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Anyone have trouble writing by hand?

Discussion in 'Home adaptations, mobility and personal care' started by Kitty, Feb 23, 2020.

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  1. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    At Christmas, a friend with ME was talking about how much she struggles to write these days. A couple of weeks ago I bought her a fountain pen as a birthday gift, and she called this morning to say she was really surprised by how much easier it is to use.

    You don't have to grip a fountain pen nearly so hard as a ballpoint, so it doesn't tire your muscles out so quickly. I have dyspraxia, and have had to use them since I was at school – I can barely manage a sentence with any other kind of pen.

    Obviously it won't work for everyone, but I thought I'd pass it on in case it's useful. I use the Lamy plastic ones, which are cheap but still write smoothly. Ink cartridges are expensive, but you can re-use the same one dozens of times over by washing it out and using a syringe and a blunt needle to refill it!
     
    mango, erin, Amw66 and 18 others like this.
  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, I have problems writing by hand.

    I find a thicker pen much easier to use. Unfortunately, I have a habit of breaking the nibs on fountain pens :(. IM has banned me from using his in the past.

    Sooner or later my writing becomes fairly illegible no matter what I use!
     
    erin, alktipping, ahimsa and 8 others like this.
  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, and the worse my ME has got, the more I struggle with handwriting. Now it's not just the muscles needed to press on the paper that are the problem, fine control is getting worse too, so my handwriting looks worse.

    Also discussed on this thread and this thread.
     
    Hutan, erin, Sarah Restieaux and 12 others like this.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm not sure I could press hard enough to do that these days! :laugh:

    I have a fat pen with an angled barrel, so I barely need to grip it all, and it slides over good quality paper with almost no resistance. I still struggle to write, of course – I'd need at least five lengthy breaks to fill an A4 sheet – but it's not painful afterwards.

    It's much, much more difficult to find good writing paper than it is to find a pen that suits you. Those traditional little Basildon Bond-type pads are no good for anything but shopping lists, as my writing's too big! I suppose too few people use writing paper to make manufacturing viable; even those who do write by hand use a ballpoint or similar, which needs a different surface to a fountain pen. :(
     
  5. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've had an intermittent problem for years with writing, that is getting worse the older I get and the less practice I have at it. (I have very little reason to write these days.) I can start writing and suddenly I'll lose control of my arm and hand and I will just scribble. If you imagine trying to write in the middle of a myoclonic jerk or a random muscle spasm, you'd probably get a fairly accurate idea of what happens.

    This jerking or loss of control never happens when I'm typing on a keyboard.

    Edit : Grammar
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  6. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes - I have worsened ability to write in the last year or two, maybe longer. It has become so small as to be illegible at times.

    Really frustrating. I won an award for my handwriting at school!

    Going to check the other threads...
     
    Rosie, erin, alktipping and 8 others like this.
  7. Sid

    Sid Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, and the problem is worsening. I can't tell if it's due to ME or the fact that I haven't done any writing in so many years due to doing everything on the computer. When a new bank card arrived I realised I couldn't quite remember how to sign my name.
     
    Rosie, erin, alktipping and 7 others like this.
  8. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah. I have had this happen at a keyboard .... Well, it happens more frequently with my right arm & I am right handed so it happens with a mouse.

    Touchscreen keyboard's aren't so bad as I usually just use 2 fingers, though I am a lot less accurate than with a "real" keyboard. Using a real keyboard is a nightmare on the hands though. Fingers and the back of the hands really, really hurt.

    Using a pen will trigger pain too, though if the pen is the right size for me I will get away with it for a little longer. The "goldilocks" pen - not too thin, or too thick etc.
     
  9. shak8

    shak8 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have the right pen (a G-2 gel pen 0.7mm nub), but my problem is my focus.

    I start writing a word and the second letter or a later letter is wrong, a brain fart.

    Also, because of studying two languages roughly at the same time and not mastering either, I "code switch" and as a result, I can't spell English words having one or two consonants (l,r, s).

    It's usually either the French double consonants or the single Spanish ones (or vice versa)--and the English spelling is not retrievable, though I used to pride mysef on near-perfectness.

    I wish we'd all just learn Spanish. the spelling is hell of logical.

    I think my brain has decided to handwrite in Spanish because it needs simplicity and seems like a good option. But typing is different beause I'm not set up for those accents marks (learning the foreign keyboard).
     
    Rosie, erin, Amw66 and 8 others like this.
  10. dangermouse

    dangermouse Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I’ve had problems with writing for many years. I find it really embarrassing at times.
     
    Rosie, erin, shak8 and 9 others like this.
  11. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Me too. I won a ballpoint pen and a certificate. The competition was run by or sponsored by the pen company Platignum. The pen never worked! I think I still have the certificate in the loft somewhere.
     
  12. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That sounds very similar to what I got. Maybe we're of similar age?
     
  13. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Swots ;).

    I got into no end of trouble over handwriting. My parents moved house and I had to switch to a new school. Although I was fine academically, they decided my handwriting needed urgent attention. So, as an 8 year old, on top of all my usual homework I got several hours worth of copying out text to practice my writing on the first weekend. I did about half an hour of it, was getting a cramp in my hand and was terminally bored. I'd had enough and flat out refused to do any more copying out. The drama.

    A stubborn cuss, I was in a world of trouble with my parents and my teachers. That made me dig my heels in even more!

    It was legible, though. Usually. Before I got ME.
     
    ladycatlover, MeSci, Kitty and 6 others like this.
  14. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I had terrible trouble in the early stages of handwriting too, but for different reasons.

    Back in my day (says the old, old woman) we used horrible scratchy pens which you dipped into ink wells. Being left handed made them pretty impossible to use, as a left hander pushes the pen across the page rather than dragging it, if that makes sense. Cue holes in paper, ink splatters, smudged writing as the hand immediately followed over what I'd just written. And we weren't allowed to start using a fountain pen until we had 3 A's in a row for our weekly best handwriting exercise (age about 10). Needless to say I was stuck struggling with the horrible scratchy nibs for ages.

    I by secondary school I eventually figured out my own way of writing with ink without smudging and was quite proud of my neat handwriting with a fountain pen. Not any more!
     
  15. MerryB

    MerryB Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, I used to struggle with both pen grip and writing the letters in the wrong order due to cognitive problems. I'm not dyslexic - this problem only started after I got ME.

    Now my cognitive problems have improved I don't mix my letters up as much, but I still struggle to hold a pen so my writing is messy and I drop the pen a lot. I think this is due to muscle fatigue and periods of muscle weakness.

    It fluctuates. Some days I can write a relatively neat sentence, and others it's a scrawly mess and the pen keeps flipping out of my hand.
     
    Rosie, ladycatlover, MeSci and 4 others like this.
  16. MerryB

    MerryB Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I feel your pain, as a fellow lefty.
     
    ladycatlover, MeSci, Kitty and 2 others like this.
  17. Wits_End

    Wits_End Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't know whether they still make them, but somewhere I have a rubbery/plasticky "triangular cylinder" is the best way I can describe it, which fits over normal-thickness pens and pencils to make them easier to grasp. It used to belong to my mum, who had arthritis or something similar in her fingers and couldn't grip a pen easily.
     
    Rosie, ladycatlover, MeSci and 5 others like this.
  18. Sarah94

    Sarah94 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  19. Kitty

    Kitty Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    People think I started school in the 1760s rather than the 1960s when I tell them we learnt to write on little green slates! We had them all the way through infant school, then graduated onto absurdly long tapered ballpoint pens in junior school.

    I changed schools halfway through the juniors. The previous one didn't allow children to start doing joined-up writing until they went to secondary school; the new one had taught the skill by the time I arrived in J3, so I never learned to do it properly. They also had Victorian desks with inkwells in a tiered classroom, and we used Platignum dip pens (also absurdly long).

    Secondary school allowed cartridge pens, but few of us could afford them; we mostly used fountain pens that you filled up by using a bar on the side to squeeze the rubber ink bladder, and everyone carried a bottle of ink in their school bag. What could possibly go wrong there! There was a fashion for using turquoise ink in the lower forms at secondary, although only amongst the girls.

    My writing has always looked nice, but is hard to read due to the fact that 70% of it is joined up but still uses the letter forms of handwritten print. M, N, U, and W are pretty much the same (just up-and-down zigzag lines), and since I got hand arthritis letters like T no longer extend above the x line and are indistinguishable from undotted Is. If I take regular breaks and put the effort in, it can look really quite stylish – it never gets any more legible, though! :laugh:


    *Edited to change 'hard' to 'hand'.
     
  20. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Snap! I don't recall the scratchiness, but I know we used ink wells. Fountain pens were either not allowed or rare - can't remember which.
     

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