Handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults (Feder & Majnemer, 2007). Even in the age of technology, handwriting remains the primary tool of communication and knowledge assessment for students in the classroom. The demands for handwriting are great, whether in the classroom or beyond. A 1992 study (McHale & Cermak) found that 85 percent of all fine motor time in year 2, 4 and 6 classrooms was spent on paper and pencil activities. A more recent study (Marr, Cermak, Cohn & Henderson, 2003) noted that kindergarten children are now spending 42 percent of their fine motor time on paper and pencil activities, and that children spend up to 50% of their school day completing writing tasks.
Australian children spend approximately 1200 hours a year at school. Imagine if you had to spend 600 hours a year doing something that you found to be extremely difficult and caused you to have low self esteem! Attending school would be a real chore, and children may refuse to do school work or homework, or possibly become disruptive in class.Research literature extensively documents the consequences of poor handwriting on early literacy and academic performance. Children who experience difficulty mastering this skill [handwriting] may avoid writing and decide that they cannot write, leading to arrested writing development (Graham, Harris and Fink, 2000). Handwriting is critical to the production of creative and well-written text (Graham & Harris, 2005) affecting both fluency and the quality of the composition. Illegible handwriting also has secondary effects on school achievement and self-esteem (Engel-Yeger, Nagakur - Yanuv & Rosenblum, 2009; Malloy-Miller, Polatajko & Anstett, 1995).
Research indicates that examiners assign lower marks for written work that has poor legibility, even though it may contain equal quality of content compared to neat and legible work.Children need to be able to write automatically so that they can focus on other aspects of writing such as choosing words, spelling correctly, constructing sentences and composing written text.
At Specialists On Hand our therapists will provide a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan including activities or modifications the child can use or perform at home and in the classroom to improve their handwriting skills.
As a teacher if you have a need for pencil grips or other handwriting equipment you can contact Pencil Grips Plus