Other physical skills assessment
It is not just a child’s gross and fine motor skills that effects their handwriting.
Below you will find the other physical skill areas that can make handwriting difficult for children.
The impact on a child’s handwriting from each of these difficulties is very similar, but for very different reasons. We would recommend this assessment for children aged 6 years old and upwards, as some of the check list observation are in fact age related developmental stages younger children naturally go through.
The simple observational check list assessment has been designed to help you identify if a child is having difficulties in one or more of the following areas:
Eye tracking and handwriting
Eye tracking is the ability to control and coordinate the fine eye movements needed:
- For left to right eye movements, without moving the head, needed to follow a line of writing as the letters are formed or for reading a line of print.
- To focus and move the eyes to follow an object without moving the head, in all directions.
- To track/follow objects near and far.
- To focus on one object without moving the eyes.
Spatial awareness and handwriting
Spatial awareness is the ability to be aware of:
- The space around you and your position in that space.
- The position and relationship of other objects in relation to one another and yourself.
Motor memory and handwriting
Motor memory is the ability to store and recall the muscle movements for performing different tasks and sets of movements.
Visual memory and handwriting
Visual memory is the ability to recall information that has been visually presented before.
Other physical skills assessment record sheet
Having assessed a child, if they need to improve, there are activity and game suggestions to help develop their skills. If a child is having difficulty with their eye tracking and/or spatial awareness we would recommend that they have an eye test.
It is always a good idea to have a child’s eyes tested if they haven’t had them checked recently.
It is surprising how often this can prove beneficial; children, especially younger ones, will not realise they are seeing the world differently from their friends and so would never think to mention it. It is usually adults who notice something first; and then only because it has become very evident that there is some sort of problem.
Some children with good eyesight can still struggle with reading and writing as they find the words and lines constantly move and swap places as they try to work.
Coloured tinted glasses have proved to be very beneficial for some children. Research into their effect on particular cells that support eye function shows that the movement of the letters and lines on the paper, often a problem for dyslexic children, is much reduced. This can also has a positive effect on children’s handwriting ability.
Some of the larger optician chains have an Optometrist or Orthoptist who can perform a coloured overlay test for a child to assess whether coloured lenses would be beneficial. The test can be difficult for children under the age of 8 as they may choose their preferred fashion colour rather than the one best suited for them.