Difficulties - FAQs
If your child is struggling it might be a good idea to have a look at our assessment page to see if you can identify their problem.
Children develop at different rates and so unless your child is significantly behind where expected you should give them time to progress naturally.
The key developmental milestones, if they have had the appropriate developmental experiences, introduced to and been taught handwriting correctly, are:
- Hand dominance - Know if they are right or left-handed by the age of 6 - 7 years old.
- Pencil grip - Be able to hold a pencil correctly by the age of 5 / 6 years old.
- Sitting at a table - Can sit correctly for a short period of time at 5 years old.
- Paper position and tilt - Start at the age of 5 and be natural by 8 years old.
- Patterns - Complete the patterns correctly by 5 years old.
- Letters - All lower-case letters by 6 and all capital letters by 7 years old.
- Joins - Joining letters by 8 years old.
Moving to using a computer rather than developing a child’s handwriting skills is very much dependant on their age, physical and academic abilities.
For the majority of children under the age of 11 years old (except in very specific circumstances) due to the way child learn and how that learning engages areas of the brain; developing their handwriting skills support their overall academic skills base in a way, that at present, touch typing does not.
Other factors to consider:
- If a child has poor hand and finger strength and dexterity which affects their handwriting it will also affect their ability to touch type.
- The other physical skills required to handwriting are also required for using a computer.
- At present our children are assessed academically through paper and pencil assessments and exams. Yes, many hand-in homework on line and use computers but as yet that is not how the exam system is geared up.
For students over the age of 11 years old who struggle academically, especially with poor information processing, planning, composition and reading, there is a strong argument for supporting them in developing their handwriting skills. As mentioned above, handwriting has been shown to stimulates areas of the brain related to these important areas that using a computer, as yet, does not.
For those students in secondary school who do not have any issues with processing information and composition of text then using a computer may very well be the best solution.
We do not believe it is ever too late to fix a handwriting problem. That being said some sever handwriting difficulties may not be fixed but improvements can be made and it may take time.
It is important to find out what is causing the handwriting problem, so that a more focused approach to support the child can adopted.
Sometimes it is as simple as understanding that the child just has not been taught how to or understood what has been asked.
Other times it is a more physical issue based on not having the strength or dexterity required so support is need to develop these skills.
It is also worth noting when and if certain elements of a child’s handwriting should be changed or not. Because what we thought was a problem, for example a pencil grip, is not in fact the problem but that they do not tilt the paper correctly and do not know how to join certain letters.
Our how to teach the tripod grip videos, in the pencil grip section, to teach your child. There is a video for right and left-handed writer.
As adult we probably very rarely use pen and paper at work or home. It is only when we have children and find ourselves trying to help them with homework and learning that we even become aware of our own poor pencil grips.
It is very difficult as an adult to change a poor pencil grip, however it is not impossible one of the easiest ways would be to try a completely new efficient pencil grip style and we would suggest you give the adaptive tripod grip a go.
Our free letter formation animations and worksheets can help you to be sure that you teaching your child how to form the letters correctly.
As adult we probably very rarely use pen and paper at work or home. It is only when we have children and find ourselves trying to help them with homework and learning that we become aware of our handwriting and its legibility.
Some parents find it useful to explain to their child that their own handwriting is poor and why they think this is. And that they would like to improve their handwriting so are going to learn how to correctly form their letters or join along with their child.
If you would like a more structured approach then you may find our downloadable worksheets or home teaching packages useful, information on these can be found in the shop section.