How to help child with writing if they hate it or have Dysgraphia

 How to Motivate A Child to write:

First, let us understand why your child might not show interest in writing and then see what we can do to overcome it.

1. Underdeveloped Fine Motor Skills : 

Fine motor skills are nothing but the skills that help the child move muscles in their fingers and hands in a systematic manner. Writing puts a lot of pressure on the fingers and wrist, and for the child to handle that pressure he or she should develop fine motor skills.

2. Cramped grip: 

The cramped grip is nothing but the child is putting a lot of pressure on the fingers while holding or gripping and the position is stiff. This may cause pain in the hands they become sore very quickly.

3. Not done much of visual perceptive activity: 

Visual perception means identifying the gaps between the letters and maintaining correct spacing. If there is no prior practice the child may feel difficulty in maintaining hand and eye coordination which results in letters of different sizes, spacing issues, and so on.

4. Improper posture: 

If the sitting posture or the paper position to the body is not correct like the kids may bend their neck too close to the paper or they are not keeping their back straight etc. while writing results in improper posture causing them to get tired easily.

We need to make sure the above four pointers are taken care of before blaming the kid for laziness or acting smart. If we identify the issue then it will be easy to help them.

What activities can help to develop an interest in writing:

Encourage correct grip, paper body position: Make the child sit on a chair that is comfortable, with feet straight on the floor, and put a table of correct height so that the child's hand position is not improper. Make sure the child is gripping the pencil in the correct way and not applying too much pressure. The grip may vary from kid to kid but just encourage them to use the regular grip as much as possible by reminding them so that they will have a good grip even though it is difficult in initial days. The paper should be placed in front of the child, maybe in a tilt position whatever is comfortable for the child's hand for free movement.

Start with small: If your child absolutely hates writing always start with a smaller duration like five minutes a day which may include basic writing like matching objects or tracing a couple of letters and so on. Keep consistent at it, first week you can start with five minutes and gradually increase it weekly based on the comfort levels of the child.

Activities for development of fine motor skills: 

You can help your child by engaging them in activities like making balls or different shapes with play dough. We all know how much kids like playing with it. You can also ask them to make their favorite objects or differentiate them with different sizes. This will help them understand the size and shape visually.

Sometimes kids get confused with similar letters like 'b' and 'd' or numbers like 9 and 6. The reason is they have done less of visual perception activities. So you can give them activities like finding out the difference between two similar pictures or objects which will help them improve their visual perception. Draw simple patterns with lines and ask the child to replicate them. This will also help. You can also give them a painting brush to color pictures, which helps them handle things smoothly without pushing their fingers too hard.

If the child is not interested in writing, it does not mean that the child is being naughty but there could be an underlying reason for it. So figure out those reasons and solve their issues so that the child will automatically show interest gradually. It could also be dysgraphia that is hampering the kid.


What is dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a term that is used to describe a learning disability in writing. There are a number of components that go into the writing process. It is not as simple as it looks like picking up a pencil and writing. Let's see what are those components.

1. Visual-spatial component: Individuals with dysgraphia have difficulty in discriminating between the letters, shapes used in writing, understanding the spacing, and organizing the letters or numbers in a particular format either horizontally or vertically. School going children or sometimes even adults may have difficulty in doing this.

2. Fine Motor Component: Individuals with dysgraphia may have difficulty in gripping like holding on to the pencil, grabbing it in the wrong place, with too much or too little pressure. Letterforms will be compromised too much. And because they are having difficulty they are working too hard and stretching themselves they are going to get tired and may not be able to finish the tasks on time. 

3. Language Processing component:  Where to start writing a letter, when to change the direction, how to organize them may seem like a simple task, but for someone having writing difficulty, this is a huge discomfort in itself. Once they have written something it is hard for them to go back and self check their work as well.

How can we help individuals with dysgraphia?

1. For young children we can give papers with lines that are a little bit raised so that they can feel when they are going out of it, these are available online or at any educational stores.

2. Large spaces between the lines sometimes help when the children are positioning themselves and writing.

3. Graph paper can also be helpful to keep the children organized in their writing practice.

4. It is best not to give them a writing utensil of your choice, but allow them to choose one themselves. Very often, a child with dysgraphia will choose a thicker pencil or prefer to write with something that has a little bit of texture to it or a rubberized feel.

5. Help them find the grip that is comfortable for them so that they don't fatigue which will resolve issues in the fine motor domain.

6. Give them a sense of what it is that they are going to write about, help them find a way to organize those bits of information or keywords. You can also have them create a draft and then help them edit the draft so that they are not struggling with the finished product.

7. Give them extended time and encourage them by assuring them it is fine to write slowly so that they don't feel something is wrong. Because of all the fatigue trying to hold, process the information, and figuring out what to write it is normal to take more time.

8. If nothing is working, it is better to consult a doctor and take advice on what could be the best that should be done.

Most important of all, "LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS AS A PARENT." Don't ever compare your two children with each other or with children of friends and neighbors. No two children are similar. So lower your expectation as kids don't have any hard timeline with age and activity. Some may be marathon runners while some may be sprinters. Keep motivating them even if they have done something wrong or have not met the school standards. Don't admonish or reward them too much, for writing as this may cause other issues. Tell them it is fine, and it is just a learning process where one needs to get better day by day.