“Help! my child has messy handwriting, what can I do to help them?” Don’t worry, this is a frequent question we see at Helping Hands. In fact, handwriting problems are common, especially as children start to progress through primary school. There, teachers expect their writing to be legible and produced in a timely manner.
Common problems such as poor pencil grasp, messy writing or painful hand cramps when writing can often be a symptom of a much more complex issue.
At Helping Hands, we strive to find out the real underlying cause of a child’s poor handwriting. Then we can offer solutions that can be as simple as working on hand strength to improve pencil grasp. Or, they could be as complex as overall fine motor skills / dexterity and a customised handwriting remediation program focusing on the areas of concern.
The first step is to have a thorough assessment to identify the underlying problem/s.
This may involve reviewing handwriting samples collected over time, observing a child draw/write, assessing their hand strength, visual motor integration (ability to perceive, plan then carry out an action using their hands) and observing any other behaviours, such as poor posture, that may be contributing factors. Once we have identified the cause of the handwriting problem, we can then give strategies. And, we can help implement an individual program both in the clinic and at home/school where necessary. Additionally, give the child time and plenty of opportunity to work on the skills required to improve their handwriting. This is one of the most important things you can do.
An example of one common strategy is to improve the strength in the muscles of the hand required to hold a pencil. We can do this in a variety of fun ways. However, the most common is the use of theraputty (think playdough with resistance!)
If your child is struggling with their handwriting and you want to know where to start, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!
Read and watch ‘Should I be concerned about my child’s handwriting?’ blog and video HERE for more info on how Helping Hands can help.