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Handwriting: Cracking the Code and Mastering the Skill

There are many children who have difficulty mastering handwriting. This should not come as a surprise as handwriting is a complex skill. Difficulty can cause frustration and distress, which can negatively affect a child's desire to write.  It can also cause anxiety for parents and teachers as they watch a child struggle to put his or her ideas on paper.  Not all handwriting difficulties are the same, or caused by the same factors, and any assessment of the problem needs to take into account the age and experience of the child. 

Hemispheres is frequently asked to assess and provide targeted intervention for children who have difficulty forming their letters and writing neatly. Other areas of concern can include legibility combined with comfort and speed in writing.  Many of the children we see have all ready been taught letter formation at school, but for many reasons are struggling to write well and fast enough to support their acquisition of learning.


How can Hemispheres Help?

Hemispheres observes and assesses a child's handwriting by watching how they write and what they are able to produce.  For many children, writing and copying problems are due to the retention of several Primitive (infant) reflexes, which interfere with eye hand co-ordination, knowing where to start and finish when writing letters, judging the size and position of letters and knowing when to use the right diagonal or horizontal lines to join letters together.   If these reflexes remain active in school age children they can prevent them from developing automatic handwriting skills. Tis in turn will inhibit fluency and speed.

Hemispheres has developed a way of assessing the relevant reflexes and by using specific movements to develop the necessary motor skills. We often combine this with The Hemispheres Think Write Handwriting Programme. This two pronged approach means we can often help children improve their eye hand co-ordination, letter formation, legibility, comfort and speed when handwriting. 


Learning Difficulties related to writing problems:





Leo, my nine year old son, who is on the autistic spectrum and has significant learning delays, is just starting to be able to write thanks to The Hemispheres Think Write Programme. He enjoys the movements involved with the animals in the various letter groups, and it was about a year ago that he managed his first independent cow lead in line. Because he associates the writing with the movements and the animals, it makes it all a bit more fun, and it also enables him to make associations that encourage him to write. For Leo, making marks on paper held no interest at all. The key was to motivate him with fun activities and to help him understand why writing might be functionally useful, as well as working to build up the various muscle groups in his hands that would make writing possible. All of the Hemispheres exercises put together have made writing a possibility for Leo. We are really excited about this.  Veronique, Parent, London





Handwriting:  Cracking the Code and Mastering the Skill
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