Health Resources

Handwriting Difficulty (Children)

What Is Handwriting Difficulty

Handwriting is a multi-faceted process encompassing sensory-motor, visual-perceptual and cognitive skills. Challenges in any of these areas can make learning to write more challenging and slower for some children compared to their peers.

Causes Of Handwriting Difficulty

Various factors can contribute to a child's handwriting difficulties. These may include:

  • Limited postural control and muscle tone
  • Underdeveloped fine motor skills
  • Challenges with bilateral integration (using both sides of the brain and body effectively)
  • Problems in visual perception and visual-motor integration (coordinating eyes and hands)
  • Difficulties with visual functions or tracking
  • Cognitive challenges
Signs And Symptoms Of Handwriting Difficulty
  • Awkward posture when writing
  • Inconsistent use of a dominant hand
  • Unusual or inefficient pencil grip
  • Excessive or insufficient pressure on the pencil
  • Trouble forming letters
  • Challenges with letter size, alignment, and spacing
  • Reversing letters or mirror writing
  • Experiencing hand fatigue
  • Slow and laborious writing
  • Messy and illegible writing

Note: Some signs are common in pre-schoolers just beginning to write. Consultation with an occupational therapist is advisable for concerns.

Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Handwriting Difficulty

  • Provide a variety of drawing materials and surfaces for free expression and practice
  • Encourage tactile experiences like tracing shapes or letters in textured materials
  • Introduce activities that promote motor skills, such as mazes, dot-to-dot or crafting
  • Offer toys that involve manipulating small parts to build fine motor skills
  • Utilise play dough for activities that enhance hand and finger strength
  • Incorporate playground activities for overall physical development
  • Implement games that encourage pushing and pulling
  • Engage in animal walk activities for full-body coordination
  • Use games that involve spatial awareness and pattern replication 
Last updated on
Best viewed with Chrome 79.0, Edge 112.0, Firefox 61.0, Safari 11
National University Health System
  • National University Hospital
  • Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
  • Alexandra Hospital
  • Jurong Community Hospital
  • National University Polyclinics
  • Jurong Medical Centre
  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
  • National University Heart Centre, Singapore
  • National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore
  • NUHS Diagnostics
  • NUHS Pharmacy
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Back to Top