Handwriting Delays May Indicate Learning Disorders

Children with learning challenges experience handwriting delays at a younger age, study shows.

The study, published in the Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics journal, used an effective handwriting screening tool to evaluate the accuracy and speed of children’s handwriting.

Early intervention may prevent secondary problems that are often associated with poor handwriting, such as academic underachievement and low self-esteem.

Teachers and parents frequently attribute poor handwriting to laziness or lack of motivation which can lead to frustration and disappointment for the child.

Repeated failures and frustration will likely affect the child’s motivation which may also contribute to inadequate handwriting. Researchers describe this as vicious cycle for the child struggling with handwriting difficulties.

Handwriting and Learning Disorders

Handwriting delays have been shown to be associated with developmental disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, Developmental Coordinator Disorder, and other learning disorders.

If children cannot write fast enough or correctly during kindergarten, they often struggle by the time they reach 2nd or 3rd grade. Children’s letter formation must be fast enough to remember spelling patterns while simultaneously keeping their train of thought.

Early occupational or physical therapy interventions have been shown to be effective with children who struggle with poor handwriting. If not treated early, poor handwriting could be detrimental to later schooling.

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