Is your child smart but balks every time you ask them to pick up a pencil? Does he hate to write? Diagnose the problem and overcome these issues at home.

Smart Kids Who Hate to Write: Figuring Out What’s Going On!

Overview: Does your child hate writing? Does he refuse to write or struggle with the act of writing? It could be a physical issue. It could be a maturity issue. Or it could be a disconnect between your child’s fingers and his brain. Learn straightforward ways to change your approach so that your child will no longer hate to write!

I’ve always known that my boys were smart. They started talking before they were one-year-old. They started learning to read when they were three. They’ve always been able to come up with intricate stories in their heads, carry on wonderful conversations, think logically, and remember many facts. The one thing they have always struggled with in our homeschool was that they didn’t want to write anything down. Can you relate? Does your child hate to write?!?

Smart Kids Who Hate to Write: Figuring Out What's Going On

This is a big deal! Writing is one of those skills that you use in all of your subjects. We typically teach spelling by having kids write their words several times. We teach lots of subjects by having the child fill out a workbook page to see what they remember. We give tests where they are asked to write things down. Even notebooking and lapbooking require the child to write out what they remember about certain subjects.

My boys could talk to me endlessly about what they remembered, but as soon as I would ask them to write anything down, they would freeze up and balk at having to write even a short sentence or two.

My Child Refuses to Write

Sometimes the issue is that we’re trying to get our kids to write when they are simply not ready. We expect children who are ages 4-6 to color and to begin learning to write their letters, but sometimes they aren’t mature enough to do these things, yet. This is especially true for boys who can lag behind in this area.

The best thing to do in this circumstance is to put some of the writing aside and create learning experiences which don’t involve a paper and pencil. Give them time and allow them to complete most of their work orally.

Your Path to Feeling Less Stressed Video Course

Physically Struggling with Writing

Sometimes the issue is that our kids haven’t yet developed the fine motor skills necessary to be able to write. This is the case in older and older children as technology takes a more prominent place in the lives of our kids. They are simply not doing the same types of activities which develop our hand muscles as much as children did in generations past.

If you suspect this is the case, having your child do some fun fine motor activities to build up the strength in his fingers will make a huge difference in helping him to struggle less with writing.

Some kids who physically struggle to write with a pencil will do much better using a pen. It takes less strength to make a mark with a pen than it does with a pencil. These kids also do well learning how to type at a young age. My boys tried many typing programs geared for kids, but they didn’t become touch typists until they went through the Mavis Beacon program.

Not Interested in Writing

Not all adults enjoy writing. In fact, quite a few adults avoid writing like the plague. They certainly wouldn’t want to sit down and write a book report after they finish a book. And they wouldn’t choose to spend their free time writing stories or essays about their life.

Guess what?!? Your child may never enjoy writing. That doesn’t mean that they can’t write. Or that they won’t learn how to write well. But it may not be something they choose to do. For these kids, it’s important to do what we can to help them at least learn how to write to the best of their ability.

And over time, they may even decide that they love to tell stories and they want to become authors as my oldest son has. You can read all about his experience in this post co-written by him called How to Motivate a Child to Write.

How to Motivate a Child to Write

Is There a Disconnect Between Your Child’s Fingers and His Brain?

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

If your child is learning but refuses to write or seems like he has to work really hard to write anything down, we can wonder if it’s laziness or a character issue. I know I struggled with this with my own sons. And I wondered if they would ever grow out of it.

Fortunately, a few years ago I finally learned the answers to my questions. While attending our state’s homeschool convention, I attended a workshop taught by an amazing woman named Dianne Craft. She has a master’s degree in special education, she’s a certified nutritional health professional, and she was a homeschool mom.

She taught several workshops this weekend; but the first one that caught my eye was called Smart Kids Who Hate to Write. I knew I needed to attend this workshop. I was just hoping that I might learn one or two things that could give my boys some relief in this area.

Time Capsule: Medieval England Unit Study

Why Is Writing Such a Struggle for Some Kids?

Dianne said that writing is an activity in which we should use both hemispheres of our brain. Once we learn how to do something, after 6 months it is supposed to transfer over to the automatic processing part of our brain. If children are struggling to write, often it is because this doesn’t happen. For these kids, they continue having to think about the letters they’re forming and the words they’re writing instead of that being an automatic process.

Is your child smart but balks every time you ask them to pick up a pencil? Does he hate to write? Diagnose the problem and overcome these issues at home.

She gave the analogy of learning to drive a car. She reminded us of what an arduous task this first was when we first started to learn. We had to think about where our feet should be and how to push the different pedals. We had to think about when to use our turn signals and which lane to drive in. We had to remember to check behind, around, and in front of us before changing lanes. There were so many things to think about that we had to use all of our focus to drive. We couldn’t talk at the same time, and it wasn’t enjoyable. In fact, it was quite stressful.

That was the case until we had practiced long enough that the various processes necessary for us to drive transferred over to our automatic hemisphere. Then driving became enjoyable. We could carry on a conversation while driving. We could sing along with the radio. It was a whole different ballgame. We could turn our head to look at the sights. It became a relaxing experience! (Driving on country roads, anyway.)

This is what some of our kids feel like when they are writing. Instead of being able to write and think about anything else they have to focus very hard just to write anything down. This takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus and having to write anything down zaps much of their strength.

Does your child hate writing? Does he refuse to write or struggle with the act of writing? It could be a physical issue. It could be a maturity issue. Or it could be a disconnect between your child's fingers and his brain. Learn easy ways to change your approach so that your child will no longer hate to write!

Sometimes this problem is caused by your child having a mixed dominance.

Normally, if your child is right-handed, their right eye will be dominant. If they are left-handed, their left eye will be dominant. For some kids, this isn’t the case. One of my sons is left-handed but his right eye is dominant. This can cause confusion in the brain while he is writing and can cause the writing process to be stopped from entering the automatic hemisphere.

Sometimes a child’s brain is hard-wired for left-handedness even though they are right-handed or vice versa. This can also cause major stress in their writing system.

→ Related Content: 4 Tips to Help Your Reluctant Writer

 How can you tell if there is stress in your child’s writing system?

  • If they hate to write or take a long time to do so
  • If they have a mixed dominance
  • If they occasionally reverse their letters or numbers after age 7
  • If they are right-handed but they make the letter ‘O’ clockwise
  • If they form some letters from bottom to top
  • If their copy work takes a long time and is labor intensive
  • If they do their math problems in their head to avoid writing them down
  • If their writing looks sloppy
  • If they tell great stories orally but write very little down
  • If they have a hard time lining up their math problems
  • If they press very hard when writing
  • If they are a teenager but they avoid writing at all costs
  • If they mix their capital and small letters when writing

How Do I Help My Child?

If your child is exhibiting even one or two of these symptoms, then he or she would benefit from going through some Brain Integration Therapy. This sounds complicated, but it’s actually very simple and inexpensive and it’s something you can do at home with your child. This therapy was developed by Dr. Geteman and Dr. Paul Dennison. This exercise not only helps your child to overcome their dysgraphia, but it will also improve their hand-eye coordination and their awareness of their body in space. This will help them perform better in sports and to write with ease.

The Brain Integration Therapy is simple, yet it involves lots of steps. I can’t detail how to do them in this article because I don’t want to take the chance of missing a step and making you waste your time. I would recommend that you purchase the following products by Dianne Craft:

I purchased these products myself and have been thrilled with what I have discovered so far. Her Brain Integration Therapy Manual is easy to understand and easy to follow. The Smart Kids Who Hate to Write DVD includes the entire workshop that I attended, which explains the reasoning behind this therapy. It also includes examples of kids who are a variety of ages doing the Writing Eight exercise, which is the main therapy that she recommends for overcoming dysgraphia (see picture above.)

There are so many other exercises which are beneficial in her brain training manual, however, that I would HIGHLY recommend you purchase that as well.

If your child is struggling to write, purchasing these items will be a small price to pay to see their suffering end in this area. I can’t tell you how relieved I was after finding this program! My boys were also very excited to start this therapy.

Dianne says that your child might consider these exercises boring, and that’s true. If your child is struggling, however, you may find that they will be excited to do exercises that might help them overcome something which has been causing them grief for many years.

Dianne says that you will start to see results after a few months; but that you need to do the therapy for 6 months to a year so that the brain is permanently trained. Dianne said that in her over 30 years of teaching this to children she has never met a child she wasn’t able to help.

My boys did all of Dianne’s brain training for about seven months, and it did help them. They stopped reversing letters and writing things from bottom to top. We still chose to let them type most of their assignments, but after going through this therapy, it gave them the ability to write more efficiently. I think the exercises also helped one of my sons with his balance and coordination. It was worth our time!

If you suspect your child has a disconnect between his fingers and his brain, do yourself and your children a favor. Get Dianne’s material. Read some of the articles on her website. Check out her sample audio and video files. I think you’ll be as happy as I am that you took the time to make writing easier for your children.

Fun Writing Resources

If you are looking for resources to make learning to writing more enjoyable for your child, I have some really fantastic suggestions for you!

Make Your Own Comics (Ages 6+) – Making comics is a great, non-intimidating way to motivate kids to start writing. This awesome activity pad is jam-packed with everything children need to design their very own comic strips. Create comics about swashbuckling pirates, a space adventure, a rogue robot rampage, and many more. With lots of hints and tips on drawing characters, showing emotions, setting the scene, and adding speech bubbles and sound effects.

Picture of My Year of Writing

My Year of Writing (Ages 8 and up) – A year’s worth of imaginative prompts for word associations, stories, jokes, and more help young writers discover their own personal creativity, fire up their imaginations, and hone their writing skills.

Write and Draw Your Own Comics (Ages 10+) – This is for kids who want to tell stories but who gravitate toward pictures. It has a mix of partially drawn comics and blank panels with intro comics as instructions – lots of space for kids to draw their own comics, but they’re never left fully alone with a scary blank page.

Write and Design Your Own Magazines (Ages 10+) – This book explains how to make homemade magazines or ‘zines’ from scratch. With step-by-step instructions and tips on everything from making comics or writing advice columns to printing magazines and finding readers.

Write Your Own Scripts (Ages 10+) – This book will help you write all kinds of scripts–scary ones, exciting ones, and hilariously silly ones. It’s full of tips and ideas that will help you every step of the way–from planning and writing to putting on your very own shows.

Write Your Own Poems (Ages 10+) – A write-in book filled with a wide range of poetry writing activities, tips, and advice to inspire a new generation of young poets. This book aims to make poetry accessible and exciting for beginners.

Picture of Writing Box Set

Writing Box Set (Ages 10+) – In this box you will find everything you need to start your writing career: two books loaded with tips and prompts for writing stories, poems and essays, and a handy journal to write your notes, observations and chapters. Includes Creative Writing Book, Write Your Own Storybook, and Writing Journal.

A Year in my Life (Ages 9-13) – A kids’ journal quite unlike any other, this beautifully illustrated book invites children to record a year of their life by filling in the 365 quirky drawing and writing activities—one for every day of the year. Activities are fun, quick—so no excuse to miss any days!—and imaginatively offbeat, so kids might be invited to “Draw a scene that happened today, but give the people animal heads” or “Write every feeling you remember feeling today” or simply just “Sum up today in a single word.” At the end of the 365 days, children will end up with an amusing, creative, and offbeat record of a year in their life to treasure in years to come.

And if you would like to attend my FREE Kid’s Creative Learning Camp Storytelling lessons, where your child will see just how fun writing can be, join my VIP Group here. (Let me know you want to go through my Creative Learning Camp so I can point you in the right direction.)

Question: Does your child hate to write? Do you have any other tips you could share? Please leave a comment below.

86 thoughts on “Smart Kids Who Hate to Write: Figuring Out What’s Going On!”

  1. Enam Alsrayheen

    My son is 6 years old and I noticed he hates writing. He is very smart. While I was reading the first part of your article, I felt you are talking about me and my son. This is very helpful. I will get the material and help my child.
    Thank you very much

    1. Michelle Caskey

      Thanks for letting me know, Enam. It’s encouraging to me when I’m able to help someone else. I hope the materials help your son! Take care and have a great night!

      1. Hi
        My son is 3 years 8 months now. He cant write after several time practice…not even a single alphabet properly and without help. We don’t feel he is not interested …he tries but couldn’t understand how to write

        He can recognize all alphabets and number 1to10 but can’t write and I also feel sometimes he doesn’t remember things very easily
        Can anyone help.

        1. That’s incredibly young to have him writing. Some kids can handle it but it isn’t common. There are different skills involved with recognizing the alphabet versus writing it out. If he’s recognizing all of the letters and numbers 1-10, that’s wonderful for his age. Just keep learning fun for him and try not to stress about it. 🙂

    2. Thank you for this! My 7 year old is having writing issues. He started Prek with nice handwriting. His writing was good at KG then 1st grade came and he just got really messy? Does that mean its dysgraphia? I compare his writings from the Summer before he started 1st grade and wrote well just bigger letters and did spacing. Now he wants to write fast and everything looks messy. When he writes slow he writes nice. I am just trying to figure out if this is considered dysgraphia. If you don’t mind telling me what kind of brain exercise you did..maybe some examples before I buy the book? Appreciate it. Thanks so much!

      1. If his handwriting USED to be neat and then it got messy, I would guess that he’s just in more of a hurry to be done writing and to get on to other things. Dysgraphia has to do with certain connections in the brain not being made – so signals aren’t crossing over from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere as easily as they should be. But if that were the case, your son wouldn’t have been able to write neatly before. And if he’s still capable of writing neatly when he slows down then he probably just feels like he has better things to do. Boys don’t normally like to sit still for long periods of time – especially at that age. I hope that helps! 🙂

    3. Geraldine Schmid

      Thank you for this article.
      What I might add is to find projects where they can go after their true passions.
      My kid loves wolves, so she researched found out the biggest issues they had, and wrote a letter to her favorite author if he could write a children’s book about wolves to impact young kids to love wolves. She absolutely loved to do this, as it had meaning.
      Plus she did it with other children. I let my child work together with others over http://www.TheStory-Weavers.com – this is where mine really changed from pushing her to writing to her loving it.

  2. Elizabeth White

    You may have just saved us! Thanks for sharing this. Both my boys have similar struggles with physical writing which makes homeschool a challenge for us. Thanks again.

  3. We just got out of a meeting with our 7 year olds teacher…she is really pushing getting him to write and he hates writing! We have spent hours on spelling homework that could have been done in 10 minutes…tears, tantrums, etc. this is good information! Hopefully we can figure something out over the summer so he is more prepared for 2nd grade!

    1. Some students do better with cursive, however, One of the best spelling techniques is to print (manuscript) each word. Then, do it 2-4 times underneath one another. This way The child can catch his mistake as each letter should be under one another! Cursive writing does not make it easy to catch errors.
      Another way is to break the word up into syllables (or parts that the child says) each on their own line. These may be done next to one another in a vertical manner with space between. End with the correct spelling underneath. Some words like colonel can be broken up in a manner and pronounced so that the child can see all the correct letters even though they are not syllabicated or pronounced that way. Ex. Co-lone-l or col-one-l each on their own line and total word on last line.

    2. If the child does not have to write out his spelling words but only learn them here is a good technique that kids love. Look at the word, say the word, spell the word, say the word again. Then, clap hands twice slap thighs twice (or desk top) stomp feet each one, clap hands twice again.
      For some reason the physical activity helps it stay in the brain. Plus, kids need to move. That’s how they grow. Have fun and don’t forget to smile and laugh. I always let my kids tell jokes before their tests. It releases pent-up energy, the laughter sends good hormones through their body and it relaxes them. If they are taking major tests, ask the teacher if they’re allowed to suck on a peppermint lifesaver. This is proven to excite the brain and help the memory.
      I also did jumping jacks, running in place, hands up and touch toes, any kind of little physical activity to help the circulation and the oxygen to flow in between subjects or the tests.

  4. TY! TY! TY! Our son is 10 and I knew enough to know that his penmanship issues had to be the symptom of something else but basic education degrees don’t cover this sort of thing. And our daughter has Down syndrome so she is, of course, delayed and is truly ambidextrous. Getting anything on paper around here is painful. I feel like a prayer was just answered! Book ordered and I paid an extra $3 to get it here faster.

  5. Hi,

    Thank you for your honesty in being so open about your boys & their writing problems. I have 2 sons, the older of whom I’m currently home-schooling. He’s twice exceptional, identified as Gifted w/ a high IQ & also having ADD (with a lot of the emotional, sensory, physical issues that are part & parcel of this diagnosis)!

    I have learned so much from my son & his challenges with writing. I can share some of my lessons. His pre-school teacher identified him as delayed in fine-motor skills. We tried everything to help him strengthen his little muscles, but it didn’t really work. Fast forward a few yrs (summer between 2nd & 3rd grade), we took him to a Developmental Pediatrician (Melmed Center, AZ) who was so supportive of our decision to medicate or not to medicate! Regardless, she said, he’ll need lots of individualized care, educational objectives & therapies. We walked away armed with a lot of solid recommendations especially resources for educating ourselves to the iceberg that is AD/HD (we only see the top part of it in terms of hyperactivity or impulsivity).

    We found a private Occupational Therapy clinic, specifically Scribbles2Script (AZ) specializing in writing problems (I never even knew that Occupational Therapists had different specialization! Actually, I never even knew what an OT was, lol!). Meagan did an extensive evaluation. It takes about 15 different muscle movements for the physical act of writing to take place. My son was not able to do half of them. Right away, she fitted him for a Pediatric thumb splint, recommended a Slant board (to write on), and gave him some Jumbo pencil grips. Like a sports athelete, when my son donned these items, he was ready to write! As he started on homework that day, he casually comments, “It doesn’t hurt anymore!”. I was beside myself. “So, it used to be physically painful for you write? How come you never told me that… We’ve been having discussions about writing for so many years !!!”

    Meagan explained that usually kids won’t dwell on the physical pain that writing is causing them because they don’t know any different. They assume everyone feels the same pain when writing, or that is what the process of writing entails: physical pain! So, we corrected that wrongful assumption for my son. He was under strict orders to stop writing if he felt physical pain & consult with the OT. We saw the OT for 7 months about 1xwk. She did so many fun & interesting fine-motor excercises with him & gave wkly hmwk to learn & improve & then, finally gain speed in his writing! This time, the excercises worked because they were done under the care of a trained medical professional who paid attention to the issue of physical pain. During the course of therapy, my son (just for fun) started using scissors to make crafts, showed interest in different writing utensils (markers, colored pencils, etc), and became more confident about controlling his butter fingers during everyday household tasks!

    To all those moms whose kid is great with Legos: My biggest question to Megan was, “But this kid spends hours making and breaking his Lego inventions?” to which she replied, “It only takes about 1 of those 15 muscle movements to play with Legos!”.

    I’m so thankful to God for what He taught me & humbled by what I do not know!”

    1. Michelle Caskey

      Wow! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this comment. I think it has to potential to help LOTS of kids. I’m going to go research those 15 muscles right now. 🙂

    2. Hi Amena, where did you get your thumb splint. Can I buy it anywhere? Can you provide the name and type the one your son had? Thank you in advace for your help. Thanks for your input, so helpful. I’m happy I stumbled upon it.

  6. Btw, I’m getting no compensation from companies I mentioned. I’m so grateful to them for their help & guidance & answering my millions of questions with such kindness, I want to mention them!

    Another item that was added to my son’s writing “equipment” was a Pencil weight. This was done for sensory issues. He said he couldn’t really “feel” his pencil, but rather that seemed to be “floating”. The OT was able to understand this from the wavy/ shaky/ trembling lines she saw him making especially with his cursive connections! His explanation came later, after we asked him, “What is your feeling/ sensation while you are writing?”

    My son is now writing without most of his aids. Although, if he writes more than a couple of words (which he still doesn’t really want to– I’ll explain why down below), his hand starts hurting again. Therefore, we keep the equipment ready & nearby in case we need it.

    Another aspect of his treatment at Scribbles2Script was the Vision therapy. Upon assessment with a 2nd OT who specialized in Vision therapy & a Developmental Optometrist, my son’s vision was diagnosed as having choppy tracking, inability for both eyes to work as a team, etc. There had been signs & clues all along including lots of eye rubbing especially after periods of reading, constantly walking in front of the shopping cart whenever we were at the store, etc. I just never knew this was all because of Vision problems. Moms, keep in mind that vision problems do not mean kids need glasses. And they are usually not diagnosed at the regular Eye doctors. In fact, many Opthomologists consider Vision therapy to be bogus or controversial at best. However, more & more research is available to show that it is an effective & superior means of treatment (than surgery or even patching for hours for problem such as cross-eye).

    After all that therapy, spelling homework that should have taken 10 minutes did NOT take hours or produce tears BUT writing was still something my son tried to avoid. My son had made major progress from refusing to picking up a pencil to easily writing words & short (I mean VERY short sentences). I attributes this behavior to anxiety or writing-related trauma for having been made to write all those years when it was physically hurting him. But, was there something more?

    As we said goodbye to Megan & her awesome team of ladies, I was told that my son’s remaining hesitation to write had to do more with his ADD than anything else. His thoughts were firing off faster than he could capture them on paper (kind of like popping popcorn).

    After much trial & error during homeschooling to further work on his writing, I finally got my son an appointment with Speech & Language therapists (Anita Werner’s clinic in AZ). This has been the HUGEST blessing ever! After 4 hours of intensive testing (divided over 2 days), my son was diagnosed with Expressive Language Disorder & Secondary Writing Disorder! I never would have guesses in a million years because this boy can talk a whole lot, be very expressive & precise, and generally communicates pretty well, according to me (his mom). Obviously, I have a biased perspective! My son has started therapy with a Speech & Language Therapist… I’m so excited because it seems that this IS going to deal with the remaining writing difficulties we still are dealing with. The therapist never promised a cure, but said that my son would walk away from working with her with enough strategies, formulas, concepts, practice& problem-solving skills to be able to make his away around & easily navigate through any writing problems !!!

    Believe me, these private companies, pioneering in practice research & treatment, have been life-savers for us! Although we pay lots for them in monetary, time, & mileage value, they are worth the cost in the long-run!

    Moms, please don’t rely exclusively on school personnel as my son was interviewed by both an OT & a Speech Therapist at his public school! Neither one of those therapists, nor the IEP team of professionals found anything of concern in the case of my son. Their main yardstick was his excellent standardized test scores (in Reading & Math, areas in which he naturally excels due to his Giftedness!). All other issues were ignored. It’s sad, but what happened to the 3 R’s = Arithmetic, Reading & WRITING ?!?

    I’ll end this really long post by once again thanking God for all the gifts He has bestowed on my family through His guidance, His resources & His hope!

    1. Michelle Caskey

      I have a nephew who was helped by Vision Therapy… Thanks again for all of the detail. I hope it will help lots of other parents who are struggling to find solutions for their kiddos.

    2. Thank you so much for your candor. You have described my recent experiences. I tried getting the school to help with no avail. Luckily my son’s doctor took my concerns seriously and has made the referrals I am hoping and praying to get answers for my son

  7. I just read the above bullet points to my almost 14 year old son. He was laughing by the end, then said, “Have they been following me around?” The symptoms list described him to a T. We homeschooled for years but by Jr a High he needed more help than I am trained for. Our local, rural jr high/highschool has 100 kids total. We are comfortable with him schooling there, but would love to overcome the problem not just deal with it. I’m going to show this to my husband, and will surely be ordering!

  8. My son is 7 years old he hates so much writing and reading. i dont understand something why he doesnt like to study if i guide him hes sleepong and very slow writing specially his reading the book very slow. he really likes to play like biking, playing his cars. omg please I need your advise what ca I do to make him matured. I make everything but Im sorry Because im not a perfect mom.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      Your son is still very young. He probably wonders why you don’t like to play with cars. 😉 There’s a bunch of advice on my site about teaching boys and meeting them where they’re at. One post you might find particularly helpful would be How to Teach Your Son When He Won’t Sit Still. Hang in there! It will get better. Maturity takes time.

  9. Wow!! This is my son to a T. He also was motor delayed as a younger child and although the pediatrician say he has “caught up” is still all butter fingers and will agonize over a sentence for what seems like forever until he figures out how to capture his thought in the fewest possible words that then get agonizingly set on paper. He has everything on that list except the teenage thing, since he is only 10. We have looked into vision therapy for his older sister, but I never thought it would help a writing issue. We will have to re-evaluate. Thanks for this article!!

    1. Michelle Caskey

      You’re welcome, Melody! I’m glad I could help. FYI – I’ve also got posts about helping to develop gross motor and fine motor skills. If you feel that your son is still struggling (especially with fine motor) that could also be part of his reluctance to write. You may want to have him practice some of these skills as well. 🙂

  10. My three sons are grown but I wish I’d known some of this info when they were young as all three hated to write. The third son took keyboarding in seventh grade to avoid having to write reports etc. but he did go on to become a doctor of medicine (radiologist.) Even my daughter could have benefited from this book so I may order it for her children as they are the right age and my grandson also hates to have to write anything out but can text and use the computer better than I can! Thanks for this information.

    1. It’s so encouraging to hear from people who have gone before and whose children have succeeded in spite of their struggles. Thanks so much for sharing your story!!!

  11. Natalie Tschacher

    After searching on Amazon I did find the manual for $58, but the link above still took me to a page listing it for $200.

  12. Hi there! So you are still seeing improvements in your sons’ handwriting and writing abilities? I am just now starting to see if this is what our son also struggles with. He’s gifted and tests very well, just has terrible. sloppy handwriting, spacing problems, indention problems, trouble lining up math problems, and writes about half of his letters and numbers bottom to top (or in one continuous stroke; doesn’t like to pick up his pencil mid-letter).

    Dianne’s materials are pricey and so I want to make sure I am not self-diagnosing him incorrectly. Talking to my homeschool advisor to make sure I should’t look into getting him professionally evaluated first. But he’s in 5th grade and I don’t want to persist any further. I’m shocked and frustrated that I didn’t realize this was such a big issue until now (we’ve homeschooled since day one). Thanks in advance!

    1. Michelle Caskey

      Awww, your homeschool advisor?!? You’re so sweet. 🙂

      Yes, we really are seeing improvements. Dianne’s techniques helped my boys with their writing – especially forming letters correctly from top to bottom and from left to right – and I believe they also helped one of my sons to become more coordinated with playing basketball as well. My boys still don’t like to physically write stuff down – but it doesn’t seem to be quite as “painful” for them as it used to be. They still prefer typing papers as opposed to writing them down, though. I think that’s from being born in our technological age. They just feel more comfortable behind a keyboard than they do with a pad of paper and a pencil.

      I think that if you compare the cost of Diane’s materials with the cost of a professional evaluation, you’ll find that they’re quite reasonable. Maybe get them now and work with your son from now until fall and then see if you think he still needs to be evaluated or if he’s on the right track. 🙂

    2. For trouble lining up math problems, try using graph paper. (This was even suggested in a major math curriculum for upper elementary, so I wouldn’t worry too much even though he is in 5th grade.) Maybe next year he will be ready to try math without the graph paper. Another thing you could do is have him turn a spiral notebook sideways; then they will have columns to write in.

  13. I just wanted to say something about vision therapy… I can see why it is controversial. We paid over $2400 for about a year of weekly visits (which wasn’t easy for us) and had great hopes that it would help a number of issues, because we were promised this. Personally, I would’ve been thrilled if only a few issues were improved, including the struggles with writing. We went to a facility that came highly recommended, and all the therapists there seemed to be very good at what they do. Their initial evaluation diagnosed my daughter with a slight convergence insufficiency and she needed help with tracking. They convinced me, of course.

    Honestly, I can’t say I see any difference, at all, in anything, after so much effort and time (over a year) put into this therapy.

    Might I advise parents to evaluate more than one possible issue before choosing a therapy route? You will definitely run into multiple diagnoses, because when you go to ANY place to evaluate an issue, they will definitely find reasons why you need their services. But the smart parent will evaluate more than one possible cause, and in being able to see what each therapy offers based on specific need, and (so important) finding out how progress will be determined AND SHOWN regularly, a parent can make a better decision/choice of where to put their time and money.

    With this vision therapy, I never knew what they were really working on… it was always sort of vague, even my daughter had a hard time telling me… prism glasses and such… chasing a dot, placing pegs… and they never had any way to visually show me what specific progress was actually being accomplished. Be wise and careful with your time and money. Parents of children with struggles are already emotionally and financially taxed enough; they don’t need to sign up for time consuming therapies that are costly and show little to zero results. Do lots of research first, and make sure it’s very clear to the therapist (who may be casually promising you so much) that you will be wanting to see measurable results routinely and/or often. If you see a twitch in their eye or they look away – even for a moment – or hum and haw some generic response, keep looking for the right solution.

    1. Good to know, Angela. Wow, that’s a lot of money to spend not to see any difference. That’s another reason I like Dianne Craft’s methods. You do them at home with your child so you know exactly what’s happening and they’re a tiny fraction of the cost!

  14. Can you tell me which publication is best to start with? or do I need both? I have 2 boys that I suspect have dysgraphia (1st grade and 6th). I just finished paying thousands of dollars for vision therapy for my 6th grader with “meh” results. And now my younger son’s teacher is recommending vision therapy too for the same issues.

    Another note, my children are allergic to Milk and Eggs and the other just eggs. Do these books discuss the absence of nutrients contributing to the dysgraphia? I suspect Omega 3’s which their diet (without eggs and seldom eating fish) is lacking or completely void of.
    Thank you!

    1. If you want to start with only one resource, I would start with the Brain Integration Therapy Manual.

      By the way, these resources don’t talk about nutritional deficiencies but Dianne has other resources which do. I wrote a post about that called Is Your Son’s Brain Starving? that you should definitely read!!! She talks about Omega 3’s and the importance of this nutrient – especially for our boys.

      I hope that post helps you as well! It certainly made a difference for my boys.

  15. Hi, I read your article. I have 2 kids, i homeschool with them, and a notice for 2 years that they hate writing. They have 11,and 9 years. I wish i could buy yje dvd, and the manual….but unfortunatly they don t shipp to Romania the country we live. thank you for the article….it really helped me.

  16. thank you so much. i thought i was the problem. that he just don’t like doing homework with me. but most of the symptoms you listed i’ve noticed in my son. now i have a different approach to try.

  17. My bright, homeschooled 9 year old hates to write but he loves to draw! does that mean that hes unlikely to have disgraphia? Thanks Beth.

    1. I think that writing and drawing would be using different sides of his brain, since writing is more analytical and drawing is more creative. But I’m not 100% sure on that. I would contact Dianne Craft and see if she can give you more insights for your son! 🙂

  18. Hi. My 5 yrs old son is non verbal and autistic but he takes instructions very well Can this book help him?

    Thanks
    JT

  19. What a great article. I have a 13 year old daughter with dysgraphia and I was starting to think our 6 year old might also have it as he really struggles with writing and remembering what the letters are and how they are supposed to be written. I will look into these resources. Cheers!

  20. Hi,

    I first noticed my 7 year old son’s trouble with writing when he moved from preschool to grade 1. What was until then limited to just one or two words in preschool suddenly changed to long sentences and paragraphs. This is Indian schooling system which can be quite demanding. Soon my son developed school aversion simply because school meant writing. I had read this blog post earlier too and that helped me discuss the issue with his pediatrician who suggested talking to his teachers. I did that and asked them to be patient with his writing, giving get him more time to finish his work. That has helped.

    However, he still finds something else very difficult: drawing, especially the ones that involve human figures. To make matters worse, my husband and father in law are artists themselves insist that the kid learn to draw. They introduce him to human figures that requires him to maintain certain ratios and proportions for body parts and the kid struggles in achieving it. Its painful for him. I have tried explaining to the husband the kid’s trouble with writing and drawing but in vain.

    What should I do? Is this also symptoms of dysgraphia?

    1. I’m not sure. It may just be that he’s being pushed faster than he is ready. And it’s actually fairly common for boys to dislike sitting still and writing, even if they don’t suffer from dysgraphia.

  21. I cannot thank you enough for this article! After seeing this article, I looked at Dianne’s website and other sites as well, and I believe two of my three children have dysgraphia. My middle child (11) is mixed dominant (right side dominant in everything except writing). He is a smart kid who hates to write! All of his development since preschool makes sense now. He also has always complained about getting hurt (tripping, bumping into things), and I am excited that these exercises might help with his spatial awareness too. I wish I had known this sooner, but am glad I can address it now. My six year old struggles with pencil grip, pressing hard, writing letters from bottom to top, letter reversal, laborious writing, etc. I plan to test him for mixed dominance as well. I will be purchasing Dianne’s DVD and manual and am so relieves to be able to help them. I’m so glad your article popped up in my search!

  22. Hi, I am Karthika from India. My 4 -yr old doesn’t like writing. She asks me to hold her hands while writing alphabets and numbers. She writes 1, 2 and some capital letters. What should i do?

    1. She’s really young and possibly not mature enough to handle writing, yet. You can try to work on her fine motor skills to better prepare her hand muscles and hand-eye coordination for writing. I’ve written a blog post about fine motor skills to give you some ideas.

  23. Hi,

    I am Krithiga from India. My 9 year old daughter brings all her work incomplete from school and even hate to write exams fully. She hardly attend any details Q&A but she knows the answer very well. She understand the lessons excellent as if even in midnight she can answer any Q. ONly problem is writing. I am really worried as she is moving higher classes.Kindly let me know how to handle this.

  24. Wow! Do you think both the manual and the cds are needed ?
    My son was diagnosed by an OT with dysgraphia. We use a home based charter school but apart fro then sending ya some work books we haven’t had a lot of help.

    This sounds hopeful

    1. I purchased both but you may be able to get away with just getting the manual. The DVD pretty much shows kids using the figure 8 technique, which was helpful to me since I wasn’t familiar with it at all. But you may be able to figure it out by watching a YouTube video which shows that part of the process. I hope it helps!!!

  25. My Son is 4years old and he hates writing.he cannot follow the lines. He started reading when he was just 2 years old. Is it normal for his age to be uninterested in writing and colouring?

  26. This is encouraging to read! We are beginning Kindergarten with my five year old, and while she is incredibly bright and has a large vocabulary, I can’t get her to write anything down without a struggle and tears. I’m thinking that maybe she’s still a bit young to have developed the fine motor skills. So, we will work on some different motor skill activities, and do more orally or with stamps. Thanks for sharing this information.

  27. Hello I’m Grace from the Philippines I came across to this blog cause I’m seeking information to help my son. His is 6 years and now in his first grade in elementary. Just like you all said, my son also refuses to write in school. But at home he writes with me and he knows letters too. But I noticed that he somethings write letter differently. I want to purchase the book so i can give him this Therapy. I can you tell me where can i buy this books?

  28. Oh my gosh, I wish I had found this years ago. My 16 year old has always avoided writing. He was tagged as TAG in grade school yet his teachers would get so frustrated when he understood the material but wouldn’t write anything down. He does math in his head but won’t write out the problem work, avoids essays and would rather get a failing grade than do note taking. He isn’t off to a good start in 10th grade with F’s in classes that he should be getting A’s in. Is it too late??

  29. I have just started the figure eights exercises with my son. I have some technical questions about the process– how slowly does he need to go? I remember hearing that too fast will not help the brain, but just HOW slowly does he need to go? It’s taking him forever just to do half of the alphabet in one sitting. Also, I wrote down that we can listen to classical music while we do it — do you know if we can listen to music with words? Or an audio book, or me reading?? I want this to be effective, but also would like to make it less boring than it is :-). Thanks!

  30. My son is six years old, he has difficulties in learning, he knows how to write few letters, but he refuses to do his own homework. yesterday he had a homework to write letter T, he wrote on a scratch paper but he refused to write it on his note book. I spend two and half hours trying to convince him to write it down, but he refused, today morning he told me that there were a girl who beats him in school, I told his school teacher, do you think this is the reason for his refusal?

    1. Oh my goodness! I’m sure that doesn’t help. What did his teacher say? Are they going to do something to protect your son? Sounds like he’s under a lot of stress. So sad! Give him lots of love, hugs, and reassurance and be sure to be his advocate to keep him safe.

  31. Thank you for this article.
    My 6 year old chil stopped writing 2 years ago. He had the misfortune of meeting a JK teacher who had issues with single parents.
    After Children services got involved, I found out he was being dragged to a corner and forced to write apology letters to the teacher for not having his father in his life.
    I never thought these kind of things could happen in 2016.
    It has been two years, but he still thinks of writing as punishment and I don’t know how to help him get out of this mind set. I still can’t run up to him to give him a hug, because he freezes and thinks he is going to get punished. I tried encouraging him with a letter to Santa last year and I could see how stressed he got as soon as the pen touched the paper.

    Any ideas to help him would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Oh my goodness. That’s horrible! Your poor son. I’m so sorry that happened. I hope that the teacher was punished in some way.

      Your idea about writing a letter to Santa is a great one. Does he like sports? If there’s a sports star that he loves, maybe writing a letter to him would be another good idea? Whatever you can think of that will be fun for him – a reward for him. Try to come up with ideas like that. Your son is young but you could try brainstorming ideas with him as well. He probably has great ideas, if he’s able to express them. And you may also want to offer him other rewards that he would enjoy for writing as well. I have a list of reward ideas that might help. Read them to him and ask him what he would like to earn.

  32. Thank you for a well written information about dysgraphia. Our child is a lefty, been holding a pencil since he started practicing his letters. His writing was better when he was younger and each year his writing was getting worst and he was complaining. When I took pictures of him doing his writing from the past 5 yrs years I noticed that in each picture he was holding the pencil with a tight grip. Thankfully I noticed all of the dysgraphia signs. I never heard of it before until my best friend said the name because she had it her whole life. I recently found a different kind of pencil grip on Amazon. It has helped his hand hold the pencil better and it decreased the pain so much. But I knew I needed to do my own research instead of taking him to a OT. I found some good reviews about Diane Craft on different sites including You-Tube. I was impressed how compassionate she is towards others. I recently got the DVD Smart Kids who Hate to Write. I could not believe how much I learned. I have been doing the method with our son and he said he likes it. It has only been a week but hopefully it will help him in 3 mos. Even though I may have to continue for 6 mos. I do not mind because he has been doing the same way of writing for 5 yrs. Doing this method for 6 mos seems reasonable.

  33. My son who is 7 now doesn’t write in class while the teacher dictates or writes on the board. My wife struggles hard to get his class work completed at home. This is happening since from four years of his schooling.No improvements yet. We could see that he understands and grasps the subject but he is least interested in writing.
    Please suggest me simple ways to make him to write and follow teacher’s instructions in the classroom.

    1. I’m sorry, I’m a homeschool mom so I don’t have much advice for kids who are in school beyond what I’ve already talked about in this post. I would suggest talking to his teacher to see what advice she can give to you. 🙂

  34. I have something similar to Ganesh Bhat. My daughter who is 4 now doesn’t write in class while the teacher writes on the board. She writes at home when we work through her homework together. This started only this term in school. Before this term, reluctance to write was not a problem. It’s clear to my wife and I that she understands and grasps the subject but she is least interested in writing at school for the most part.
    Kindly advise, please.

  35. Thank you so much dear for the meaningful sharing. In deed very much helpful for struggling parents like me.
    My girl also doesn’t seem to be enjoying writing. She is in traditional school and she get stressed and pressured to write fast and catch up with work as her peers do better.
    I m trying to help her as much as I can and now definitely your guidance would create better awareness and understanding.
    I m not sure whether she has dysgraphia but definitely she need some support and encouragement to discover her potential in writing.
    thank you so much and keep bringing light to everyone’s darkness.

    1. You’re welcome! Hopefully right now, while most of us are educating at home, you’ll be able to make some accommodations for her so that it isn’t so frustrating for her. You didn’t mention her age. But your understanding of what she’s going through will go a long way toward helping her.

  36. Brianne Toma

    I wanted to like this because $50 therapy book sounded fantastic. And then…I checked Amazon link. $450. Wow. It cost an entire homeschool curriculum for one book. I can’t even.

  37. THANK YOU!! My child is already 14 and has had an aversion to any sort of hand use since they put a paint brush in her hand at preschool. One swipe of paint and she was done. Your article is more helpful than any of her teachers have been. I wish I had started my google search before our long summer started!

    1. You’re welcome, Laura. I’m sorry you and your daughter have had to struggle with this issue for so long… but am glad I’ve been able to use our experience to give you hope and some new ideas. It’s always encouraging to know that we aren’t alone. Take care and don’t give up!

  38. This is exactly what I have been experiencing with my son. He’s very smart and loves learning, but hates school. He can express himself so well and give verbal answers quickly but writing is such a struggle for him and causes a lot of stress and anxiety. He just can’t seem to get his thoughts down on paper. Even copying things down is a struggle (Like from a board or computer screen to paper). I have him scheduled to see an occupational therapist in 2 months but I think the methods you mentioned are worth trying in the meantime. Thanks!

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