We currently live in the Pacific Northwest and our state happens to be one of the states that abides by the Common Core Curriculum. This means that cursive writing was basically thrown out of the window, never to be seen or heard from again; other than the occasional sigh being uttered from teachers, parents, or the counselors at my son’s school.
Elijah’s handwriting is often times nearly unreadable and he gets extremely frustrated when we try to correct him and explain to him that he has to re-write his vocabulary words. Can you say- meltdown bound? All because we are trying our best to help him with his fine motor skills and writing ability.
Writing and reading are intertwined in such a way that mastering one can have a profound effect on another. However, what about our child with Autism? He’s in first grade reading at the third grade level, but his writing absolutely sucks! I wouldn’t tell him that, but sometimes it is so bad, that I have to play the ‘Mommy can’t read this, I don’t know where my glasses are; will you read it to me?‘ card. But one day, he will figure that out, too! He’s too smart for his own good. Then I’ll be caught red-handed!
A few weeks ago, Elijah told me he wanted he was trying to write just like mommy and daddy write. I look at him totally baffled and he says it again: “I want to write just like you and daddy; you know, with the curves and stuff?” -while he makes this circling motion in the air and makes some kind of swishing sound.
“Oooooooh, I see now. You want to learn how to write cursive?” I replied.
“Yes! If that’s the way you and daddy write, then yes!” just about screaming at me, because it took me so long to understand what he was saying. (Silly Mommy!)
So, I wrote his first name in cursive and after 3 or 4 tries, he was able to write his name in cursive! I mean, we could actually read his handwriting; and it was absolutely stunning! I told one of the Autism Specialists at his school that Elijah was writing in cursive and how wonderful it looked; and she told me that she does not doubt that one bit. She added that writing in cursive seems to help a lot of kids on the Spectrum, because it’s one continuous motion; rather than having to start, stop, and find their concentration all over again with the next letter.
Either way, I was excited!
Then she followed up and said something along the lines of our education system is going away from teaching cursive. So, the Psychology major in me (yes, yes, I know, the Nerd!) thought that there has to be some kind of connection between Elijah’s completely unreadable handwriting and the fact that his cursive is an absolute work of art! Come to find out, cursive writing helps with what is called visual-tracking and motor-skills; i.e. hand-eye-coordination (the thing that Gamers swear by). Then I found more information writing cursive is far more mentally demanding than writing in print. It is also said to improve self-discipline!
One of the things Elijah has MAJOR troubles with at times. It can be really difficult for him to cope with an influx of emotions; which then results in either a tantrum or full-blown meltdown. The article I read, pointed out that with cursive writing, the whole arm is involved in the process instead of just the fingers. It is far more demanding than print writing; which may help with self-discipline, which in turn may help improve impulse control! Cursive writing is also said to give the student an almost instant positive feedback with the progress the child makes and can see for themselves.
So let’s recap:
- improves fine-motor skills
- improves visual scanning, which helps with reading
- gives instant positive feedback
- shows him clear progress he’s made
- improves self-discipline, which could improve impulse control
We will teach Elijah how to write cursive this summer!
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This post contains affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.