Handwriting is a complex skill that is needed in high frequency at school. Handwriting difficulties can impact participation, learning and performance at school. It can be stressful to a child if they cannot keep up with their classmates or if they have difficulty putting on paper, the wonderful ideas and knowledge they have in their mind. A concern as a parent, is watching your child experience results that are not reflective of their true knowledge or creativity, due to difficulties getting their thoughts down in writing.
When a child can see that their writing is messy, it can be upsetting. The fact that writing is on the page to be looked at everyday, means it provides a constant visual message to the child that they are failing or ‘can’t do it’. Children who see their ‘failure’ every day and experience the frustration of not being able to represent their true ability on paper, are at risk of developing low self-esteem, anxiety, avoidance behaviours, and potentially disengage from the learning process. A child’s early experiences with the skill of handwriting, can contribute to their perception of themselves as a learner, and what can start as a difficulty with, for example, the motor skill of handwriting, may develop into a set of behaviours and beliefs that influence the child’s whole performance as a learner.
Handwriting Assessment and Intervention at Grow On Children’s Occupational Therapy allows us to:
- Identify the underlying causes of difficulties with Handwriting.
- Provide therapy to specifically target and strengthen skills.
- Build understanding, success and positive emotions around handwriting for the child.
- Provide activities for home practice.
- Evaluate if other options, such as the use of technology, may be required and if needed, help advocate for this.
When a child experiences improvements in their handwriting and their ability to demonstrate all they know in writing, they start to enjoy class more, feel less stressed and more happy. Their performance improves and this starts a cycle of success and motivation. Most importantly, the child starts to change the story they have formed of their self as a learner. That’s an amazing transformation to be a part of!