Discovering Vision Therapy Blog

Children with Writing Difficulties May Not Have Learning Problems

Writing difficulties may not be a learning problem.

Children with writing difficulties face enormous challenges in school.  The skill is essential for creative writing, test-taking, and simple communication (and no, kids, texting doesn't count as a writing skill.)Unfortunately, when a child has problems with their writing skills, we all too often thinking they have a learning problem.  This may be the case, but parents and educators should also consider the possibility of undetected vision problems.

These are vision issues that evade typical vision screenings performed by school, and they can have a profound effect on your child's ability to write.

Why Your Child May Be Struggling in Writing (including spelling)

Writing involves both handwriting and composition skills. It is necessary for vision to lead the hand for handwriting and this can be very difficult if the student cannot see well. In fact, often you can see in the handwriting where the student stopped looking or became fatigued.

There are several vision-related skills that are critical to good handwriting that may be underdeveloped in a student with vision problems.

  • Poor peripheral awareness may cause difficulty writing straight on a page.
  • Visualization is also important in handwriting because the student needs to remember what different words look like in order to reproduce them on the page.
  • Spatial concepts are important in handwriting to know and plan how words will go together.
  • Good laterality and directionality are important to differentiate similarly-shaped letters in different orientations (e.g. b, d, p, q).
  • Visualization is also critical for writing composition because the student needs to be able to organize and re-organize the composition in his or her head.
  • Visual recall, the ability to create a visual image based on past visual experience, is a visualization skill that is critical for spelling. In spelling, it is the ability to create a mental image of a word without being able to look at the word.

How Do You Pinpoint a Vision Problem?

Reading through these issues, you can see that there may be overlap in some areas.  Your child may have a number of different vision problems, and the ripple effect can be felt throughout their studies.

To pinpoint exactly what types of vision problems your child may have, consult a developmental optometrist for a functional vision test.

The Vision and Learning Guide from The Vision Therapy Center. Learn how undetected vision problems can impact a child's ability to learn.  Download your free Vision and Learning Guide.


Posted by   Greg Mischio