Is your child’s handwriting messy, not as polished as their peers or inconsistent? Is your child also avoiding writing tasks? If you answered yes to one or all of these, your child might need handwriting therapy.
Handwriting therapy, also known as occupational therapy for handwriting, is a form of therapy that focuses on improving a child’s handwriting skills. It can be particularly helpful for children who struggle with fine motor skills, coordination, and grip strength.
How do I know if my child needs handwriting therapy?
Here are some handwriting red flags to look out for in children:
- Inconsistency in letter formation and size: Children who struggle with handwriting may have difficulty forming letters consistently, which can lead to inconsistency in size and shape. This can make their writing difficult to read and understand.
- Poor pencil grip: Children who hold their pencil or pen incorrectly may have difficulty controlling their movements and producing legible writing. This can also lead to hand fatigue and discomfort.
- Excessive pressure or lightness: Children who press too hard or too lightly when writing may have difficulty producing consistent letter formation and legibility. This can also lead to hand fatigue and discomfort.
- Difficulty with spacing: Children who struggle with spacing may have trouble leaving appropriate spaces between words and letters, making their writing difficult to read.
- Reversals or inversions: Children who frequently reverse or invert letters may have difficulty with spatial awareness and visual processing skills. This can make reading and writing challenging for them.
- Difficulty with cursive writing: Children who experience difficulty with cursive writing may have challenges connecting letters and forming consistent loops and curves. This can make their writing illegible and difficult to read.
If you notice any of these handwriting red flags in your child, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a professional, such as one of our certified occupational therapists or a learning specialist, who can provide guidance and support for improving their handwriting skills.
Here are some tips for handwriting therapy for children to do at home:
- Work on grip strength: Use tools like therapy putty or a grip strengthener to help children build strength in their hands and fingers. This will help them hold a pencil or pen more easily and write with greater control.
- Practice proper posture: Encourage children to sit up straight and keep their feet flat on the floor while they write. This will help them maintain good control of the pencil or pen and avoid unnecessary strain on their muscles.
- Use a variety of writing tools: Provide children with different writing tools, such as pencils, pens, crayons, and markers. This will help them develop a range of fine motor skills and become comfortable with different writing instruments.
- Use tracing and copying exercises: Have children trace letters and shapes to help them develop fine motor control and coordination. They can also practice copying sentences and paragraphs to improve their handwriting skills.
- Encourage practice: Provide children with plenty of opportunities to practice their handwriting skills, both in and out of therapy sessions. Encourage them to write letters, journal entries, and stories to help them develop their skills and build confidence.
- Make it fun: Incorporate games and fun activities into handwriting therapy sessions to keep children engaged and motivated. This could include word games, drawing exercises, or creative writing prompts.
Remember, handwriting therapy is a process that takes time and patience. With consistent practice and support, children can develop strong handwriting skills and feel more confident in their abilities.
If you think your child needs more support, please give Happy Dots a call on (02) 4959 8920 as we offer handwriting assessments. The assessment will run for 90 minutes (1.5 hours), where a series of specifically chosen standardised and non-standardised tests are carried out by our occupational therapist. Once the results are calculated, our OT will discuss with you your child’s strengths and weaknesses and how occupational therapy might help your child. A therapy plan will be created to address your child’s needs. It will come in a written comprehensive report, outlining your goals for your child and therapy guidelines.