Parents and teachers need to analysis and check the signs of handwriting problems. Effects of poor handwriting or spelling in later years may be:
- Papers with poorer penmanship and/or poorer spelling are rated lower by teachers for composition quality
- Difficulties with spelling or handwriting can interfere with execution of other composing processes
- Handwriting/spelling problems can constrain development as a writer
Parents and teachers should learn the signs of handwriting problems from early years.
Signs of Handwriting Problems
Kids develop at different rates, and just like adults, handwriting varies greatly among them. Some kids have trouble learning the direction letters go in; others struggle to write neatly or use cursive writing. Sometimes writing problems can be a sign of other issues such as developmental delay or learning disabilities. Often these problems have multiple symptoms, with writing being only one component.
Conditions that can affect a child's ability to write include:
• memory problems that prevent a child from remembering spelling, grammar, or punctuation rules
• language problems that cause difficulty with word pronunciation, spelling, and sentence structure
• visual or sequential ordering problems that cause uneven spacing of words, and inability to make lists or put ideas in order
• dysgraphia, a neurological disorder characterized by writing difficulties (such as distorted letters or misspellings) regardless of reading ability
• attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Children who have special needs also may have trouble learning to write.
Signs that a child may need additional assistance with learning how to write include:
• A very awkward pencil grip
• Illegible handwriting • difficulty forming letters
• An inability to concentrate and complete writing tasks
• Avoiding writing • many misspelled words
• Letters or words that don't follow correct sequence
• Incorrect placement of words on the page
• Uneven spacing between letters
• A large gap between spoken language and writing ability
• An exceptionally slow and difficult time writing
If your child is struggling with writing, you may choose to have him or her assessed by an occupational therapist. This can help you determine if your child needs actual therapy and tutoring or just some additional writing practice at home.