Although many would argue handwriting is a dying art, learning to write by hand is an important part of development, covering everything from hand-eye coordination, to cognitive and fine motor skills, gross motor skills and core strength.
The brain works in a different way when we write with a pen or pencil.
There is evidence to suggest that re-writing notes by hand helps you retain the information. When taking notes in a classroom or lecture, you’re more likely to comprehend what is being taught when you hand write them, as oppose to using a tablet or laptop.
When it comes to managing stress and anxiety, list-making, journaling and letter writing have all been shown to have therapeutic effects and it seems writing down your goals means you’re more likely to achieve them.
A child who struggles with handwriting will likely have trouble expressing his or her ideas.
For children struggling to write by hand, however, it can have such a negative effect on their self-esteem. It is also likely that they will become reluctant to complete any written work. It is frustrating for both parent and child, so what can you do to help?
- Check their pencil grip – are they struggling to hold a pencil properly? If so, there are some fantastic little gadgets on the market that can help to correct this.
- Practice at home – it’s true with most things that practising can lead to real improvements. Buy dedicated handwriting exercise books specifically designed to help with this. The Little Writing Company has some fantastic options.
- Observe – what is going on? Are they slumped over the desk and tiring? It takes a combination of many things – core strength, shoulder strength, gross motor skills, fine motor skills – just to be able to sit at a desk and write.
There are a number of conditions that may contribute towards handwriting difficulties.
- Dysgraphia – spelling and writing difficulties
- Dyslexia – learning disability that affects reading and writing
- Expressive language issues – difficulties expressing thoughts and ideas vocally
- ADHD – focus and attention difficulties
- Visual processing issues – affecting how the brain processes what the eyes can see
- Dyspraxia – fine and gross motor coordination difficulties
If in ANY doubt, you should arrange to see a specialist Occupational Therapist. They will be able to help identify if there are any concerning issues and what you can do about them.