The word WRITE spelled out with 3 child standing around it.

Common Handwriting Concerns

Common Handwriting Concerns & How to Address Them

Learning to write can be both fun and challenging. By recognizing common handwriting concerns, you can help your child master this uniquely complex skill. Listed below are frequently observed handwriting concerns and tips from the TheraPLACE occupational therapy team on how to correct them.

The word WRITE spelled out with 3 child standing around it.

  • Grip: By the age of 5 a child should have established a dynamic tripod grasp for writing utensils. This grasp allows increased fine motor precision and control.
    • Use short utensils to encourage tripod grasp
    • Help establish developmentally appropriate grasp by placing colored dots on pencil and on child’s fingers so they can match colors by placing their finger over corresponding color.
Pencil grip diagram

Primitive, Transitional, and Functional Grip Chart

  • Hand Strength: Having adequate hand strength is vital for grasp, pressure, and control.
    • Playing with/ manipulating/ pinching play-doh and theraputty is a great way to increase hand strength.
    • Using spray bottles can be another way to build hand strength.
  • Memory: Remembering all the letters of the alphabet is a foundational skill for handwriting.
    • Try pairing a movement activity with learning letters like an obstacle course.
  • Letter formation: Avoiding overlaps and gaps makes for legible writing.
    • Wet Dry Try activity described earlier in this newsletter.
    • Practice, practice, practice. Handwriting worksheets that allow children to trace and copy provide letter formation practice.
  • Sizing: Sizing trouble decreases with increased fine motor precision and control.
    • Use lined paper, especially double lined paper gives children a point of reference for where letters should start and end.
  • Pressure: The amount of pressure is a balance; too much and your child may fatigue and too little you may not be able to read the handwriting.
    • If your child’s pressure is too hard you can place foampaper or a mousepad under the child's paper and instruct them not to poke through the paper when writing.
    • If your child’s pressure is too light you can add a pencil weight to the pencil to assist pressure.

If you have any questions or would like additional information about this topic, please feel free to contact us at 502-893-1380.

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