Parent's assessment

What to look for

As we have already explained handwriting is very complex which requires a child to develop a wide range of skills. A weakness or delayed development in any one of them can affect a child’s ability to develop a good handwriting style.

By taking a closer look at how the child: sits, holds their pencil, positions their paper and forms their letters/joins or general layout of their work on a page; can help you to identify the areas which may be causing them an issue. Then you can work on these areas rather than trying to work on everything at once.

An easy and effective way of assessing a child is to just watch how they tackle drawing and writing activities. Here are some examples to help you:

Tips on assessing a child’s strength for handwriting

Eye test

It is always a good idea to have a child’s eyes tested if they haven’t had them checked recently.

It is surprising how often this can prove beneficial; children, especially younger ones, will not realise they are seeing the world differently from their friends and so would never think to mention it. It is usually adults who notice something first; and then only because it has become very evident that there is some sort of problem.

Some children with good eyesight can still struggle with reading and writing as they find the words and lines constantly move and swap places as they try to work.

Coloured tinted glasses have proved to be very beneficial for some children. Research into their effect on particular cells that support eye function shows that the movement of the letters and lines on the paper, often a problem for dyslexic children, is much reduced. This can also has a positive effect on children’s handwriting ability.

Some of the larger optician chains have an Optometrist or Orthoptist who can perform a coloured overlay test for a child to assess whether coloured lenses would be beneficial. The test can be difficult for children under the age of 8 as they may choose their preferred fashion colour rather than the one best suited for them.