Struggles with Handwriting
Does Your Child Have Messy Handwriting and Does it Really Matter in Today’s Digital World?
There has been some discussion recently about the viability and necessity of learning penmanship skills. Yet research shows that writing by hand engages the brain and is a vital component of literacy. Since handwritten testing throughout the school system is unlikely to change any time soon, learning to write quickly and clearly is an important means to an end. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, the emphasis and expectations placed on classroom note-taking and expository writing in grades K–5 is greater than ever.
Why Kids Need to Learn Handwriting
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects written expression. It is a neurological disorder that generally appears when children are first learning to write. Dysgraphia appears as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper.
If your child is experiencing any of the difficulties listed below, a handwriting assessment by one of our Occupational Therapists would be the next step.
- Has difficulty holding pencils or markers?
- Has difficulties coloring within the lines?
- Has messy or sloppy handwriting?
- Has illegible handwriting?
- Seem weak or uncoordinated?
- Write too large/too small?
- Occasionally or frequently reverse letters/numbers?
- Has some difficulty learning letters/numbers correctly?
- Has difficulty staying on a line?
- Has a hard time with handwriting activities or learning new skills?
Assessments can be held at the the Center or your child’s school, helping to determine which therapies would be most beneficial. Then the remediation process can begin. Our OT’s education, training and skills provide the foundations for a perceptive and comprehensive therapy program, individualized to meet the needs of each child.
25-33% of children are challenged with dysgraphia. Our occupational therapy program can help children, ages 4 and up, develop strong handwriting skills through fine and visual motor skill strengthening and development.
Don’t children learn handwriting in school?
Handwriting instruction should begin with pre-writing activities, usually around age 4. These multi-sensory activities pave the way for handwriting proficiency. While children are exposed to letter formation in Kindergarten, they are expected to enter Kindergarten with the ability to visually identify the name and sound of each letter. If the foundational skills are not in place to do the job of learning to write, a child may avoid the task and quickly fall behind. A study from Vanderbilt University showed that only 12% of teachers have taken a course in how to teach handwriting. Therefore remediation at school and early detection of symptoms of dysgraphia often doesn’t occur.
Having fun while learning to write.
In addition to one-on-one therapeutic services, Child Success Center also offers Handwriting Club , providing a fun learning environment, where your child will be placed in a group setting designed to match specific skill and age levels. Our small group size and interactive indoor gym promote a positive approach to learning an often difficult and challenging skill. We incorporate multi-sensory strategies and whole brain learning – featuring the Handwriting Without Tears® program. This easy-to-learn curriculum makes handwriting mastery joyful for students of all levels.
Handwriting is a life skill that affects how we function in the world. Learning to write becomes the skill that builds the foundation for learning to spell, read, build vocabulary, compose content, work with numbers and even reason.
Additional Dysgraphia Information
>CSC Article: Handwriting – Dying Art or Important Skill?
>CSC Article: Is Your Child’s Handwriting Ability Slowing Their Progress?
>Click for information on the CSC OT Handwriting Screenings/Dysgraphia Assessments