What can you do to overcome your child’s poor handwriting?

Poor handwriting

Poor handwriting

What can you do to overcome your child’s poor handwriting?


Does your child have poor handwriting and is struggling to complete their homework? Does your child take a long time for them to do their homework? Is the quality of the handwriting produced by your child legible? What can you do to improve this situation for your child? Do you want a life that is free from the stress and anxiety of trying to get them to complete their homework? 


Definition of poor handwriting:

First off let’s define what poor handwriting is. According to Chivers (1999) – poor handwriting is a deficiency in the ability to write, primarily handwriting, but also coherence. Poor handwriting is a transcription disability, meaning that it is a writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting, orthographic coding (orthography, the storing process of written words and processing the letters in those words), and finger sequencing (the movement of muscles required to write).


Causes of poor handwriting


The main two causes of poor handwriting are deficiencies in balance sense or body awareness.   

Balance sense

Balance sense
Balance sense










The balance sense is located in our inner ear.  Children who have experienced any of the following are more likely to have difficulties with their balance sense:

  • chronic ear infections
  • premature birth
  • neglect and trauma in infancy
  • other neurological conditions such as autism

Child jumping

When this sense is not developed properly, children are likely to have difficulty with balance, jumping, hopping, skipping, sitting still, concentration, managing fear or anxiety and learning to read or poor handwriting skills.


Body Awareness

body awareness

This sense is located in the muscles and joints all over our body and is often called the body awareness sense as it tells our brain where our body is in relation to itself and other things.


Children with poor body awareness often present with the following conditions:

  • appear clumsy
  • are rough
  • break things
  • bump into things
  • unable to sit still for long periods of time
  • poor concentration.
  • difficulty with reading 
  • Poor handwriting skills


These two senses (balance and body)  are the building blocks for all other skills. It doesn’t matter how much we practice with our child on handwriting skills, it won’t improve because of deficiency in their balance and body senses.


Your child may have a good pencil grasp and lovely letter formation but if they don’t have a functioning balance sense then their writing is likely to be much slower, messy, difficult to read than other children.

How do you improve your child’s poor handwriting skills?

You can improve your child with poor handwriting skills by trying the following:


Strengthen Fine Motor Skills

scissors cutting









Increasing hand strength and finger dexterity can help your child get more control over the pen and improve their handwriting.  Encourage your child on tasks like cutting with scissors, using a screwdriver, sewing or knitting.


Pencil Grip

Pencil grip
Pencil grip










A good grip could help reduce fatigue and prevent muscle cramps, which may help to improve handwriting.


Upper Body strength






Encourage your child to build upper body strength through sports,  swimming and gym weights. These will help strengthen and stabilise the shoulder muscles to free up the hand muscles for handwriting.


Frequent Breaks

Take a break
Take a break











If your child tires easily or becomes distracted, then let them have a quick break as opposed to continuing on and their handwriting deteriorates. 


Pick your battles

Pick your battles

Pick your battles


Decide which subjects require good handwriting and which subjects you can get away with poor handwriting. 


Typing skills

Typewiz.com – be a wiz at typing!







Instead of writing out all their homework. Why not get them to type it out using a laptop or tablet? By typing out their homework, it helps not only to be able to read the text they produce but also allows you to review the document and make changes if required. By learning how to type correctly, your child overcomes poor handwriting and uses assistive technology to their advantage. 

If you want your child to learn how to type at one of our centres, you can book a free trial assessment at https://searsol.com/find-centers/

Halloween online computer classes via Zoom

Halloween 2020 online computer classes via Zoom 

Improve your child’s computer skills with this new and interactive computer class via Zoom.


Online computer classes via zoom starting in June and July
New Searsol computer course via Zoom

Topics covered:

Design and create a presentation slides with confidence.

Learn how to use spreadsheets, find out by formulas and functions. (Level 2 only)

Google sheet
Google sheet

Learn how to compose an email, reply, forward and add attachment.

Learn how to use email
Learn how to use email

Learn how to create a document, spell check, format, add in images.


Set up your own YouTube channel including own YouTube channel art.

Design own Youtube channel art
Design own Youtube channel Art

Create your own video and upload it YouTube. Add video thumbnail, video description and links

Youtube channel
Youtube channel

(Level 2 only)

Create their own avatar    

Create their own online avatar

Create your own avatar
Create your own avatar

Create a comic strip

Design and create their own comic strip

Design a Comic Strip
Design a Comic Strip

Create a Picture Collage

Download a collection of pictures and organise them in a collage

Create Picture Collages
Create Picture Collages

Design beautiful animation art.

3D image drawing
Animation art

Introduce your child to the world of coding via code games!

code games
code games

For more information about the course visit either:

Level 1 – Primary school children (10 am – 12 pm)

Level 2 – Secondary school children (2 to 4 pm)

Note: Course places are capped at 10 students per each weekly camp to ensure quality of delivery. 

See course requirements before making a booking. 





New term of Searsol after school touch typing classes starting next week!

A new term of Searsol Typing classes starting next week!

Searsol after school touch typing classes starting back next week. Our after school touch typing is a self-paced course for your child delivered in a positive environment. Our course is suitable for children with learning differences such as Dyspraxia or Dyslexia but works for all students

Searsol has been offering touch typing courses for children since 2008. We pride ourselves in having a very high success rate for children to learn how to touch type. Touch typing is being able to type without looking at the keys on the keyboard. Once a child memorises the keys on the keyboard then it a question of building up their word per minute speed to achieve the best speed.

We are using our new innovative typing program in our course centres called Typewiz. Typewiz was released in February 2020 and we have received great feedback from Students and Parents on the course.

Why not bring your child along for the first session for free? You can book your first session by booking online at  https://searsol.com/course-booking-first-session-free/

Our course centre is located in:

  • Dundrum – St Tiernan’s Community School – Wed (4.15 and 5.15 pm) and Sat (10:30 am and 11:30 am)
  • Artante – St Davids CBS – Tue (4 and 5 pm)
  • Lucan – St Kevin’s Community School  – Mon (4:15 pm)
  • Malahide – Malahide Community School – Saturday (11 am and 12 pm)
  • Monkstown – Mounttown Community Centre – Thursday 3:30 and 4:40

Searsol can offer you the following:

  • Qualified instructor with several years of experience.
  • Garda vetted with child protection.
  • Students work at their own pace no peer pressure.
  • Speedskin cover is used so students don’t look down at keyboards
  • The course is suitable for children with learning differences such as Dyspraxia (DCD) or Dyslexia.
  • Reports are available at each of class to show how students are getting on.
  • Praise is delivered after each exercise is completed.

If you wish to book your child in for a free trial click on the following link to book your child in for a free trial –  https://searsol.com/course-booking-first-session-free/

For more information about our Searsol touch typing course visit our website at :

Online computer classes via Zoom

Online computer classes via zoom starting in June and July 2020

Searsol is now offering a new online computer course using Zoom over the months of June and July. The course is aimed at students who want to improve their computer skills (Word, Presentation slides and Spreadsheets). The course covers design and animation and students will learn how to set up their own youtube channel, design their own logo and edit video and create their own images. The course also covers an introduction to coding.

The course is delivered by experienced Tutors with years of classroom teaching to children. The class size is limited to 12 students only to ensure a high quality of delivery to participants.

There are two levels of the course:

Level 1 is for primary school children from the age of 8 to 12. More details about the course are available at:


Level 2 is for secondary school children from the age of 13 to 18. More details about the course are available at:


Course requirements:

  • Laptop or Computer –  no iPad or smartphone
  • Zoom
  • Headphones.
  • Broadband speed of a least 1 MB
  • Gmail account

To book click on the following link https://searsolcomputercamps.com/computercamps

How long does it take to learn to touch type?

How long does it take to learn to touch-type?

It’s a question that we have been asked several times before and to be honest it’s a difficult one to answer.

Definition of Touch Typing:

Touch typing is the ability to type without looking down at the keyboard. A person who can touch-type will know all the letters location on the keyboard through muscle memory. The term is often used to refer to a specific form of touch typing that involves placing the eight fingers in a horizontal row along the middle of the keyboard

Home Keys

Touch typing is a skill that needs to be learned and it becomes better as you practice using the correct technique. The correct technique is to place your fingers on the home keys, left hand fingers should start with the little resting on the A button and the main index finger on the F button on the keyboard. The right-hand fingers should start with the index finger on the J button and the little finger on the semicolon button (;). If you are interested in learning how to touch type, check out our new typing tutor Typewiz which is specifically aimed at teaching children how to touch type in a fun and interactive way. Also, see our youtube video below on How to touch type using Typewiz which explains the correct procedure to learn how to touch type using our typing tutor Typewiz.


A range of factors come into play in deciding how long it will take to learn how to touch type.

Factors to consider are the concentration, motivation, age of the student, and if the student has any learning difficulties.


If a student has poor or weak concentration, then it will take them a lot longer to learn how to touch type. As touch typing requires a lot of concentration and persistence in learning where the keys are on the keyboard.


If a student is not motivated to learn touch typing, then, unfortunately, they will never learn how to touch type. If they don’t see the benefits of touch typing and rather do it their own way then a student will never learn to touch type correctly and will revert to their own ways (Hunt and Peck method).


The younger the student age the longer they will take to learn how to touch type. At Searsol, we believe the best age start to touch type is from the age of eight. We feel any younger than eight years old, a student is just not ready to learn to touch type successfully due to the size of their hands and lack of concentration.

Learning difference:

If a student has a learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dyspraxia (DCD), dysgraphia, then this student will take longer to learn how to touch type compared to a student that doesn’t have these learning difficulties. We feel for these students classroom learning is the best solution for a child that has learning differences. At Searsol, we offer a free trial for students who want to experience our classroom learning. A free trial is available by clicking on the following link (Ireland only). We also offer a free seven-day trial online click on the following link


How long does it take to learn how to touch-typing?

So going back to the question, how long does it take to learn to touch type. An average student without learning differences would learn to touch type within eight to ten hours. They might be touch typing at a very slow speed (8 – 15  words per minute).

Bronze standard – 15 words per minute


A student who attains 15 words per minute or greater will be rewarded with our bronze badge on Typewiz.  This would take approximately 10 hours to achieve for the average student doing the Typewiz course. 

Silver standard – 25 words per minute

The next level on Typewiz is our silver badge which is 25 words or greater. An average student would need to do around 30 hours on Typewiz to get to this level.

Gold standard – 40 words per minute

Forty words per minute is where a student can touch type faster than they can write which is an amazing achievement! It is the gold standard on Typewiz and for most students very difficult to achieve. It requires a student to put in an additional forty hours of practice using Typwiz. 

If a student achieves the gold badge on Typewiz. Then this is a great advantage to have for a student, as they progress through secondary school, third level and onto work. Typing faster than writing without ever having to look down at the keyboard!

Typewiz.com – a new innovative way to learn how to touch type!

Typewiz online typing tutor for kids


Our new typing tutor typewiz.com  is now available to any student that wants to learn how to touch type.

  • Typewiz is a new fun and interactive way to learn to touch type.
  • Students get to select different avatars as they progress up the lessons.
  • Students can earn coins based on their performance on the course.
  • Coins can then be used in our games arcade where each coin spent allows the student to access one game.
  • Students can earn different word-per-minute badges (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) as they become faster at typing.
  • Students can earn lesson badges as they progress up the lessons.
  • Realistic hands with a green finger show the user what keyboard button to press.
  • Graphs of all previous percentage scores with Words Per Minute (WPM) are available to access for the student at all times.
  • Typewiz is a self-paced course that allows students to work at their own pace in a classroom environment or at home.
  • Typewiz is also available through our Searsol centres monitored by our professional Searsol tutors (Ireland only). 

If you are interested in finding out more information about Typewiz. Visit our website at www.typewiz.com  Free seven-day trial available.


Why do you need to touch type in the 21st century?

Typewiz.com – be a wiz at touch-typing!






We were recently why was there still a need to touch type in the 21st century. It was a good question and with the advent of new technologies, such as smartphones, tablets, hybrid laptops and text to speech. Maybe there isn’t such a need for touch-typing or was there?

 Hunt and Peck

The hunt and peck typing method is a very popular method to input text on the keyboard. This is where a person types but moves his fingers around the keyboard until the find the correct letters. Where a person can type sufficiently using the hunt and peck method, it is still error-prone and can reduce the efficiency of the person typing compared to a person who can touch type. 

Touch typing/keyboarding

Touch typing (also called keyboarding) is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. Specifically, a touch typist will know their location on the keyboard through muscle memory. In today’s competitive job market, it is important for anyone applying for any job that involves the use of computers to learn to touch type. And it is not stretching it to suggest being able to type fast without looking at the keyboard is a 21st-century basic skill in computers.

Advantages of touch typing

The main advantages of touch typing are as follows:


Touch typing training can improve an individual’s typing speed and accuracy dramatically. The accepted average typing speed is 40 WPM (words per minute), professional career typists can exceed 100 WPM repeatedly and continuously (secretarial, data entry, etc.). Every individual learns at a different pace, and routine practice is required to maintain a high typing speed and accuracy.

Reduced switching of attention

A touch typist does not need to look down at the keyboard (that is obscured with fingers and maybe poorly lit) and other areas that require attention. This increases productivity and reduces the number of errors.

Overall the payback from learning how to touch type outways the inefficiency of other input methods. Once you have the skill it will stay with you for the rest of your life. So how do you start to touch-type? Why not try our seven days free trial of our typing tutor Typewiz? For more information go to www.typewiz.com


Now that you have been awarded a laptop exemption to type out your Junior or Leaving cert – what do you do next?

Searsol after school touch typing classes
Searsol after school touch typing classes

Now that you have been awarded a laptop exemption to type out your Junior or Leaving Cert – what next?

Having to sit through State exams answering questions with pen and paper for hours at a time is all very well for those for whom writing poses no problems, but what about students who struggle to form letters and words?

Thankfully the Irish State Examinations Commission registers the fact that many students today have difficulty with writing. In recognition of this and the fact that typing is now the accepted professional version of writing, exemptions are now readily available for those seeking to type rather than write their exam responses.

If you or your child has already been awarded an exemption to use a laptop/word processor for your Junior/Leaving Cert due to a handwriting impairment, here at Searsol we extend our congratulations.

For those still in the process of applying for the exemption, please note that the Department of Education will be looking for proof that your child can, or is in the process of learning how to type. At the end of the day, the exemption will be granted on the basis that your child’s typing skills are better than their handwriting skills.

Searsol touch-typing courses

In order to ensure your child masters correct touch-typing skills, Searsol runs a series of after-school touch-typing classes for children and young adults that are designed to help each individual learn correct touch-typing practice at their own pace.

Searsol provides touch typing courses nationwide. Our classes are delivered in a classroom setting. We use our own touch typing tutor Typewiz which consists of a series of lessons to help students advance from beginner to proficient touch typist. Tutors work individually and collectively with students to help them progress through the course in order to gain proficiency. They are monitored by trained tutors who checks that they are doing the correct finger placement.

Students can revise over previously completed exercises at home using their own login details.

Please feel free to get in touch with your nearest Searsol provider – course details are available here on our website.

Typewiz is also available to access from the home. You can sign up to Typewiz by going to Typewiz.com

Exemption guidelines

According to the guidelines for State exams, as set out by the State Examinations Commission, the use of mechanical aid, such as a word processor, is appropriate where it can be established that a candidate’s ability to produce a legible script is compromised.

There are two separate categories under which a student may be deemed eligible for this exemption from handwriting, as follows:

  1. Illegible handwriting – which renders a script unintelligible due to the frequency of spelling/grammar/punctuation errors.
  2. Slow writing – where the rate of writing is so slow that it renders a student unable to complete exams.

In order to apply for an exemption from writing, students must submit a completed Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate reasonable accommodations application form, outlining the particular difficulty, and this must be signed by the school principal.

The Commission accepts the school’s confirmation on the application as sufficient evidence to permit an exemption.

Once you have been awarded your exemption to use a word processor, you will also be exempt from having your exam answer assessed in regard to spelling, punctuation or grammar. This applies specifically to exams in any language subjects (Irish, English, French, Spanish etc). However, students granted the use of a word processor must ensure spell-check and autocorrect are turned off.

Further info on Reasonable Accommodations for Junior and Leaving Certificate Examinations can be found on www.examinations.ie

New developments

The State Examinations Commission now approves exemptions for Junior Cert students can also be carried through at Leaving Certificate.

Prior to this students had to make fresh applications for each exam.

The Commission also agreed that exemptions can be granted in cases where dyslexia has not been formally diagnosed. Welcoming this progress, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland issued a statement, as follows:

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) welcomes some much needed positive changes to the implementation of Reasonable Accommodations for the Junior and Leaving Certificate. The DAI has lobbied and advocated for a change to this unfair and unnecessarily stressful system for many years and is pleased that students with dyslexia and their parents will be operating under a fairer system from now on.

The accommodations are intended to limit the impact of the candidate’s disability on their exam performance, while not giving the candidate an unfair advantage.

The options students with dyslexia can apply for if they meet the criteria are:
• Access to a Reader
• Use of a Recording Device or Word Processor/Laptop
• Access to a Scribe
• Waiver from the assessment of spelling, grammar and punctuation in the language subjects

The Association noted two key changes to the 2017 Reasonable Accommodations at Certificate Examinations (RACE) scheme, as follows:

  1. Reasonable Accommodations that were granted for the Junior Certificate will now be reactivated at Leaving Certificate level. This is on the condition that the school can confirm that the student still has an identified and continuing need. This means that the State Examinations Commission (SEC) will, in most cases, accept the reactivation recommendations from the school and there should be no need for further testing of attainment levels.
  2. Previous to these changes dyslexic students applied for RACE under the category of ‘Specific Learning Difficulty’. This category has now changed to ‘Learning Difficulty’. In light of this change cognitive/IQ scores are no longer required or a formal SLD/dyslexia diagnosis. This means that more students will be able to access accommodations, e.g. students who perhaps haven’t yet had a formal diagnosis of dyslexia, as well as students with more general or multiple learning difficulties.

The Dyslexia Association further notes that at present, the only assistive technology option available to a student with dyslexia is a word processor/laptop.

However, it is important to note that the SEC has stated that it is open to individual applications made through the school for the use of other assistive technology provided it meets the following criteria:
It must be already being used by the student (therefore the student could use their own equipment and there would be no additional cost to its approval for use in a State exam.)
• The SEC is satisfied that is will not jeopardise the integrity of the exam.
• It requires no development work from the SEC in relation to its exam papers.


The Association offers the following advice to students who have yet to apply for exemptions:

Applications Process

All applications for RACE will be made through the school using a common set of forms. You must indicate on the forms that you are making an application under ‘Learning Difficulty’ if you are dyslexic. There are separate sets of application forms for Junior and Leaving Certificate and they have separate application deadlines.

The following are the forms that must be filled out in relation to RACE at Junior Certificate level:

RACE Scheme Junior Certificate Application Form (RA5) – This is the standard application form for RACE at Junior Certificate Level.
RACE Scheme Junior Certificate Late Applications Form (RA6) – This form is used for late RACE applications.

The following are the forms that must be filled out in relation to RACE at Leaving Certificate level:

RACE Scheme Leaving Certificate Reactivation Form (Form RA1) – This should be used when applying for the reactivation of accommodations from Junior Certificate. It is also acceptable to use this form to apply for the use of a word processor rather than a scribe if a scribe was granted at Junior Certificate.

RACE Scheme Leaving Certificate Application for New Accommodations (Form RA2). This form can be used to apply for RACE for students who meet the criteria but did not receive any accommodations in their Junior Certificate OR where a student needs additional accommodations to the ones that were granted at Junior Cert.

Race Scheme Leaving Certificate Late Application Form (Form RA3). This form can be used to make a late application for RACE at Leaving Certificate. It should be noted that there is still a deadline for late applications and that schools will have to furnish the SEC with a reason for the application being submitted late.

Further information on laptop exemptions

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland carries further up-to-date details on its website regarding exemptions open to students entering third-level, as follows:

Accommodations at Third Level

Many third-level colleges and examination bodies make provision for dyslexic students taking written exams.  These provisions can include being given extra time, being allowed to use a word processor/computer, having the specific difficulty is taken into account when marking the exam paper, etc.

Students should consult with the Disability Officer in their college, their Tutor or Course Director, to find out precisely what provisions may be available.

Please contact your nearest Searsol after school typing centre for details on our touch-typing classes to ensure your child has the chance to perform at their best in State exams. Your child can also access Typewiz.com from the comfort of your home. Go to Typewiz.com for more details.

Why touch typing is beneficial for children with dyspraxia (DCD)?

Why touch typing is beneficial for children with dyspraxia (DCD)?
Why touch typing is beneficial for children with dyspraxia (DCD)?

Why touch typing is beneficial for children with dyspraxia (DCD)?


Dyspraxia (DCD) is a difficulty with thinking out, planning, and carrying out sensory/motor tasks. A recent study of nearly 7,000 seven and eight-year-olds in the UK found that just under two children in every 100 may have dyspraxia. This study used strict criteria for diagnosing the condition, which may explain why other sources suggest that six or eight people in every 100 may have dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia is more common in boys and sometimes runs in families. It may also occur alongside other conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD.

Dyspraxia can make the process of writing laborious and even painful. This is why touch typing (keyboarding) is so frequently recommended for those with dyspraxia. Becoming more familiar with the keyboard or learning to touch type (being able to type with multiple fingers without looking at the keyboard) can be very helpful for children.

Once students are able to touch type successfully with accuracy and speed. This can help students unlock their potential and transfer easily their ideas onto electronic format without the frustration experienced when handwriting.  Creativity is unlocked and the student’s self-esteem greatly enhanced.

The keyboard has many important advantages:

  • It increases legibility and clarity of presentation
  • Increased speed of the input
  • Spelling – learning physical letter patterns on the keyboard can be helpful with the spelling of some words
  • Reduces the physical pressure and concentration of handwriting- pressing a key can be much easier than manipulating a pen or pencil
  • Editing work is easier
  • Confidence. The keyboard may allow the child to record work more independently and to produce the required work in the time allowed.

At Searsol, we have worked with children with dyspraxia to teach them how to learn to touch type. Children with dyspraxia need careful guidance and help so they can master the skills of touch typing.  Searsol offers touch typing courses in our typing centres

Searsol – who we are and what we do

Searsol provides after-school touch typing classes to students for students with learning differences such as dyspraxia, dyspraxia (DCD), and dysgraphia. We have centres in Ireland that allow Parents to bring their child up to trained up on how to touch type. More details about your nearest centre are available on https://searsol.com/find-centers/


Typewiz – typing tutor for kids

Typewiz online typing tutor for kids

Typewiz – be a wiz a typing

Typewiz.com is our new typing tutor for children who want to learn how to touch type at home. Typewiz is a fun and innovative way for children to learn how to touch type.  Typewiz can be accessed at home. More details are available on Typewiz.com

Typewiz offers the following benefits:

  • It is a fun and interactive way to learn to touch type.
  • Children get to select different avatars as they progress up the lessons.
  • Kids can earn coins based on their performance on the course.
  • Coins can then be used in our games arcade where each coin spent allows the student to access one game.
  • Children can earn different word per minute badges (Bronze, Silver or Gold) as they become faster at typing.
  • Kids can earn lesson badges as they progress up the lessons.
  • Realistic hands with a green finger which shows the user what keyboard button to press.
  • Graphs of all previous percentage scores with Words Per Minute(WPM) are available to access for the student at all times.
  • Typewiz is a self-paced course which allows kids to work at their own pace at home

Searsol Computer Camps

Searsol provides Easter and Summer computer camps for children each year. These computer camps are were very popular and if you are interested in finding more about the course please go to our dedicated website which has more details about the camps www.searsolcomputercamps.com

Searsol franchise opportunity

Searsol also has its own franchise opportunity. The franchise opportunity allows individuals to set up the Searsol after school touch typing classes and camps in their own area. Full training and support are provided.  To find out more about this go to our dedicated website www.searsolfranchise.com

If you have any other requests about Searsol, please contact us through the feedback form or call us on +353-1-6303384. We are on Facebook and Twitter and our contact details are on the website.