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My Teen Still Writes Like a Child. What Can We Do?

My Teen Still Writes Like a Child. What Can We Do?

If your teen's handwriting is illegible or inconsistent, it’s natural to feel concerned. Today, teens spend quite a bit of their time typing on digital devices. However, neat, legible writing is still important.

Sloppy handwriting in teens is sometimes a sign of a developmental difference. At PediaPlex, we offer several therapies in one location to help children and teens with developmental differences, and their families thrive.

PediaPlex offers parents of teens with handwriting difficulties resources to support their child.  

Our occupational therapists can perform a handwriting evaluation to assess components of your teen’s writing. This helps to discover what might be leading to illegible writing. 

Understanding handwriting evaluations

Writing requires multiple components, including coordination, core strength, fine motor skills, and hand strength. When there’s an issue with any of these components, writing may appear sloppy or difficult to read. 

Handwriting evaluations consider the important set of skills required for writing. If your teen struggles with letter formation, hold their pencil awkwardly, or their handwriting is generally sloppy, occupational therapy could offer substantial benefits. 

It's important to recognize that good handwriting involves a complex interplay of physical and cognitive skills, which requires time and practice to develop proficiency.

Identifying handwriting issues

Recognizing the signs of handwriting difficulties is the first step toward intervention. Signs that your teen might be struggling include handwriting that is:

Additionally, some teens struggling with writing may try to avoid writing tasks altogether. Any of these signs suggest that your child might be struggling with writing. 

Potential issues might range from needing to slow down and focus, to more complex challenges like visual-motor integration difficulties, weak hand strength, or inadequate posture during writing.

A path to support

If you suspect your teen faces handwriting challenges, engage with their teacher to gain insights into your teen’s writing habits and inquire about any concerns they've observed. Supporting your child at home by creating an environment conducive to practicing and improving handwriting can also help. 

Seek an occupational therapy evaluation. PediaPlex occupational therapists can identify the root causes of your teen’s handwriting difficulties and create a therapy plan tailored to your teen.

Factors influencing handwriting difficulties

Several factors contribute to handwriting challenges. Effective writing requires a complex coordination of the eyes, hands, body posture, and cognitive processes. Our occupational therapists can assess various abilities, including postural support, hand strength, fine motor skills, and visual perception. Deficiencies in any of these areas can negatively impact your teen’s ability to write clearly. 

Consequences of poor handwriting

Despite the benefit of digital tools, handwriting remains an important skill in education. Many schools still rely on handwritten assignments and tests for evaluation. Poor handwriting can lead to frustration, lower academic performance, and a tendency to avoid writing-related tasks. Strengthening your teen’s writing skills enables them to express themselves creatively and efficiently. Our team can help your teen build their confidence and skill in handwriting.

How occupational therapy can help

Occupational therapy is not just a remedial step; it's a proactive measure to enhance your child's handwriting skills. Through individualized attention, an occupational therapist addresses specific challenges your teen faces. 

This could involve exercises to improve hand strength, strategies for better posture, or techniques for effective letter formation. At PediaPlex, handwriting evaluations pinpoint the exact areas of difficulty, which paves the way for a targeted therapy plan.

Handwriting struggles don’t need to define your child's academic journey or limit self-expression. With the right support, including the expertise of an occupational therapist, your teen can overcome these hurdles. To learn more, and to inquire about scheduling a handwriting evaluation, contact our office today.

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