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The ADHD Book of Lists: A Practical Guide for Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorders, 2nd Edition by Sandra F. Rief

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5.11 Improving Handwriting and the Legibility of Written Work

Struggles with handwriting and written organization interfere with production and being able to show what you know. Paper-and-pencil tasks are a source of great frustration for many children with ADHD. When the physical act of writing is so tedious and the results of these efforts are messy and illegible, it is no wonder that children with ADHD often hate to write and resist doing so.

  • If you observe a child struggling with the physical task of writing (correct letter formation, pencil grip, speed, and legibility), share concerns with school staff and consider consulting with an occupational therapist. An evaluation and perhaps services from an occupational therapist or other specialist may be needed. Accommodations and supports, such as use of assistive technology to compensate for or alleviate some of the writing struggle, are also generally necessary.
  • Many children with ADHD also have the learning disability referred to as dysgraphia—a disability in handwriting. Children with dysgraphia may have difficulty with orthographic coding, which is the ability to store written words in working memory while the letters in the words are analyzed (in order to spell them). They may also have difficulty with planning the sequential finger movements to form the letters when handwriting (International Dyslexia Association, 2012).

Signs of dysgraphia include the following (Jones, 2003; NCLD, 2014):

  • Inconsistencies: mixtures of print ...

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