My child hates writing! What should I do?

A common concern from parents who bring their children in for educational assessment is that their child hates writing. They typically say that their child appears to understand concepts but can’t seem to put their thoughts down on paper. Is your child bright and inquisitive but doesn’t like to write? Can they remember lots of facts and tell you about something in great detail but when it comes to sitting down to write what they know, they avoid it, argue or flat out refuse

This can obviously cause difficulties, as it is a challenge to get them to complete school work, and homework becomes a battleground. What do you do?

Why does my child dislike writing? What are the possible reasons?

Firstly it’s important to figure out the reasons for your child’s aversion to writing. There could be a number of things underlying this problem, for instance:

  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Uncomfortable or awkward pencil grip
  • General difficulties or delays in language development
  • Uneven development of cognitive abilities
  • Issues with working memory or processing speed

What may be done to help my child? How might a psychologist or other professional assist?

Depending on the factors behind your child’s difficulties with writing, there may be some targeted interventions that may help. These might include occupational therapy or speech therapy for instance.

For those children who continue to have significant writing difficulties, or a specific learning disorder, there are a range of strategies to help them keep up with learning. These often involve minimising the demands of writing in order to allow them to demonstrate what they know and to complete tasks at school. These might include:

  • Using technology to facilitate their writing, such as typing their work or using voice to text software
  • Being allowed to demonstrate their knowledge in different ways, such as presenting a talk, doing a demonstration or making a model
  • Using templates or graphic organisers for written work, such as sentence starters, flow diagrams or mind maps

These types of strategies are intended to allow children to keep up with the content of what is being learned, even if their writing skills don’t match their overall abilities and understanding.

Even in our technological age of laptops, tablets and smartphones, handwriting is still an important skill. Writing by hand has been linked with deeper learning and understanding, so it is worth the effort to try to improve your child’s handwriting with intervention and practice.

My child’s difficulty with writing has been going on for some time and not getting better. Does my child need an assessment?

Assessment can help you discover which of these factors are likely to be impacting your child, and what path to take to help them.

If you feel like your child has an unexplained difficulty with writing, a full educational assessment with Catherine Cheetham will help determine the reasons for this and result in practical recommendations to assist your child manage this issue. Contact us to find out more about the assessment process and to discuss your child’s needs.

Subscribe to our newsletter Attuned Life

Would you be interested in receiving our occasional newsletter, event information and other useful tips via e-mail?