Handwriting

Handwriting for life

Our children are growing up in an era where keyboarding skills are starting to dominate handwriting skills. It has even been suggested that handwriting skills are no longer essential now that electronic devices which enable us to communicate in written form are freely available. However, handwriting skills play an important role in a child’s development and failure to actively develop those skills will have consequences far beyond an inability to write by hand.

Handwriting enables learning

Handwriting skills began when your child first picks up a crayon and begins to scribble. Handwriting helps to develop fine motor skills essential for a myriad of tasks including writing, drawing, doing up a button, tying shoelaces, peeling vegetables, tying a fishing fly – anything that requires finger dexterity.

The simple act of holding a pen or pencil properly, guiding it along the paper in many directions to create letters and words, and exerting various degrees of pressure, is no small feat. The level of brain activity required to complete this task has no equivalence in keyboarding. When it comes to brain development, the difference between keyboarding and handwriting has been likened to the difference between playing the triangle and playing the violin.

Handwriting skills help children learn to read

English is not the easiest language when it comes to reading and spelling – there are many rules, and exceptions to those rules, to learn. Recent brain scan studies have shown that early handwriting skill development provides a child with stronger and longer lasting recognition of the characters of the alphabet, suggesting that the specific movements memorised when learning how to write aid the visual identification of graphic shapes. Keyboarding doesn’t have this effect.

Handwriting skills help children learn anything

Pictures of the brain have also illustrated that handwriting activates massive regions of the brain involved in thinking, language and working memory – the system responsible for temporarily storing and managing information. Primary school children have also been found to write more words, write them faster, and express more ideas when writing by hand verses with a keyboard.

Difficulties with writing?

A writing learning disability (known as dysgraphia) is a neurologic disorder which makes the act of writing difficult. It is generally characterised by a profound inability to form meaningful symbols. The child with dysgraphia produces distorted or incorrect letters in his or her attempt to write. This can result partly from:

Visual-spatial difficulties: trouble processing what the eye sees
Language processing difficulties: trouble processing and making sense of what the ear hears

A disorder of written expression is more than just poor handwriting (which could be as a result of a developmental coordination disorder); it involves problems relating to grammar, punctuation, and poor paragraph organisation, as well as excessively poor handwriting.

Prevalence rates for dysgraphia are difficult to establish because it is almost always accompanied by other learning disorders. Many children who are identified as having dysgraphia also have dyslexia.

What are the warning signs of dysgraphia?

Just having bad handwriting doesn’t mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. However, since writing is a developmental process—children learn the motor skills needed to write while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper—difficulties can also overlap.

Dysgraphia Symptoms

As with all learning disabilities, dysgraphia is a lifelong challenge, although how it manifests may change over time. A child or young person with this disorder can benefit from specialist assistance.

SPELD NZ

Providing specialised assessment, tuition and support for people with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities nationwide.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • East Auckland
  • North Shore
  • Rodney
  • South Auckland
  • West Auckland

Specialities

  • Handwriting
  • Maths
  • Reading
  • Teacher & Parent Education
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
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Academy of Learning

Specialists in Dyslexia, Academy of Learning provides quality one-on-one tuition in Reading, Written Language, Spelling, Handwriting, Mathematics and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).

Location

  • Rodney

Specialities

  • Handwriting
  • Reading
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
  • Writing and Spelling
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QRS Therapy 4 Children

Our team of professional specialists offer therapy for children and young people between the ages of new born to 18 years affected by sensory, motor, communication, learning and behavioural difficulties.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • East Auckland
  • North Shore
  • Rodney
  • South Auckland
  • West Auckland

Specialities

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Brain Development & Brain Injury
  • Coordination, Motor Skills & Mobility
  • Handwriting
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Speech and Language
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Occupational Therapy for Children

Does your child have messy, illegible handwriting? Are they having difficulty with schoolwork? Are they disorganised? Is homework a stressful time for everyone? We offer assessments and occupational therapy for learning concerns, handwriting, co-ordination and motor skills. Let us help unleash your child’s potential!

Location

  • North Shore

Specialities

  • Coordination, Motor Skills & Mobility
  • Handwriting
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
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Paediatric Therapy Ltd

Paediatric Therapy Limited consists of therapists who are paediatric specialists and are dedicated to working with children to help them reach their developmental potential.

Locations

  • East Auckland
  • South Auckland

Specialities

  • Coordination, Motor Skills & Mobility
  • Handwriting
  • Special Exam / Assessment Conditions
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Paediatric Rehabilitation Services

Are you concerned about your child's development? Are you still waiting for your child to be seen in the public system? PRS provides a range of therapies for infants and children all over Auckland, and WE can come to YOU.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • East Auckland
  • North Shore
  • South Auckland
  • West Auckland

Specialities

  • Coordination, Motor Skills & Mobility
  • Fussy & Restricted Eaters
  • Handwriting
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Speech and Language
  • Testing for Learning Concerns
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Read Auckland

Read Auckland is a clinic specialising in teaching children who are struggling readers or have learning difficulties. Our programmes are evidence based & delivered by qualified remediation tutors.

Locations

  • Central Auckland
  • East Auckland

Specialities

  • Handwriting
  • Reading
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