We often have parents who are concerned about their children's 'inability' to write prior to school. It is important to recognise that children will learn to write when they are ready and able to do so. Most children are ready for forming letter's, writing words and sentences during their first year of primary school.
However, prior to this stage it is extremely important to develop the foundation blocks for writing. This takes time, with play and reading books being the most important.
* Hand and finger strength: An ability to exert force against resistance using the hands and fingers that allows the necessary muscle power for controlled movement of the pencil.
* Crossing the mid-line: The ability to cross the imaginary line running from a personís nose to pelvis that divides the body into left and right sides.
* Pencil grasp: The efficiency of how the pencil is held, allowing age appropriate pencil movement generation.
* Hand eye coordination: The ability to process information received from the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands in the performance of a task such as handwriting.
* Bilateral integration: Using two hands together with one hand leading (e.g. holding and moving the pencil with the dominant hand while the other hand helps by holding the writing paper).
* Upper body strength: The strength and stability provided by the shoulder to allow controlled hand movement for good pencil control.
* Object manipulation: The ability to skillfully manipulate tools (including holding and moving pencils and scissors) and controlled use of everyday tools (such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, cutlery).
* Visual perception: The brainís ability to interpret and make sense of visual images seen by the eyes, such as letters and numbers.
* Hand dominance: The consistent use of one (usually the same) hand for task performance, which allows refined skills to develop.
* Hand division: Using just the thumb, index and middle finger for manipulation, leaving the fourth and little finger tucked into the palm stabilizing the other fingers but not participating.*