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"What Does That Say?!?" My Life with ADHD and Bad Handwriting

Illegible bad handwriting, and even the learning disability dysgraphia, are particularly common in people with ADHD. Here’s how I wrote my own ticket to clarity despite my poor penmanship.

7 Comments: "What Does That Say?!?" My Life with ADHD and Bad Handwriting

  1. One thing I learned is that it frequently goes along with another set of symptoms that are related to this that are grouped under the heading of “cluttering” It affects not just the cursive handwriting but also speech and typing. It is also caused by the speeds not matching up and having too many ideas trying to escape all at once, without a traffic cop to handle the flow. This article had good examples of it. . I find that printing works better than cursive….that a smooth flowing gel pen helps keep the writing to keep up with the thoughts…and that sometimes just picturing a policeman directing the flow of a conversation can help me get the words out in a sane speed and focussed direction. So many of my friends and their children who have ADHD also have the cluttering issues, I thought it might be useful to share the info here.

  2. I have ADHD and have always had good writing, if a bit on the large size. My ADHD son has beautiful handwriting, too. My daughter, however, has Dyspraxia, and had a 504 in school because of the Dysgraphia component. In her case, it’s not that the brain is working too fast, it’s that the brain is working normally, but there is a delay in transmission of nerve impulses that causes her to have poor fine motor skills. She can draw beautifully, but ‘drawing’ her letters is much slower than ‘writing’ her letters, so her handwriting, even in college, looks like that of a 3rd grader. Words just don’t flow smoothly from her hand. For than matter, they don’t flow from her mouth, either. She often has to stop, regroup, and start a sentence over.

    If you have other problems, such as with speaking, depth perception, or being “clumsy” (tripping over yourself, not holding tightly enough to an object, etc.), it may not be the ADHD.

  3. I’m a male who has ADHD and I always had very good handwriting. I wanted to have good handwriting, so I made an effort. I practiced. Maybe I’m an exception.

  4. My sister gave me the best advice ever when I was about 30. After a lifetime of struggle ahe suggested “just print, forget cursive existed”

    At least my writing became legible. The criticisms now are “why do you write like Everything Has To Be Designer”. It’s still idiosyncratuc and keeping to the lines is optional. But hey! Progress!!

    After being the last kid in 3rd Grade restricted to pencil, I’m studying Japanese Calligraphy in my 50s. Hyper-focus, Own style and Ideographs! All ok!

  5. Reading this article is a constant reminder of why I stopped writing in cursive. My penmanship has always been a struggle for a significant amount of time. I was not only diagnosed with ADHD, but also with cognitive learning disabilities that are comorbid: a combination of dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyslexia. It’s also another reason why I stopped using paper planners.

  6. As I read this, while I put off writing thank you notes, and am feeling bad about my handwriting, I realized that I have no idea what I did with my pen. Sigh.

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