Expert Advice

Handwriting Problems, ADHD, and Self-Esteem

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q
My third-grader is having problems with his cursive writing. He was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten. His self-esteem is low when he gets a bad grade in writing. How can I help him better with his studies?
A
There are some great handwriting programs available, including Handwriting Program for Cursive (there's one for right-handed kids and another for left-handed students). You can get it from Educators Publishing Service (800-225-5750). Another is Handwriting Without Tears (301-983-8409). Your son may also be eligible for help in school from an occupational therapist or learning specialist who can give him direct instruction to improve his handwriting.

It's also not too early to teach him how to type. Diana Hanbury King has a great typing program, also available from Educators Publishing Service. Once he knows where the keys are, you can get him a typing software program to practice what he's learned and build his speed. Type to Learn is a popular one that kids enjoy. I'd probably work on both his handwriting and his typing skills to attack the problem from both ends.

For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

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