Did you know that handwriting legibility can be the window to a child’s physical, mental and social health. In other words, what the child produces can be how he sees himself which translates to misbehavior affecting social interaction and/or an indication of weak foundational skills related to academic success.
The idea that computers made the art of handwriting obsolete is like suggesting that a child stop learning addition or multiplication tables since we have a calculator. Or that spelling be no longer practiced due to the invention of spell check.
Poor handwriting cannot be hidden, ignored or avoided. Punishment like missing recess does not help with continued messy, late or missed homework. Labeling a child as lazy, uncaring, or stubborn doesn’t help or solve the situation.
Homework issues many times resolve when issues with handwriting are addressed. When kids struggle with handwriting, it filters into all their academics and possibly overall behavior. Spelling, math, written expression and homework become a problem. If a child struggles to remember how to make their letters, their ability to express themselves will suffer. If the child constantly forgets number formation and sequencing, math will suffer.
There are real reasons for handwriting difficulties. These usually are not outgrown and are often voiced by a child as “handwriting being difficult and painful”. Often children with handwriting difficulties have the following:
- Awkward pencil grasp (death grip or wobbly/flimsy)
- Poor posture (stiff, floppy or squirmy)
- Deficient sensory motor development (coordination, visual motor, visual perceptual, body awareness etc)
Understanding and identifying these issues related to handwriting can help a child overcome resistance to both handwriting and homework. Also, transforming the child’s handwriting from unreadable to something his classmates, teachers and parents can understand can be life altering and build his/her self esteem.