Does your verbal child struggle to get words written down? When it's time to write, does your child come up with a million excuses, need to use the restroom, get hungry, or maybe even disappear altogether? This is common, believe it or not. After all, writing is a multi-faceted skill that becomes overwhelming for kids with learning problems. Of course, there's a reason for this. Writing entails three distinct subgroups that need to be mastered, which can be a challenge for any student. Add visual and auditory processing issues, and you get a fire that's been doused with fuel. Sadly, its the child who suffers. Following are the three basic subgroups of writing that must be mastered - in succession - for your child to become a proficient writer 1. Motor skills - your child's ability to sit and hold a pencil as well as use proper muscles to form letters, words, and paragraphs. 2. Perceptual skills - your child's ability to perceive the symbols necessary for writing and place them in the appropriate spots. 3. Processing skills - your child's ability to formulate organized, flowing, and meaningful ideas and put them into print that can be read and understood by others. There is always a hierarchy to learning, so of course, these skills need to be mastered in this order.
All too often, well-meaning people will tell you to do something like create an outline or make writing webs to help organize ideas. This is all great, but you have to go back and make sure that motor skills and perceptual skills are in place before attempting this higher-level processing skill.
If your child struggles to write, do a quick motor skills check to see if something is amiss. Following is a quick motor skills check you can do to see if your child is ready to write. 1. Posture - is your child sitting up straight? 2. Proper pencil grip 3. The ability to form legible letters/words 4. Words are printed on the lines provided 5. Endurance - your child can write more than just a few words 6. Your child can "snap" fingers with ease 7. Tracing and coloring - your child can trace figures and color neatly 8. Puzzles - your child can fit puzzle pieces together 9. Cutting - your child can cut in a straight line If your child is weak in any of these areas, don't worry. You can always go back and strengthen these skills. And of course, remember that this is just the first step in helping your child write. After all, any learning foundation must be build one micro-skill at a time!