At CodeBreakers® we are passionate about supporting students with all SPLDs and although handwriting alone would not necessarily be considered a stand alone learning difficulty, so often it is probably overlooked as being a presenting characteristic of other learning difficulties. The most obvious would be dyslexia or dyspraxia or dysgraphia. However how many would link it to sensory processing, visual processing or core muscle control?
Our guest writer Lucy Lamont of Teach Children Ltd tells us more;
Teach Handwriting – Handwriting is More Than Letter Formation
For a child to develop a handwriting style that has fluidity, speed and is legible over longer periods of time requires a complex range of whole body and hand strengths and skills. So, it is not surprising that so many children find handwriting challenging.
For a good handwriting style children need to develop their:
- Gross Motor Skills – so they can sit correctly for periods of time
- Fine Motor Skills – so that they can hold and control the pencil as well as move the paper up the table as they write.
- Motor Memory Skills – so they can recall how to form the letters.
- Visual Memory Skills – so they recall what a particular letter looks like.
- Spatial Awareness Skills– so they can place the letters correctly on the paper and in relation to one another.
- Eye Tracking Skills– scanning from left to right so that the letters are formed and placed correctly.
If a child is struggling with handwriting it is important to take a closer look at their physical abilities. Getting them to do more of the paper and pencil activities is not the answer if they do not have all the appropriate key physical strengths to support their handwriting development.
Our free Teach Handwriting website supports parents and schools in explaining what to consider when helping to teach handwriting to any child. As well as providing the tools, tips and information to support these.
- Our Assessment helps to identify the key areas that may require additional support.
- Our Activity Program options support the assessment findings.
- Our Common Handwriting Problems interactive flow diagrams provide practical and logical solutions.
- Our Other Barriers to Learning section looks at other factors that can make handwriting difficult for children; again providing activities to help develop these important areas.
Being able to comfortably handwrite over longer periods of time requires:
- A good sitting position:
- An appropriate pencil grip (this is dependent on their developmental stage):
- An appropriate paper position and tilt:
The Teach Handwriting website provides information and practical tips to help support a child’s development in these key abilities for both Left and Right-handed writers.
Handwriting develops initially through play, with non-pencil activities, and progresses to mark making then pre-handwriting patterns, moving to single letter formation and then joined handwriting. Through our website a child can be guided through these stages and supported appropriately in relation to their developmental stage rather than on a strict age basis. Access to all the animations and worksheets on the website is completely free.
- Our non-pencil activities help children to move and develop an understanding of movement, direction, proportion and placement (spatial awareness).
- Our pre-handwriting pattern animations and worksheets provide children with the opportunity to experience and feel the full range of pencil pushes and pulls that are required to form letters.
- Our wide range of single letter formation animations and worksheets cover a range of font styles used in UK schools. These are taught in letter families/groups (National Curriculum requirement).
- Our letter joins animations and worksheets cover the basic join strokes required to join the fonts used in UK schools. These are taught in join style groups.
- We also provide numbers and symbols formation animations and worksheets.
Handwriting is such an important skill as it engages the neurological pathways and working memory in a way that pressing a keyboard just doesn’t; so once mastered it helps to open up the doorways to other literacy skills such as phonics, reading, spelling and composition.