Importance of Legible Handwriting
How important is good handwriting? Although keyboarding may serve as a compensatory tool for illegible handwriting in some children, handwriting is still necessary for most assignments, homework, and tests, including standardized tests (high school achievement and college preparatory). The importance of good, clear handwriting is further emphasized by the inclusion of a mandatory written component on the SAT.1 Thus, legible handwriting continues to be an important skill for children to develop in elementary school to attain proficiency in schoolwork. Children who experience difficulty mastering handwriting may avoid writing and develop a mind-set that they cannot write, which will contribute to decreased development of composition skills. Overall, handwriting instruction in the elementary classroom will contribute to students being able to focus more on ideas and composition, and not so much on the mechanics of writing in producing assignments.2
The Role of OT in Handwriting Instruction
One important area of occupation for children is education. Because written communication is required to meet educational goals, learning to write legibly is a critical skill. Problems with handwriting performance can interfere with the ability to succeed in educational activities and are among the most common reasons for referrals of school-age children to occupational therapy.3
According to Benbow,4 children generally fall into one of three classification groups in response to handwriting instruction. Group A children learn to write well regardless of the methods used in teaching. Group C children are unable to learn handwriting, no matter what interventions are used in teaching. Group B children fall between the two extremes and will learn to write legibly with good teaching strategies. Appropriate intervention or compensatory strategies should enable most children in groups A and B to learn to write legibly. For Group C children, compensatory strategies must be considered to allow for functional written communication.
The occupational therapist typically looks at the child's occupational performance in the classroom and designs interventions to improve performance skills, which may include developing legible handwriting. Taken from www.aota.org