Kid was smart enough to understand the concept, but he used to forget pretty soon. I was working on his problem and kid was improving. Of course, a lot of patience was required but we were slowly progressing. But the disappointing part was school.Teachers wanted his progress to be equalled with the class. I used to wonder about the common sense of teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was able to read the lines your son wrote however as a left handed person my mom use to say that a course was required to learn to decipher what I had written. Here they are not even teaching kids cursive writing at all. And Tember’s spelling drives me insane. As he put it to me ‘It is just easier to spell it how it sounds mom. You still know what I am saying.’ Okay now that I reread that I realize I am awful. Instead of haranging him maybe I should be seeing if I can help him. Gah……as well although they are doing spelling in school it is not pressed upon them. In his last report it was suggested that he work on grammer, sentence structure and punctuation. I am not entirely sure how it is that in such a progressive age for children and learning and the tools out there that your schools are so so out of date. The school that Tember is going to is so different and the way they teach is incredible. No homework. Children learn their way. How is this not everywhere?
    Sorry once more I end up ranting and raving on your behalf. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s how schools should be. Given technology we should be able to deliver tailored programmes. He had a teacher last year who was brilliant. She said if he works in the answers in his brain I will find a way of getting it out. She did. She was the one teacher pushing for him to go up several sets. Unfortunately she left and with that no teacher basically gives a damm with probably the exception of the games teacher.

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  6. Oh yes not being able to read doctors writing. So true.
    There has only ever been one doctor who I actually could read his writing. I had to do a double take to just make sure I wasn’t seeing things, when I discovered I could read his.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel your pain when it comes to dealing with schools and a kid who is any different from the rank and file. It’s been one of the hardest challenges for us too. It’s hard not to roll my eyes when some kids get praised for their hard work, when actually it just comes naturally to them, while I see my own child get nothing when he worked harder for his Grade than they did for their A. So I hand out my own prizes to them (I have 4 boys) since I know who actually worked hard and who didn’t. American schools don’t offer much help or testing for dyslexia either, and yet it is a huge hurdle.

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  8. If poor handwriting is a sign of lack of intelligence, then I am a moron. It is unfair to hold him to the standard of the other kids … kids who do not have Asperger’s Syndrome. And frankly, I was able to read his writing just fine! Sigh. ☕☕

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      1. It seems, from what I’ve read and seen, that Corbyn is the lesser of all evils. However, it’s looking like Boris has called in a few markers and is leading the polls? Sigh. My fingers are tightly crossed for you guys, my friend. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes you are absolutely right. Dr.’s handwriting is really terrible. I cannot understand what those teachers are not recognizing. They have all the info and facts on your son, and they say this to you. It’s so frustrating to me. I can’t imagine how your feeling. Well I can I can feel it in your posts. .

    Liked by 1 person

  10. First of all… we love Pokémon too!!! Me, my own kids, my school kids … Pokémon been in my life since 1996!! What team are you? I am yellow, along with my sons… my daughter is red. 🙄😄 … has to be different lol

    And as far as the handwriting… 🤨… in regards to myself – I have no “known” learning disability – but I once had a teacher who would use 3 chalk boards and have sentences filling them all up and tell us to copy … I was the only one she made do over and over and over. I hated her, I hated handwriting, I was a very quiet good little catholic girl. But she was so mean! My hand hurt everyday because of her. My handwriting is actually beautiful, but that’s not because of her. That is because I had started journaling … something for me. What if you gave him a journal just for him? And if he doesn’t know what to write about – maybe pick a question of the day for him to write about? Maybe things that make him think like… what was the last conversation you enjoyed and what was it about? Or what things are you good at? What’s your favorite Pokémon and why? Etc – maybe if handwriting in school is difficult – perhaps be different if he was doing it on his own for himself ? Not to be judged? Let him write the way he wants what he wants. I say that to maybe get a love of journaling? Or even make a book together? I love seeing your pictures, maybe he could write stories for the pictures? Just ideas and suggestions to help or give thought.

    And then as a parent, my oldest son… the teachers used to say the same thing – awful handwriting blah blah blah… he was pulling in all A’s – so I’m sorry if the worst you can say is handwriting – who cares… I am more concerned with his education than his handwriting … he could be a doctor you know, and no one can read their handwriting lol ✌️

    Good luck and Happy Pokémon hunting lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I like Charmander … my daughter loves Evee and the evolutions – her favorite is Sylveon ❤️

        I really wish you had more resources available to you for him. It doesn’t sound like where you live you have options? Kids are like snowflakes they are all different and all learn different. They try to fit them into a mold and push them through. That’s hard. I’m sorry you guys go through that.

        Education as a whole – needs a revamp!! Desperately!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s funny! Hopefully he taught you well… you got a little Pokémon trainer there lol.

        Last year my daughter was Evee for Halloween… I had to make the whole thing lol – that was fun

        This year she was some anime character from… Dankin Rompa? I am a mom, so I pronounce everything wrong so I am not sure if I wrote that correctly ??? But your guy is into anime too – he probably knows it lol … and I probably wrote it wrong ✌️

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  11. Hi. Handwriting is a difficult skill to master if it is not taught properly from the outset. Many have no understanding of how it should be taught. Many individuals and agencies do not even recognise that such conditions as your son experiences exist at all. It is not a matter of discovering for oneself; its a matter of being taught correctly from the very start and infused with understanding, empathy, encouragement, praise and reward however small each success maybe. Handwriting has nothing to do with an individuals intelligence. Over a long time I have observed first hand: the pains: struggles and traumas children have experienced in trying to get to grips with handwriting; so many have been made to feel that it is their fault or that there is something wrong with them. That burden has to be eliminated. I have found that there has been and that there still remains a reluctance to recognise such conditions that might hamper a child’s needs and progress. The only advice I can offer is for you to continue with your efforts on behalf of your son. To have any success at all one has to be continually telephoning: questioning: writing to everyone and sundry, over and over again, daily if necessary. To reap any success; put bluntly – you just have to be a ‘pain in the butt’ for your son’s sake. I know it will be a battle but one worth winning. Do not be fobbed off. Keep pressing the issues you need answers and solutions to. Hope you find this advice a little helpful. Best Regards. Goff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve just managed to get another block of physio from the NHS which always helps. At least they try and education lot is another matter currently. So again the letters of complaint have been fired off. Another request to see the Head. You are so right – you just can’t be fobbed off. The worry I have is if Johnson gets back in the schools will go further down the traditional teaching approach and the NHS services will get butchered.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi. I know the the difficulties parents have faced when reaching out for support. There are many high mountains to climb. I always advised writing to everyone including the PM, Minister of Education, MP down through all the differing agencies – councillors, school governors, all and sundry etc. Always address and write to the top person stating all the facts objectively and rationally. One can use the same letter. It’s worth the time to compose such a letter to send. Remembering to always date and keep a copy(to whom sent etc.). File all responses. Allow no more than two weeks for a response. If no response; send the letter again questioning why and what were the reasons for not responding. You may wish to telephone but ALWAYS ask for responses in writing. If you are called in for a meeting; or, you ask for a meeting with individuals always take a file and write notes. I have been in meetings where the parent is confronted with two or even more individuals. That can be extremely intimidating. If possible have a trusted person to accompany you. It does not matter who is in government, so do not worry about it, you will still have the same issues to resolve for your son’s sake whoever is in power. Remember your doing it for your son. Do it in a totally calm and positive way. You have to be ‘a thorn in everyone’s flesh’ in an attempt to improve the situation for your son. Hope you find this helpful. Goff

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Keep pressing – ask reasons for not responding. Write to the PM and or leader of the opposition whichever party your MP represents raising your concerns regarding your son as well the lack of response and the apparent lack of interest from the individual MP to your letters. Always use the term ‘it appears to be’ as a matter of course; in all your correspondence and discussions e.g. It appears that my MP is reluctant to… / you appear to…. By using the word ‘appear’ you are covering yourself legally; as you only stated or wrote ‘ it appeared’. Hope this helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

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