Learning to write sentences and words correctly and clearly is an essential focus for children in their elementary school years. All younger children have some difficulty when trying to perfect their penmanship. But, if you notice your child's handwriting is unclear or distorted consistently, that could be due to a learning disability known as dysgraphia and you'll want to set up a couple of school consultations so you can sit down with their teacher and see how you both can help.
Signs of Dysgraphia
Typically, dysgraphia is identified when children learn to write, however, it could stay hidden until they're in their adult years, especially in mild cases. Children with dysgraphia sometimes have difficulty with other fine motor skills such as tying their shoes. But, this isn't always the case.
Your child may be struggling with dysgraphia or a handwriting problem if they:
- Have messy handwriting
- Have shaky handwriting
- Have poor pencil grip
- Have light handwriting
- Aren't forming letters properly
- Aren't writing in a straight line
- Aren't writing with one hand and holding their paper with the other
- Aren't making letters the right size
- Aren't holding and controlling a writing tool like a pencil
- Aren't maintaining the correct posture and right arm position for writing
- Aren't adding the correct amount of pressure with a writing tool on the paper
Difficulty forming letters could make it hard for your child to learn to spell. This is why many children with dysgraphia are bad spellers. They might also write slower than other children which could affect how well they're able to express themselves in their writing.
If your child is struggling with dysgraphia, it doesn't mean they aren't smart. It also doesn't mean they're being lazy. They just need extra support and help to improve. Talk with their pediatric occupational therapist for suggestions.