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The first writing sample is that of a 9-year-old girl, which was sent in by her grandmother who is also her guardian.

The second sample is that of an academically, socially, and emotionally appropriate 9-year-old female. It is presented for comparison purposes only.

Writing sample #1 is hardly legible, is filled with spelling and grammatical errors, has strokes that are very light and very heavy, and strokes that slant both to the left and to the right. It does not have an even baseline even on lined paper (showing confusion between reality and illusion). It lacks clarity and coordination and suggests that the writer is immature, disorganized, undisciplined, and has difficulty concentrating.

This little girl needs some help and the sooner she gets it the better. Fortunately, all public schools are required to provide the kind of assistance this child needs.

I would recommend that the grandmother, after speaking with the child’s teacher, go to the principal or school social worker and request (demand, if necessary) a full case study.

The full case study is an educational evaluation by school personnel. It examines a child academically, socially, behaviorally, emotionally, and also looks into medical issues such as vision, hearing, speech, and medical history.

Even if it is determined that this child does not qualify for a special education placement, she certainly could benefit from some available services such as counseling, social work, tutoring, speech, occupational or physical therapy.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and this little girl is obviously in need of some extraordinary assistance.

I am constantly reminded of how lucky we are to have grandparents who are willing to step in and care for kids when the parents are unable or unwilling to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Submit your writing

To have your handwriting analyzed, send a sample to: James Murray, Wednesday Journal, 141 S. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL 60302.