“Bad handwriting should be regarded as a sign of an imperfect education.”
Handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults. Writing by hand stimulates the brain more than typing. This is due to the fact that it requires more complicated physical and cognitive abilities. Handwriting stimulates the visual perception of letters, hence it enhances reading fluency. It leads to success in other areas as it has a beneficial influence on grades.
People are judged by their handwriting. Long after graduation, good penmanship is still vital. Writing a shopping list, composing a birthday card, jotting down a phone message, completing a form at the bank, or filling out immigration documents are all aspects of our daily lives that require handwriting. Handwriting is essential for taking notes. Students of all ages must take notes by hand since it increases their focus, comprehension, and performance. Notes taken by students must be self-legible; otherwise, they are useless.
Handwriting is essential to the production of innovative, well-crafted content, for it affects both the flow and quality of the composition. A child can focus on the higher-level features of writing composition and content when he or she can create legible writing with ease, speed, and minimal conscious effort. Children who have mastered it are likely to be more skilled and imaginative writers.
Numerous standardised evaluations are based on written work, especially timed writing examinations. Without legible and rapid handwriting, pupils will miss learning opportunities, underachieve, and possibly fall behind. Many formal qualifications continue to evaluate candidates primarily based on their handwriting.
The Impact of Electronic Devices
Technology is often a wonderful thing. There are numerous possibilities accessible for both adults and children, including options for work, play, and pleasure. By design, technology is captivating and leaves users wanting more. Children and adults alike use smartphones and tablets for a variety of reasons, but is there a downside to spending too much time on electronic devices?
Despite there being a variety of positives to technology, there are also various negatives too. One, in particular, is its negative effects on writing. Academic writing quality, in general, has been decreased because of the application of short forms in writing. This has substantially been linked with the use of short text messaging applications. Children’s reliance on electronics often has negative effects on handwriting, too. As children reach school age, they are required to possess particular pencil-holding and -use skills. They are also expected to possess a vast array of other functional abilities. While handwriting may appear to be a simple undertaking, a wide range of core abilities are necessary for its successful completion. For example:
• Being able to sit at a desk and write requires children to use core strength for maintaining their position in the chair.
• Wrist mobility is required for maneuvering the pencil.
• Shoulder stability is required to stabilise their arm.
• Finger dexterity for moving their pencil accurately.
Children also require visual skills to attend to the board and/or teacher. They must first see what they are expected to do and then focus their attention to their papers in order to complete the prescribed activity. The consequence of children’s early exposure to electronic gadgets is that these core abilities are not established before they enter school.
One study published in the journal ‘Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics’ investigated children who were five years old and had no developmental delays. Forty of the children used touchscreen tablets for more than 60 minutes each week for a minimum of a month. The kids were provided with a 24-week fine motor activity home program that also had them use tablets. Another 40 kids (the same age) didn’t have the same amount of tablet use as the first set of children did, and they were given a 24-week program that consisted of manual play activities.
Once the program was over, the researchers found using a touchscreen tablet for a lengthy period of time may be disadvantageous to preschool kids’ fine motor development.
Postscript: The initial approach is to restrict screen time. Playing your children’s favourite tablet game in “real life” can help bridge the gap between outside play and tablet gaming. As children become more comfortable with gross motor play, they will desire to participate in these activities more frequently. You can discuss other suggestions with your child’s paediatric occupational therapist during your child’s upcoming paediatric occupational therapy session.
The writer has a doctorate in English Literature. [email protected]