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Ataxia Support Network

Handwriting problems

#1

Does anyone else have problems with handwriting? My problem is not with motor skills as I can still crochet and do other things as I always have, but about the time my balance got really bad I realized I couldn't write. I can write only by laboriously drawing each letter & then it look like a little child did it. Printing is not any better. My speech is minimally affected, I seem to slur my speech somewhat when I am very tired, but I think these writing problem is somehow speech related.

anyone else have experience like this or insight into it? For a while I took a elementary school book on handwriting and practiced everyday. I think this helped some, but not sure..

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#2

Hi granny-I need to concentrate on pretty much everything now, including writing.

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#3

Yes, I have problems too with writing but hadn’t associated it with the slurred speech. I was advised to use a weighted pen. Haven’t tried it yet but it may help. I too am OK with knitting etc. thank goodness. I think practising your writing must be good. The hardest thing for me is actually signing my name, because of all the s’es and e’es!

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#4

Hi

I find handwriting difficult and also quite tiring as I tend to press to hard which makes my muscles ache.

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#5

My handwriting used to be quite small and neat but now it’s messy most of the time and sometimes I find it difficult to read my own writing. I make lots of mistakes in spelling now also. Thankfully we don’t have to hand write here but then my typing skills aren’t what they used to be either.

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#6

I used to have beautiful handwriting but as you, mine is messy and sometimes illegible. Thank god for computers otherwise I would be out of a job.

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#7

Hi,

I have problems with my hand writing too. I almost always print in capitals as any thing else I try is usually unreadable! I can manage short 'post it' notes to myself and use them to 'jog' my memory. If I have a form to fill in, I try to get an editable .pdf version from online so I can type in the answers then print the form and if there is no online version, I get someone else to fill in the form for me!

I have sand filled wrist weights that do help if my hands / arms a shaking when trying to write (as they often and mostly do) but they are a bit awkward to carry around so I keep them on my desk and only use them at home. If I need to sign something or do (short) writing while out and about, I usually have to steady my writing hand by clasping the wrist of that hand with my other hand.

Though I have never been truly ambidextrous, there was a time that I could write really well with my right hand and reasonably well with my left. I even had a bit of a 'party trick' where I would write backwards! Now, I cannot so much as scribble with my left hand, my right hand produces writing that is worse than when I was a child learning how to write and is barely legible. The 'party trick' is definately no more.

Having use of computers is a real help as I can still type my communications. My typing speed has changed from a recorded typerate of 25wpm (I got a certificate for it) and unrecorded 50wpm plus to 25 words - eventually! I make lots of mistakes typing too - especially when my brain clearly registers a particular key press but my fingers seem to take on a mind of there own. Also, I cannot type for long due to getting pain in my hands, arms and shoulders and have to take breaks - I also have very bad lower back pain and sitting typing for a while only makes that worse.

I know my motor skills are affected - my neurologist has observed and noted this. On a practical note regarding motor skills; I used to eleviate bordom with a hobby of papercrafting that included some origami but was mainly model making where I would design a model on the computer (rarely) or download a model, print out the model, cut the various model shapes out then shape and paste the parts togehter. As can be imagined, such models required much coordination and use of fine motor skill. Sadly, due to the problems with my hands, I rarely even attempt such papercraft now and when I do, I can very easily get frustrated with the fine(r) work required and feel like just giving up because of the various pains I get sitting for a while.

I have not totally given up on writing (or papercraft), I have just had to re-evaluate my capabilities and adjust accordingly. I usually stay positive about my abilities too and stick to the idea (some might say mantra others might say cliché) that "It's not what I cannot do but what I can do that matters".

Edited to correct mistakes an put in things I missed out!

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#8

My problem always has been that i can hardly read again what i have written down. It would be better to write in big letters, one of my chiefnesses in attorney offices told my. She herself wrote in really big letters, with 6 lines on one page. I was not successful in changing my writing.. Another time i met a young lawyer in a course who really wrote only 2 or 3 lines per page. It was perhaps a psychological problem with his handwriting (not being able to read it again later if the letters would be not so big, a problem with giving the right form to his letters, a problem with fine motorics). Nobody should be ashamed of writing in such big letters. But when the writing is too slow it lasts so long, and so it s a big problem for thos with motoric impaiments.

Akita

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#9

Edited to correct mistakes an put in things I missed out!

-- with me it s the same, but it s only possible for me to do this when i am writing with my notebook. When i do such mistakes with my handwriting, i have to stop it and try to do it another day. But this is still seldom.. rare situation, when i am nervous.

Akita

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#10



Akita said:

Edited to correct mistakes an put in things I missed out!

-- with me it s the same, but it s only possible for me to do this when i am writing with my notebook. When i do such mistakes with my handwriting, i have to stop it and try to do it another day. But this is still seldom.. rare situation, when i am nervous.

Akita

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#11

Joan, I don't see your response.

Joan Mawson said:



Akita said:

Edited to correct mistakes an put in things I missed out!

-- with me it s the same, but it s only possible for me to do this when i am writing with my notebook. When i do such mistakes with my handwriting, i have to stop it and try to do it another day. But this is still seldom.. rare situation, when i am nervous.

Akita

--

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#12

Yes, my handwriting is bad! Printing is a bit better. I seem to hold onto my pen REALLY TIGHT to have any control...,it's exhausting! I find that using a felt tipped pen helps the most, as I've tried numerous kinds of pens (I should buy stock in pen companies, considering...,ha!) I used to have nice handwriting/printing, but no more! My dexterity and fine-motor skills have been affected by ataxia. I've noticed difficulty with cutting up food and I drop things constantly. I also type on my pc primarily my index fingers. It just takes me much longer to do anything, whether I'm folding clothes or cooking a meal. Yes, I also have balance, gait, speech and swallowing problems, so why not dexterity trouble too? I attribute all of it to the nerve pathways that control the muscles. Because the nerve "signals" don't work properly, the muscles get tight and cause all the problems people with ataxia have. Hence 'incoordination"..., ;o)

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#13

Thank you all for your input. Not being able to write( or read what I have written)is one of my biggest frustrations. So often I want to jot something down or make a list or send a card to someone and realize I can't. I really have to work at my signature and considered making it a shorter form, The neurologist would not even address this issue. GP told me the practice was all a therapist could have me do.

This neurologist suggested I might need to go to Houston "for a 2nd opinion" Hubby says I might need to go to Houston for a 1st opinion. But I have learned on this site that no one in the medical field seems to know much about Ataxia from experience. My girls suggested getting me some electronic something that would help me with list making etc--and see the need for a printer at home as well as at our store. Now, I type something on the laptop and have to wait until I am at the store to print it. I like the idea of filling out forms on=line then printing them.

Thanks again! It helps to know that this is truly "a part of it all"

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#14

(@granny h

for me a printer is very important. When you buy a second hand inkjet printer this could be not so expensive when you refill the ink cartridges privately. I have bought 1000ml of black ink to refill my black ink cartridges . (a set with blue-red-yellow is also necessary for refilling the other cartridge. As i dont need the colours often, this is also affordable, but the handwork is not for everybody, i don t like it). Akita)

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#15

I like what your husband said...,ha! Seriously though, this all comes with the territory of having ataxia. Seems we all share a common thread with this "problem", unfortunately! ;o)

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#16

This worked somewhat for me- find the heaviest pen you can and DRAW the letters! The idea is to take your time - I cannot write as quickly as before my Cerabellar Ataxia attacked.

I have also discovered recently that using a stylist on my iPad vs using the keyboard on my laptop has resulted in fewer errors and more speed!

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#17

Thanks for the advice Debus! Like I said before, I've tried numerous pens, but not specifically heavy ones. I've noticed felt tip pens are helpful for me, although they tend to "leak" through the paper. I do a bit better with printing than writing. Oh well, anything to write/print, right? Also, you're printer idea is helpful Akita! The more idea's, the better! Thanks to all! ;o)

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#18

You know I think that is a great idea to get a handwritting book to practice. I help my Grandkids do their letters so that makes lots of since to me! I have a few downstairs too! But for some reason I never thought to do exercises in their books for me. :0) Duh right? :0) Thanks!

I practice witting everyday just freehand, but I have to focus on being slow and really be in the moment to think about what I'm doing. I think that helps me. I notice when I don't do it everyday I get a little slower. So I'm actually afraid not to type daily. Gotta keep it up! :0)

Typing on the computer helps me! I see it as exercising my fingers and my hands everyday! I don't type quite as fast as I used to. I've slowed way down but I can still type and not look at the keys when I do, so to me that's something. :0)

But I used to do everything so fast I see it as just having to slow things down now. I had many years of abusing myself. New chapter right? :0)

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#19

If you don't use it, you lose it, right Jeannie? ;o)

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#20

Yes, I'll say. That works for me! :0)

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