Tips for Managing Micrographia

Micrographia, also known as small handwriting, is a sign of Parkinson’s that many caregivers and home health aides. This is because a rather large percentage of Parkinson’s patients will have symptoms that manifest as micrographia. In fact, according to the British Medical Journal, “over 65% of Parkinson’s patients exhibit micrographia.” 

For those looking to manage their small handwriting, there are some tips and tricks to follow. Whether you are a patient, caregiver, or a home health aide, here are a few tips to help Parkinson’s patients manage their micrographia.

1. Practice makes perfect

If you truly want to work on improving your legibility, the best thing you can do is practice! Set a reasonable goal of daily writing that you would like to accomplish. This can be simple: such as transcribing a poem, or copying song lyrics. Try to avoid long passages, as this can lead to fatigue and feelings of stress.

Once you have set your goal, work each day to meet your requirements!

2. Use lined paper

If you find yourself continually crowding your letters, it may be time to use lined paper. Using paper with clear markings is believed to act as a guideline for lettering. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, “using lined paper may provide a ‘visual target’ to keep all letters big when writing.”

3. Use a gripped or weighted pen

A great asset to managing micrographia is the right pen! Just like the lined paper, the right writing instrument can help guide your penmanship. For example, a weighted pen may help stabilize a hand with tremors. A pen that is fitted with a triangular grip can help relax a tense hand. It’s important to check in with your own needs and choose accordingly!

4. Write with intention

When forming letters, try to do so with a deliberate intent. Visual the letter that you want to form, and work to actively match that visual. This may seem excessively redundant, but your intent will help translate into more legible lettering!

5. Take breaks when necessary

When managing micrographia, it’s important to take breaks when necessary. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Be gentle with yourself and rid yourself of the need to ‘push through the pain’. 

If you feel your hands tensing up, it’s time to take a break. You can always try again later that day, and, if not, there is always tomorrow!