Micrographia or small handwriting is the term used to describe changes in writing often seen with Parkinson's disease. Some people notice a change in handwriting many years before diagnosis highlighting the fact that this can one of the more subtle earlier movement problems seen in this condition.
Writing is small, cramped and loses the fluidity needed especially when writing in cursive (style in which each letter flows iinto the next.) The more a person with Parkinson's writes the smaller it gets. Writing may take longer, muscle tightness, cramping or tremor can also interfere. Practice can help just like all movements in Parkinson's.
- Experiment with different pens as you might find different shape, weight and type of ink change your writing.
- See an occupational therapist that has training as a hand specialist for tailored therapy.
- Talk to to your doctor about medicine or other therapies especially if you notice tremor, cramping or dystonia impacts writing.
- Practice making big exaggerated pen movements. Use paper with lines that have large spaces and try to fill in the space while writing.
- Give your self plenty of time for writing and use strategies to reduce the stress. For instance, simply telling the cashier at check out that signing a check will take a little longer can help reduce the stress that comes when trying to rush the task.
- Computer keyboarding, dictation and voice activated software such as Dragon Speak(TM) can help when your writing gets difficult. An occupational therapist can review these options with you.
Author: Monique Giroux, MD
Copyright 2011 Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Wellness Center