The causes of writing difficulties vary for each child but most children simply don’t have the skills to write at a basic level and writing has advanced past their level in school.
Once a child begins to fall behind in class they can lose confidence and become resistant to writing or emotional.
Often the focus is working through the emotions your child is experiencing. Writing tasks will be explained simply and include every important detail for how your child can improve their writing. Immediate success and a failure-free experience will begin to lift their ability to believe they can write.
It is essential to understand the ‘why’ of writing!
This may, for example, be because your child is afraid to make spelling errors or they feel overwhelmed by how much they have to write.
In many cases any writing will begin with pictures because this takes the pressure away from having to think of an idea, remember an event or choose where to begin.
Not all children will learn writing from class, some will become worried about what their friends think. It can be very concerning for a child to look across and see a page of writing that another child is completing easily and quickly while they struggle.
Often children don’t realise though that a fast or a long-writer is not necessarily writing well! Their friend may actually just be a confident child who is having a go but not writing well.
The following is a general guide to classroom expectations.
Ages 6-7 Children should be able to write approximately half a page. Usually they will be writing about their own lives or stories.There is likely to be 50% spelling errors but sentences should be forming and use of capitals and full stops should be consistent.
Ages 8-10 Children are now expected to be able to read a passage or questions and then complete the associated activity independently.Their ideas should be expressed easily and spelling is expected to be 80% accurate, especially with common high use words.
Ages 11-13 At this age children are expected to be able to write critically and begin to form complex arguments. It is common for children to be writing persuasive writing pieces and expressing their opinions.
Spelling should be 90-95% accurate and punctuation should be approaching 100% accuracy.
Writing is one of the most complicated skills for a child to learn. Certainly some children can simply begin writing but for others it is difficult.
Consider for a moment just a few concepts that are involved in writing a few sentences:
It is therefore not surprising that many children have difficulty with writing. Writing difficulties stretch from mild weaknesses through to children who may be experiencing other learning difficulties. There are many cognitive or thinking skills behind writing, and just some of these include the following:
Step 1: You will be asked to complete a history form. This form will ask you as a parent to share your observations related to your child’s writing skills and there will be a checklist which will include numerous questions about your child’s abilities in the following areas:
Step 2: During the assessment, John will review your child’s history form to discuss what assessment he is proposing. Your child can be a part of this process if appropriate or younger children can relax in the waiting room.
Step 3: After this, John will carry out the assessment with your child where he will consider the following areas:
The following areas will also be checked where appropriate:
Step 4: All results will be discussed and explained with parents and your child where appropriate.
Step 5: A support and treatment plan will be discussed.
It is essential to investigate the causes of any potential writing difficulties that your child may be experiencing. Obviously, it is important to ensure they keep up with their peers as the demands of writing progress through the years in schooling. Provided these skills are targeted early, children can typically get back on track with their writing.