Kid-Eze Therapy Services

Handwriting – Dispelling the Myths

The following facts have been based on current research, although it should be pointed out that much of the handwriting literature is inconclusive. The following myths are ones we frequently come across.

MYTH: If the student demonstrates poor sitting posture, it will affect their handwriting.
FACT: Although feet flat on the floor and forearms resting comfortably on the table is strongly encouraged by both therapists and educators, a comprehensive review of the literature fails to reveal a superior posture at this stage.

MYTH: A poor or immature pencil grip will affect a student’s handwriting.
FACT:  Pencil grip in isolation does not necessitate treatment for handwriting difficulties, but should be remedied if fatigue is also a factor.

MYTH: A child with poor fine motor skills will also have poor handwriting.
FACT: Evidence linking fine motor control to poor handwriting is inconclusive. Factors such as poor visual perceptual abilities also show little relationship to handwriting. Factors such as visual-motor, motor planning, and tactile awareness of finger functioning appear to be more closely related to handwriting.

MYTH: Low self-esteem does not interfere with one’s handwriting abilities.
FACT: For children with specific learning difficulties, handwriting performance may be affected by performance anxiety. Avoidance of an activity that the child receives very little positive feedback from, even when tremendous effort is exerted, seems hardly surprising.

MYTH: There’s no point trying to correct the student’s writing once they reach secondary college.
FACT: It is never too late to address a student’s handwriting, particularly if the student is highly motivated to do something about it.

MYTH: The student doesn’t see there’s a problem with their handwriting, or they simply don’t want to do anything about it, so there’s nothing that can be done.
FACT: This is simply not true! A motivational approach can be used to spark the student’s interest. Also, working in collaboration with the student to identify problematic issues (at the initial assessment) is often beneficial for those students lacking insight into their handwriting issues. For instance, sharing with the student why handwriting is important, why specific areas need to be addressed, and what can be done about them, may spur an initial sense of trust. A student’s interest in writing may increase when treatment includes varied and new activities, encouragement and reinforcement, and achievable goals. Allowing the child success, choices, and responsibility are empowering and motivating forces leading toward more functional and legible writing.

MYTH: A student should use a computer if their handwriting is difficult to read or if they have really slow handwriting.
FACT: A student may have trouble accessing the keyboard proficiently, which can often mean they are slower to use the computer than they are at writing. Hence, finding the right typing program for the student is essential to develop their skills in this area, before they are ready to use it as an alternative medium for writing. Use of a voice recorder or a scribe, although not always practical, are other alternative mediums which can be used until the student becomes quicker at typing. We have also found out about an exciting and easy way to use ‘Microsoft Word’ to record the student’s voice; this is readily played back by teachers when it is time to correct the work. Just ask us about this!

An example of how we have helped

The following is a before and after example of how our assessment and treatment works.

Before treatment
Handwriting example before treatment

After treatment
Handwriting example after treatment