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/

If your child has dysgraphia and poor handwriting speed, what can you do to help?

Child holding pen with dysgraphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your child has dysgraphia and poor handwriting speed, what can you do to help?

According to Amundson (1995), the average typing speed of a child aged 10 is about 10 to 12 words per minute and when that child reaches an age of 14 their writing speed increases to around 16 words per minute. If your child has a learning difference such as dysgraphia their handwriting speed will be significantly slower. Their handwriting can be illegible and difficult to read. Dysgraphia is a nervous system problem that affects the fine motor skills needed to write. It makes it hard for a child to do handwriting homework or classwork. 

As a Parent you will be worried at your child’s slow handwriting speed so what can you do to improve it.  Try these tips to help improve your child’s handwriting skills and make lessons more productive and enjoyable for you and your child.

  • Use a research-based handwriting program. Your child’s teacher may recommend one that suits your child.  
  • Provide short bursts of handwriting exercise instead of long, drawn-out sessions. Many kids with dysgraphia need to work on fine motor skills. Activities such as colouring, cutting, painting, model-building, working with clay, working pencil mazes, and threading beads will increase dexterity and build fine motor skills.
  • Schedule handwriting practice time for 15 minutes a day.
  • If your child can’t remember how to form letters consistently, writing them correctly at times, but incorrectly at other times. This could be a sign that he has problems with your child’s working memory.
  • Work on correct letter formation by using multisensory methods and techniques that don’t require writing. Finger writing in the air, in the sand, in shaving cream, or on sandpaper are all great exercises that can encourage improvement in proper letter formation.

 

If your child’s handwriting speed doesn’t improve within six months using the techniques described above. Then it might be worth looking at introducing technology to assist your child with his / her writing skills. The best way would be to introduce your child to a computer and keyboard and learn how to touch type. Touch typing is being able to type without having to look at keys on the keyboard. 

If you are interested in getting your child to learn how to touch type at any of Searsol educational centres https://searsol.com/find-centers/