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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Story behind your child's untidy handwriting

Children writing

Nowadays, it has become common for children to display poor handwriting. As a parent, we should not accept poor handwriting as the norm but must make sure that our children put in the effort to write legibly and neatly. Bad handwriting is detrimental to the child as he will be penalised when the teacher is unable to decipher what has been written. As teachers mark countless written assignments daily, they will find it easier to mark neat handwritten work and give them high grades as compared to chicken scribble by other children.

Signs of Trouble

Sheer laziness or maybe even poor eyesight could be the reason behind your child's bad handwriting, but if it is something more, it is good to detect it early. The following are some telltale signs that can help you raise the red flag early:

* Poor or awkward pencil grip;

* Not clearly right or left handed;

* Difficulty concentrating when reading or writing;

* Slow or laboured copying or writing;

* Immature drawing and copying skills;

* Avoidance of writing tasks;

* Reversed letters or numbers, that is, writes "b" for "d" or "12" for "21";

* Confused order of letters in words;

* poor spelling and the misspelling is not phonetic;

* Variation in letter size and writing quality from top of page to the bottom;

* Random punctuation errors or virtually no punctuation;

* Inconsistency in writing, that is, print mixed with cursive or upper mixed with lowercase letters;

* Difficulty organising and completing written assignments; and

* Poor presentation and content management.

Handwriting may reflect learning disorders

Any of the above signs could indicate a possible learning disorder. A learning disorder is a difficulty in an academic area ( reading, mathematics, or written expression ) that results in the child achieving a level of academic performance below that expected for his age, educational level, and level of intelligence.

Take note, however, that most children with learning disorders have normal intelligence. However, the difficulty experienced by the child may be severe enough that it interferes with his academic achievement.

Following are some types of learning disorders:

# Reading disorder or dyslexia:
A reading disorder is present when a child reads below the expected level, given his age, grade in school and intelligence. Children with reading disorder read slowly and have difficulty understanding what they read. They may have difficulty with word recognition and tend to confuse words that look similar.

# Mathematics disorder or dyscalcullia:
A mathematics disorder is present when a child has problems with skills related to numbers, such as counting, copying numbers correctly, adding and carrying numbers, learning multiplication tables, recognising mathematical signs, and understanding mathematical operations.

# Disorder of written expression or dysgraphia:
A disorder of written expression is present when a child has difficulty with writing skills, such as understanding grammar and punctuation, spelling, paragraph organisation, or composing written information. Often these children also have poor handwriting skills.

Learning disorders are treatable. A coordinated effort between parents, teachers and relevant health professionals provides the basis for individualised treatment strategies that may include individual or group remediation, and / or special classes or resources.

Generally strategies fall into three categories:

* Accommodation - providing alternatives to written expression;

* Modification - changing expectation or task to minimise or avoid the area of weakness; and

* Remediation - providing instruction for improving handwriting and writing skills.

Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures to reduce the incidence of learning disorder. Early detection and intervention can reduce the severity of academic difficulties and improve the child's quality of life.

Monitor your child's handwriting regularly and do not be too quick to make any judgement. You may want to discuss with his teachers first and if both of you feel that there really is reason enough to be concerned, the next step then is to have him assessed by a qualified professional.

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Blogger KM said...

I see your point.
Myself, i am very particular on the way my son holds his crayons and paint brush, one day when he learns to write, he would hold his pencils and pens the correct way too!

as for handwritting, well, i hope his is neat and tidy when he finally learns to write one day soon.

March 31, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger Vhiel Romion-Vance said...

nice blog.. very informative..

would you like to trade links? I have two blog..


Thanks. :)


April 3, 2008 at 2:42 AM  
Blogger Grandy said...

Oh some very good information. My son and I have struggled with his handwriting for years. His spelling and punctuation is also not strong. We work at it together, though. Thank you for the insight!!

April 11, 2008 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Allinn said...

Dear Friends,

I am connected with an organisation called The Learning People, who have launched a UK petition on the Downing Street website to reclassify dyslexia as a thinking style rather than a disability.

You can access further information about the campaign, and sign up for newsletter updates, on our blogsite at http://www.dyslexia-gift.org.uk

If you are a UK resident or ex-pat British citizen, you can sign the petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk

Please help us publicise the campaign by telling everyone you know, and by passing the word around any other relevant networking groups you subscribe to.

Our sincerest thanks,

Tatjana Lavrova

April 11, 2008 at 4:53 PM  

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