This is so true with my son. He's always had problems with handwriting and has had occupational therapy (through the school system) to address problems with both fine and gross motor skills for years now. I can only imagine the frustration he goes through as he has tried to do school work with pen and paper all day.
Only now, through the START program, have (and my team) figured out that his refusal to do school work might be associated with the difficulty he has with handwriting. The two pictures seen above show two possible ways to address handwriting difficulty (besides Occupational therapy--but speaking of that... here is a list of hand strengthening activities).
The first is the P-Touch, a label maker, and the second is a y-shaped pen (that my son hasn't tried yet) which supports the hand better. Both of these can be purchased at an office supply store such as Staples or Office Max for around $30 U.S. With the P-touch, one can type in answers in response to a question on a worksheet, hit print, peel off the back to uncover the adhesive and then apply the sticker to the sheet.
All the teams participating in START received a P-touch after turning in an Action Plan at the end of the two day Module on Educational Strategies. (An action plan is a document consisting of proactive strategies designed to help the student. We have to complete one for every module.)My son's teacher took the P-touch into school.
To be honest, the initial success with the device was modest. His teacher, the wonderful Mrs. S., reported that C1 loved the device and that did use it to complete some work. However, she also said he was still refusing to do work in small group settings and was using the P-touch to type in "no," as in he wasn't going to cooperate!
So the P-touch isn't going to be 100 percent of our solution, although it certainly does help, especially now that my son know understands what he should and should not do in terms of using the device. I'd highly recommend that any team who has a child with autism who struggles with handwriting or compliance to do work, to at least try this device or one similar to it.
Note: My son is doing better with compliance to do work. As of now, he is doing great in the special education room, but has suddenly decided he isn't going to work in his regular fourth grade classroom (which hasn't been a problem before). So compliance still remains to be a problem that must be addressed. This is an issue that cannot be solved over night, but with patience and the persist ant use of the correct educational struggles, I believe this issue can be overcome.