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4.6 out of 5 stars38
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 May 2012
I am a parent of a 6 year old child who has a dyspraxia and aspergers diagnosis as well as having a background in working with children with special needs and I can see why the reviews for this book are mixed.

This is an excellent insightful book that will open your eyes as to the "Why's" and "what to do about" why children who are dyspraxic or ASD have such terrible difficulties with handwriting as well as steering you towards the correct path in providing remedial help.
It is best suited to people who have some background in working creatively with children with additional needs or to a parent that is happy to take on the task of helping their child with their writing on an "every- day little and often basis". It provides some very insightful and helpful explanations as to how to develop pro-prioceptive skills and muscle memory, which are the building blocks of fluent and rythmical handwriting and also for essential skills such as copying from boards in secondary school.

If you are a concerned parent who wants "a quick fix" then as per one other review, this is not the book for you- look elsewhere for the many mass produced books that provide worksheets and dot to dot templates of letters.

BUT, be prepared to consider whether your expectations are realistic. If your child is at key stage 2 or beyond and really struggling with the speed and fluency of handwriting, and you really want to help, you are going to need to delve a little deeper into working out WHY its so difficult for them and THEN work creatively to rebuild the necessary skill chains. This book shows you how.

My personal experience is that children who really struggle with handwriting will gain little from pre-made dot to dot worksheets because they do not have suffient muscle memory and are too reliant on the visual sense.- Dot to dots do little to develop muscle memory, particulalry when the child just gets on with the task of joining the dots in any direction they fancy because thats the fastest way of getting a difficult and unpleasant task over and done with.
By contrast this book explains exercises that develop that muscle memory such as practising pencil patterns blind folded and using both arms simultaneously with a board at 90 degrees which the OT tells me is excellent for developing writing stamina too. It has some illustrations in it to depict position which are helpful.

I am very grateful to Lois Addy for writing this book because it has made it possible for OT designed exercises to help with a big problem for my child. I live in an area where the waiting list to see a paediatric OT on the NHS is over a year and private OT sessions would be costing £45 per session so at less than £20 this represents excellent value for money. It tells me what to look out for, what to do and arms me with ideas about how to go about it.

The only other thing I would say that would give it 5 stars is that it could do with a list of ideas of how to make the tasks more fun and varied as I have had to brainstorm that myself to motivate my child- non- mess tools such as ready loaded paintbrushes ( berol do them) different papers, glitter pens and so on make it more fun and varied.
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on 1 December 2004
The book is informative, easy to read and use, reasonably priced and has photocopiable pages (ideal for small group work). It combines a number of known ideas, occupational therapy exercises, resistance exercises with multi-sensory music and movement into a short and effective programme. I used it with an 8 year old who could only manage mixed sized print and now he can write using cursive writing. He still does the exercises to build muscle memory and strength. It is not the neatest writing but its legible and he is very proud of it, and that is what counts. There has to be some student co-operation to ensure the exercises are completed daily and this is what shortens the overall time the programme takes to be effective.
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on 14 October 2012
First to say this book is not a quick fix, it takes a real investment of time, however in my experience it is well worth it. We are half way through the program and so far my son's writing has become more consistent in size, space wise, pressure and cursiveness. We have been working on his writing for many years and this has helped us to turn a corner. You do need to buy a fair bit of stuff, some of which you only use once, double sided blackboard, chalk, lots of big paper, different lead pencils, a light up pen, marker pens, paint, paintbrushes, gel pens, roller ball pens, a bandage.
The book works on developing muscle memory and helps children to feel their writing flowing. Time wise you need at least 1 big session (1 hour) a week plus 10 minutes daily to practice.
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on 26 February 2014
I was looking to buy a new copy of Write from the Start when I found this. I am a Teaching Assistant working in Years 5 & 6 and this is much more relevant to the needs of the children that I am working with, there is a big emphasis on gross motor and the boys (yes boys) really enjoy the exercises the results speak for them selves.
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on 5 September 2007
I was lent this book on recommendation and I spent the Summer hols doing it with my 10 year old son. You do need to purchase a number of specialist items (e.g. double-sided blackboard) and you need commitment from the child (a pre-selected prize was very motivational). The emphasis is on fun, with plenty of activities and exercises but effort is required. The improvements are measurable and significant. My son is very pleased with the outcome and like the other reviewer, continues with the warm-up exercises daily.
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on 15 March 2009
Speed Up!: a Kinaesthetic Programme to Develop Fluent Handwriting
A very good system and not extortionate to start up. Am currently in the process of setting up this programme in the secondary school I work at as a teaching assistant. Showed it to my SENCo and she has given the go ahead providing I can work within a budget, which I should be able to do. I currently teach handwriting classes and think this method will be a very positive improvement on the current system I am using.
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on 4 June 2011
This was recommended by Occupational Therapy as a short course to improve pupils' handwriting. Now half-way through this and the children love it. They are beginning to realise how your arm and hand muscles work when writing as well as thinking about patterns and shape. All are delighted to tell other pupils, staff and parents about the course. They especially like the fact that no writing of letters or words appears until Week 5!
Words of caution; a lot of equipment is needed. This is really something for a small group of children in school.
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on 19 June 2015
I don't usually write reviews, but I thought I'd quote you from my sons recent Specialist Teaching report:
"....has shown clear progress with his handwriting - demonstrating a fluent joined script - well done!"
Between the last report and this one we did 'Speed Up!' at home.
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on 21 December 2013
Have had great success using this book in my school. Handwriting has really improved and we are seeing pupils with greater core strength and wonderful confidence. Great value too!
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on 7 January 2011
I was introduced to this book by a student's mother and have been impressed by the programme and contents. Simple and easy to apply techniques which help the student focus on a skill that we all need. Beware though, some schools or teachers don't agree with the style of support, so you may have to keep quiet about the source of the success your child has!
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