Help is at hand for children with poor handwriting

Little is known by parents on how to help their child struggling with handwriting. Schools may be willing to provide the necessary support with additional worksheets to practice. But parents can remain baffled as to why the effort is not being translated into the necessary legible script promised by additional practise. The most worrying aspect - even in this digital age - is that speed and legibility of handwriting is a much needed skill for future exam success.

As a therapist specialising in learning difficulties I work with the most challenging of cases and over the years have transformed those with weak handwriting to beautiful cursive script of speed and legibility using Handwriting Lab.

Handwriting Lab is a programme for parents who wish to help their child bridge this gap and as an alternative to worksheets provided by schools. We assess four key areas : posture, bilateral coordination, sensory perception and arm/hand and finger muscle strength. Without these skills in place no amount of worksheets will help the struggling writer.

The following checks are the guidelines we use when assessing:

  • Do they have sufficient strength in their arms for larger movements (gross motor) such as rope turning when skipping? Gross motor movements need to be properly developed for good handwriting

  • How are their throwing/catching skills? Handwriting requires eye tracking where the eyes move with flow without moving the head.

  • Can they stand on one leg and balance for a count of more than 30? Balance/ core strength is often overlooked. Children with weak core muscles can be seen slouching at their desks.

  • Right/ left body awareness- being able to touch their right hand to their left knee followed by left hand to right knee. Being able to coordinate in this way shows both parts of the brain are being used and information between the two sides is being communicated.

  • Is there enough strength in the fingers and wrist? You can tell if your child has insufficient strength in either of these areas because they will tire quickly when writing, drag their pencil or the writing pressure is too weak.

If you identify with any of the above then Handwriting Lab is for your child.

Where are HandWriting Lab Classes held? How long before we see an improvement?

HandWriting Lab classes are held in: Pinner/Eastcote, Northolt and Northwood. Enrol your child for two terms for the best results. We use a combination of motor sensory therapy to improve posture, bilateral coordination, sensory perception, arm/hand/finger muscle strength and traditional Occupational Therapy type methods to measure improvements. We work with children age 5 to 10 in small groups (group size 10) The work they do in the session is followed up by 10 minutes of daily practise specific to their needs and an overall Perceptu-Motor programme towards the end. Within just two terms you will see the transition from spidery handwriting to clear legible script.

For more information call– Usha Patel HandWriting Lab founder on 07766 837 616. SEN therapist at Raviv Practice London. Sc

Andrew Moore