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