Dr. V.S. Gayathri
Common Handwriting Challenges And Their Remedies!
Handwriting has been a major challenge for many kids. Proficiency in handwriting is significantly correlated with academic achievement and is often considered a predictor of general learning abilities. Hence, parents are also concerned when it comes to the poor handwriting skills of their children.
According to experts, since children spend up to half of their classroom time engaged in paper and pencil tasks daily, handwriting difficulties have a big impact on a child’s academic success and self-esteem. According to a study, approx. 10-30% of children have difficulty mastering the skill of writing and problems are most common among children with various disorders, such as ADHD, learning disabilities (LDs), and speech and language difficulties.
Some of the common handwriting problems that kids face are illegible handwriting, huge letters, incorrect pencil grip, and issues with left-handed writing. If a child is finding difficulty in handwriting hard, then it might fall under one of these broad categories.
A child might find a problem in writing due to:-
· Poor motor ability: they can’t control the pencil and hence form letters inaccurately.
· Visual-perceptual problems: they may not yet understand the concept of letter forms; for example, they may form an ‘a’ as a ‘u’ and a ‘g’ as a ‘y’ or reverse letters.
· Attention deficit disorder: they write too fast, hence losing accuracy.
Three of the most common handwriting problems have been discussed below.
1. Problems with spacing- Often young children face difficulty in estimating how much space they need per letter and per word. To tackle this problem from an early age, parents and educators can help by providing graphed or lined paper with dashes that serve as a guide for letter height.
2. Problems with shapes- Kids might face difficulty in determining the size and shape of different letters for a long time. Also, lowercase letters are generally harder to write than capitals because they are smaller and they contain more rounded edges and curves. This may be one reason why people who struggle with handwriting sometimes prefer to write in all capital letters.
This gradually eases with more practice of the movements of handwriting. It becomes more automatic as they build strength and dexterity in their hands. The shapes become more regular as a child progresses through the years of learning and as they begin to write using a steady grip and fluent rhythm.
3. Problems with grip and posture- Kids need a lot of practice to get comfortable using the pen or pencil in the tripod grip. In this grip, the thumb, index, and middle finger work together to hold the writing instrument securely. Young children may first begin to develop this skill through drawing, and later by colouring inside the lines. After the grip, the elbow posture is also important to apply the right amount of pressure so that the text is not too faint to read.
Some young writers bear down on the pencil, which can cause hand cramps and broken pencil tips. The right grip and position are very important for good handwriting.
There can be other writing problems like mixing upper and lower cases, misuse of punctuation, spelling errors, letter reversal, etc. These might lead to illegible writing, but not necessarily a poor handwriting problem, but rather a perception problem.
1) Use the right tools. Check out our previous blog.
2) Practice a better grip and writing posture.
3) Use lined worksheets for practice.
4) Avoid digital tools to start with, rather let them practice as much as they can on good old pen and paper.
5) Give them more practice in cursive writing
6) Work them the pace gradually
As parents, it is important to understand that every child has unique handwriting and it is not proper to compare one with another. The best way to understand your child’s shortcomings, and work towards specific areas rather than telling them to write like someone else. You will definitely see good results like constant handholding and practice.