Expert Strategies for Struggling Writers, with Dr. Susan Baum

Does your child dread writing or struggle to get thoughts on paper? If so, you are not alone!

For many bright kids, writing can be a frustrating task that can lead to stress, procrastination or even shut down. What's a parent to do?

Listen as Dr. Susan Baum, co-author of To be Gifted & Learning Disabled, shares strategies to help kids communicate their ideas while building positive experiences around writing and "authoring."



Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing this vlog? Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. Margharitha on April 10, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Thank you for this. This takes away a lot of stress. The focus on writing slowed down the thinking process. And resulted in a lot of anxious feelings and frustration. Brilliant, the suggestion to use voice-to-text-apps. Why didn’t I think of it myself?!

  2. Erin on April 10, 2021 at 11:17 am

    We are struggling in first grade writing. My child is so verbal and has a fabulous vocabulary. She narrates her own play beautifully. And yet, her writing assignments cause stress, frustration, and anger. She missed half of kindergarten last year, and it just doesn’t come easy yet. As a writer and academic, this has been so hard for me to watch her go through. Thank you for this encouragement.

  3. Judy Thompson-Froess on April 10, 2021 at 11:20 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with this advice. In fact when my son was 7 we used an Adobe business app to copy worksheets into his IPad so he could type on them. It wasn’t the content he wasn’t capable of but the expected method of writing that held him back. He had Hyperlexia – reading at 2-3 years old. An amazing speller, but didn’t have the fine motor skills for writing.
    Having said all that, he is minimally speaking, he has used an aac app on his phone to speak. But putting complete thoughts, stories, essays together is still a major problem. He has great research skills, he has done amazing in grammar classes and chooses them when he can (he understands the concepts of grammar). he can put together a killer outline- bullet point key ideas, events ect. But cannot at 17 sequence words for sentences, paragraphs, ect.
    Any suggestions for this issue?
    Thank you,
    Judy Thompson-Froess

    • Kimberly Nielson on April 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm

      This is my hyperlexia 9 year old too! He loves grammar! He has been correcting grammar and spelling since he was 3! He can’t formulate his own thoughts and opinions on subjects. These assignments will stop his limited writing abilities so fast. He just freezes, until I can talk him through and give him a few examples. But I know I can’t always be there to help him. So I would also like to know more on how to help specifically in this way.

  4. Annelie on April 10, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    I love the way you shift the focus. What you point out in another talk came back to me: “We get caught up in all these little details that really are not about conceptual learning, they’re really about things that we think help learning and they may or may not.” Voki sounds fun. I’ll have my son try it in the morning with the written problems in his math homework.

  5. Amanda on April 10, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    We struggle with authoring – not with handwriting, but with total blocks sometimes when something has to be composed, even though there’s an extraordinarily high grasp of language. What should we be looking at when it’s still an issue even if handwriting is not involved?

  6. Kathleen on April 10, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you for this. We are struggling with this with our second grader, (but we also had the same problem in first grade). We discovered through remote learning this year that my child does much better with Word’s speech to text function. I set it up in a bright colored font and large size so as she dictates, she can easily see her words on screen. Then she can just copy what’s onscreen. Her teacher has been working with us to help her, too, which has been good. She also recommended us writing what she dictates.

    She also gets paralysis when things are too open-ended; she does much better if you give her some boundaries to work within. A certain amount of sentences, a certain amount of words in each sentence, a list of words to choose from (like vocabulary words). Her teacher sent us the topic of their next writing project ahead of time so we can work with her and prepare some of these boundaries with her, so she’ll be ready to jump in with the class on Monday.

  7. Willa on April 11, 2021 at 1:00 am

    I’ve just looked at this again – Debbie and Susan THANK YOU. This is just so reassuring as we kept putting writing of as it is clear our son’s brain and muscles was just not ready yet. Now at age 12, he is ready, but we are in a process of trying to figure out the best method forward, as we do not want to cause tears nor break down the confidence he has in WHO he is. I am reminded that there is no RUSH, baby steps. And if the writing is never perfect it is okay – as long as he can sign his name and do the basic stuff he might have to as an adult, as long as he can reason and ket those amazing thoughts of his out into the world, no matter how – that is what counts!

    I’ve heard this talk as part of a longer interview between the two of you, but THIS was really needed RIGHT now for me and I am SO SHARING, as so many need to HEAR this NOW for different reasons.

    THANK YOU!!!

  8. Yanli on April 11, 2021 at 5:58 am

    Thanks for the great tip, we’ll focus more on encourage him talk it out. My 4th grader struggle with descriptive essay, organize his thoughts or authoring. He has diagnose of Asperger, high IQ he understands everything in a mathematical way.
    Is there an tip, App, software help organize thoughts/authoring?

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