bad hand writing and hand/eye coordination
05/22/2008 at 10:17 AM

My 10 year old son has poor and illigible hand wrinting. He uses little or no space between words & often his work is not graded because teachers can't read it. I have tried 3 different pediatric optometrist and optomologist with three differnt opinions. He can write good if he focuses but that does not happen too often. Words are misspelled alot in his writings. His hand & eye coordination is poor & it's hard for him to copy from board. Even now, he sometimes mixes b & d. I have bought typing instructor for him but after couple of times he saids it's boring. He is good at math and computer games and can spend hours on webkinz. But when it comes to doing homework his time is limited. If these sound familiar & you have raised or worked with children similar to mine please share your experiance with me. I am frustrated & tired.

Maybe it would be a good idea to have him tested for learning disabilities?

I don't have experience with this, but I have heard there is a learning disability called dysgraphia where the main symptom is "writing skills that are substantially below those expected given the person's age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education."

If that is not what he has, hopefully they can steer you in the right direction for help (hand exercises, etc., maybe?)

It is so hard to see our children going through difficulties, isn't it? I hope you can find a solution for your son. Good luck!


I think you should bring your son to an OT (Occupational Therapist) for an evaluation. An OT specializes in this area and will work w/ your child one-on-one to help w/ his handwriting. You also mentioned you've had his eyes checked. Did the doctors find any problems w/ your son's vision. Does he wear glasses? How is your son doing academically? Does he have any problems learning? If he's having trouble reading, spelling, identifying letters, etc., I think you shld have him tested for a learning disability. These problems are common w/ kids who have dyslexia. When you mentioned your son mixes b and d, I immediately thought of dyslexia. Talk to your son's teacher. You can either have the school test him, or you can get a private evaluation. In any case, you need to look into this further. Good luck!


Thanks for your responce. My son wears glasses & all 3 doctors prescribed a different strenght lenses. I have taken him to a dyslexic school & they think he has dyslexia. I have also taken him to a well known optometrist who thinks vision theraphy will be the answer. I have visited a psychologist who thinks Neuro theraphy will help him. So, I really don't have a firm answer to his challanges yet. Academically , he is strong in math but has poor reading & specially writing skills. But overall he is pretty sharp.


Learning disabled kids are smart. They usually have trouble in a particular area (like reading or math), but they do well in other areas. There's a lot of hope for these kids. You're doing the right thing for your son. With the right help, your child will be successful. Keep up the good work!


Ask the school for 504 accommodations. They may help him obtain an OT evaluation/ therapy best best of all, they may grant him a scribe. That will help him in school with paying attention to the task instead of struggling on paper.

Good luck!


My son is 7 and is having the same problems. He is able to solve the problem but can not copy from the board. Were you able to get help and if so from who? We are at a stumbling block with the school system as they state they will not be able to set up a meeting with the Student Support Team until late in October. Thanks



Look into your insurance benefits. You may be able to get an outside OT eval covered by your insurance through an in network hospital or child development center. Our local hospital has all the services my son needed, and they definitely helped.
Once you get the eval, present it to your son's school. If the private OT finds a problem and recommends that your son needs treatment, the school by law has to provide your son w/ such services. Don't let the school give you a run around. Jump on this right away. Good luck!


Hi there! Reversals of letters at age 10 is big sign of a learning disablility. Most of my teaching has been done with 9 and 10 yr olds. As a parent you can request the school psychologist to test your child. Look on your state's education site to see how many days they have for the testing to be done and make sure they keep in that time frame.

I am dealing with my oldest son having some handwriting issues as well. Recently I have been told about dysgraphia. I am trying to learn about that. I do know from what I've read and what I've been told by drs. that kids that are ADD/ADHD often struggle with handwriting and medication sometimes will improve their handwriting. Another thing I've recently learned is that children with a PDD disorder or Asperger's Syndrome often have handwriting issues, commonly dysgraphia. PDD, Autism, and Asperger's Syndrome are neurological disorders.

Does your insurance cover testing done with one of the larger hospitals? It sounds like you need to have him evaluated from a hospital that specializes in learning difficulties and/or maybe neurological disorders. I know that it takes alot of specialization to make some of these diagnoses that local family drs. don't have.

I wish you the best of luck. Don't give up!


There are a couple of resources for physio-neurotherapy, which helps treat some of the underlying problems that contribute to learning disabilities. I have used one of the programs with my son and was very pleased with the result. I am currently providing the therapy on a volunteer basis at a local elementary school. I work with two second-graders four days a week, and I have seen real progress over the last 2 months!


I am interested in the resources you mention for physio-neurotherapy. My 11 year old has developmental delays and recently discovered written expression disorder. We have been successful using bio-neurofeedback in the past, but unsuccessful with most medications.


google it. The program I use is from a company called Learning Technics. They have offices in a few cities, and there are some schools and residential programs who use it. I think they also have a program you can purchase and do yourself.

They are quite expensive. I paid $2700 when I used it for my son, which included an hour every week with their therapist and then about 45 minutes at home 5 days a week with me.

There are also some issues with medication for hyperactivity. The way the therapy works is it overloads the neural pathways, so if you are medicated to interfere with overload, the therapy is not as effective.

I'm not familiar with written expression disorder, but some of the interventions help with reversals, and some help with expressing language, so I think it would help, but you'd have to ask the person who will help you evaluate your child.



I use a program called "Handwriting Without Tears" .



I heard of a program called Fast Forward. I looked into it for my son who is also developmentally delayed. It's supposed to be helpful for kids w/ processing problems and expressive language issues. It's very expensive as well, and it takes a lot of time and dedication. I wanted to do it w/ my son, but when he was tested on it, the therapist told me the program was too advanced for him. At the time my son was 4. I may try it again w/ him in the future. I've heard good things about how it helps children increase their processing speed and how it's made a difference for many children.


I understand exactly what you are going through. I too am tired and frustrated. I am at my wits end now. My son is 8. He has all of the same symtoms as your son, but to make matters worse, for some reason he loves negative attention. He was diagnosised ADHD when he was 4 years old, but I was in denial and did not believe that he had a problem. At the age of 4, I thought all kids had the same behavior as my son. When he enter Kindergarten the teachers were frustrated. He didn't do any work, he would have tamtrums, and disrupt class often. I decided to place him on meds after they threatened to take him suspend him. Although he is on meds, he still does no work in class and finds every excuse to get out of work. The teacher stated that when it's time to work, he breaks pencils, is always playing and seems to have to use the restroom anything to get out of work. I put him in private school where there are only a total of 4 kids in the class and he is still doing the same things. I feel like I am wasting my money. We have done it all counseling, private school, talking to him, making homework time quiet but nothing is working. I am so afraid that he will never make it to high school. What do you do when nothing is working?


You said your son was diagnosed w/ ADHD at 4 yrs old. Are you still following up w/ his drs on a regular basis? We bring our son to a Developmental Pediatrician approx twice a yr. She has been very helpful in giving us pointers and advice through this whole process. My son doesn't have ADHD, but he does have focusing issues as well as other learning difficulties. The dr has been working w/ us in getting the school to give our son the services he needs.
Although our son is not on meds, we try to redirect his energy in other ways. He takes swimming classes, karate, and plays outside everyday. We're also looking into getting him a small trampoline that he can jump on. We find that if he releases that extra energy before doing his schoolwork, he's a lot better focused. For him, it's a sensory thing. He tends to get over-stimulated at times, and he often seeks input. You can try simple things like exercising or other physical activities to help your son release his energy. Also, avoid too much TV and computer time, and try to maintain a healthy diet for your son. Eliminating sugar from his diet can make a difference. We also give our son Omega 3 fish oil every day. This is proven to have many health benefits as well.
Stay on top of your sons needs. Often you have to try different things to keep a child interested and motivated. Find things your son enjoys doing, and avoid those things that are too difficult for him. He probably won't want to do them b/c they're difficult.
It's not always going to be perfect, but these are just a few things that have helped us and our son. Of course if the behavior problems persist or get worse, consult a dr. You may have to adjust your son's meds or try an alternative therapy. Speech, OT and PT have also been beneficial to our son. Talk to a dr to see if any of these therapies may be helpful to your son as well. Best of luck.


My son and your son definately have alot in common. Jonathan definately knew the work but could not seem to get it from his head to his paper. To copy fromthe board was even worse. He would end up with this stuff written that looked nothing like what was on the board. I took him to see a psychologist..he was diagnosed with adhd, dyslexia and sensorary issues. He was administered a drug called ridalin which I was rather wary about, but at this point I was willing to try anything. When he entered grade three he was at a 1.6 grade level. After 3 mos. on the ridalin he is now at a 3.6 grade level in his reading. He is no longer reversing his letters and numbers. No longer having to write on colored paper and no longer having to use a computer to write his work with. He is better able to concentrate and stay on task. Hope this helps. Michelle


I'm wondering if any of the eye doctors that saw him specialized in vision therapy? It sounds like he might have convergence insufficiency or an oculomotor or accomodative problem. Those can be tested for, and are treatable. They're not usually found in school and an OT can't help-it has to be an optometrist (not opthalmologist) that's board certified in vision therapy.


I just learned about Handwriting W/out Tears from my son's OT. We just ordered 2 workbooks from them that I use at home w/ my son, and so far so good. The OT highly recommended this company's technique over any other.


I hope you've gotten some help or recommendations by now. I have specialized in helping children like this for around 20 years now. I did a lot of studying etc. because I found I had children growing up with the same problems and knew, as a teacher, that I had to have students facing the same difficulties. I have found that good tutors working with an Orton-Gillingham method are excellent at helping students facing these challenges. To me it sounds like among other things your child is working with the challenge of being dyslexic. A lot of schools and teachers don't like to hear the word, but it is very real and challenging to young and old alike.


You son might be having a learning disability what may be reffered to as wrirring diability. The lack of concetration when he is writting might be because he is frustrated with trying and cannot get things right. Pliz stop trying to make him right but concetrate on teaching him eye hand coordination activities such as colouring pictures. Make his learning to write exciting. Remember writing is not all about him getting a pencil and writing its about how much was put in the prerequisite stages for writing. This envoves simple activities such as bouncing a ball.( But before any thing can be done, the first thing is to take him for thorough eye check ups to rule out eye problems which may be causing the problem).