2021 Update: Writing and Spelling

Dr. Russel Lazarus, April 25, 2021

Your child’s vision might be clear, but do they also have clear handwriting and accurate spelling? 

Vision is not just ‘20/20 sight’ but is also how the eyes and brain communicate.

Your child may have clear sight, but in order to learn and have clear handwriting and accurate spelling a child also needs well developed visual skills.

Visual skills are how the eyes and brain talk to each other and are essential to perform at school, especially for handwriting and spelling. If your child has a problem with any of their 17 visual skills the clarity of their handwriting and accuracy of their spelling could be affected.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), up to 1 every 4  children have a significant vision problem that impacts their learning and school performance.

Schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor near you who can evaluate and determine if your child’s visual skills are impacting their learning.

SEE RELATED: 2021 Update: Reading Comprehension

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How do visual problems impact the child?

Vision problems can affect a child’s reading, writing and spelling along with other aspects of learning. If your child’s vision is compromised then their academic performance may suffer.

Vision problems can impact any of these:

  • Handwriting
  • Homework completion
  • Reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Attention and concentration
  • Classroom performance
  • Visual arts

Vision skills for writing

Efficient writing is vital for taking notes, completing assignments and taking exams. Illegible handwriting can lead to proofreading mistakes, and sometimes even avoidance of writing tasks.

If your child is unable to write legibly, they may have reduced fine visual motor and visual perception skills.

Fine visual motor skills: help a child to write neatly, with appropriately sized letters. A child with poor fine visual motor skills may press too hard on the page when writing, which can lead to muscle strain and fatigue of the hand or wrist.

Visual perception: helps a child to visualize words and letters, including their size and shape. This skill triggers a subconscious motor response that  enables the child to write the letters and words on the paper. Without this skill, the ability to write legibly will be affected.

A combination of these two visual skills is necessary to ensure that the letters are written in sequence, consistently sized, within the lines, and appropriately spaced.

Vision skills for spelling

A child’s spelling abilities are affected by their visual skills in focusing and eye pursuits skills.

Focusing: allows your child to see a word with absolute clarity. If a child has poor focusing skills, they may exert too much energy in making sure the word is seen clearly, which can affect their word memory.

Eye Pursuits: enable the eyes to scan a word, with smooth binocular movements, in order to read a word accurately. Without this visual skill, a child may omit sounds in a word. These assumptions and omissions often lead to spelling mistakes.

Vision therapy and writing and spelling

Vision therapy is a personalized treatment program that involves a series of eye exercises to strengthen the eye-brain connection and improve visual skills.

It is important to treat vision problems as early as possible so that your child can achieve optimal results and reach their full potential in school.

If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule a comprehensive vision evaluation with a vision therapy eye doctor near you.

LEARN MORE:  Guide to Vision and Learning Difficulties

The doctor will be able to detect any vision problems, and will discuss how vision therapy could improve your child’s writing and spelling.