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The Importance and Achievability of Teaching Handwriting in Special Education Settings

The Importance and Achievability of Teaching Handwriting in Special Education Settings

Handwriting was once one of the three main subjects taught in schoolhouses along with reading and arithmetic. For centuries, it was vital for properly educated children to know both how to print and how to write in cursive. Good penmanship was seen as a reflection of good breeding, higher education, and general manners. Even in the 20th century, handwriting skills were taught in nearly every school across America. However, today, handwriting is seen as less important than it once was, and keyboarding skills are seen as much more important for future job skills. Parents of all children, including children with special needs, may be wondering how much emphasis they should be placing on this skill with their children.

Handwriting Skills & Common Core in Public School

Common core has taken over in public schools across America. This method of learning tests children’s handwriting in kindergarten and first grade but then switches mainly to keyboarding skills for the remainder of the years. Therefore, teachers believe they must place more of an emphasis on teaching good typing techniques rather than on working one-on-one with children to develop neat handwriting.

However, numerous psychologists and neuroscientists differ dramatically in this viewpoint. They see handwriting as a skill that helps children on a wider educational level than one may initially think. When children write letters by hand, an interesting motor/brain connection develops. These children find it easier to recognize letters and words and typically have better reading skills than their keyboard-learning counterparts do. In fact, studies have even shown that children who practice handwriting have an easier time than their counterparts do when formulating ideas. A 2012 study proved that three major areas of the brain are changed for the better when the individual writes a letter rather than types it. Studies have also shown that cursive is a wonderful skill for people who have difficulty reading or writing because cursive writing is surprisingly easier to read and write than printing is.

Of course, this holds a variety of implications for children with disabilities. Handwriting can help children who struggle with fine motor skills. While children with disabilities may struggle with holding a pencil, eye-hand coordination or hand strength, research shows that teaching handwriting to these individuals is vitally important. It will certainly help them with reading in the future and with building successful future lives as adults.
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