Children's handwriting assessment. 10 habits to look out for.

Handwriting assessment for children

Common handwriting difficulties and habits to look out for


As a mum, it’s natural to ask “is my child on par with their peers?” This is also a frequent question I get as a hand therapist when I am assessing a child or teenager’s handwriting. With the regular use of iPads, video games and iPhones, it is very common that our children have difficulty holding a pencil, have illegible handwriting or have a short writing endurance.

If you’re thinking of your child’s handwriting and nodding your head, I’ve collated a list of ten habits that would warrant a handwriting assessment, with one of our qualified hand therapists.

Young child struggling with handwriting

Common difficulties with handwriting: 

  1. Fatigue when writing
  2. The tip of the fingers turn white when holding a pencil
  3. Forming letters incorrectly
  4. Messy handwriting that you have difficulty reading
  5. Inadequate spacing between letters and words 
  6. Poor placement of words e.g. may be over the line 
  7. Poor posture when handwriting e.g. being hunched over 
  8. Paper moving whilst handwriting
  9. Inability to copy from the board at kinder or school
  10. Writing in the wrong direction


If your child has one or more of the above difficulties, then it is something we will assess in their initial appointments.

Various pen grips

The importance of pen grip. A non-functional pen grip may cause sore hands, excessive hand pressure, fatigue or poor movement.


A typical handwriting assessment will include:

  • A discussion of your child’s overall development, assessing their strengths and limitations
  • An assessment of each of the physical hand skills required for successful handwriting, including:
    • Muscle strength
    • Endurance
    • Muscle coordination
    • Control of movement


Melbourne Hand Rehab therapist assisting a young child with handwriting difficulties

Following the handwriting assessment, the typical treatments that we could address can provide will include: 

  • Parent education and advice
  • Suggestions for home activities that develop and strengthen handwriting skill
  • Weekly hand therapy sessions that span the school term
  • A meeting with your child’s school or kindergarten teacher, if required. 


Jess Cauchi, Hand Therapist, Melbourne Hand Rehab

By Jess Cauchi

Jessica Cauchi is an Accredited Hand Therapist (as awarded by AHTA) and a Clinic Director at our new Melbourne Hand Rehab, Caroline Springs Clinic. Jessica has a passion for providing client centred, evidence based, holistic care. Jessica works with, and educates clients about how to best manage their hand injuries and conditions to enable them to reach their identified goals.


If you have a concern about your child’s handwriting, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to help you.



For more information, call us directly on 03 9458 5166


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