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Handwriting is complex perceptual-motor skill that is dependent upon the maturation and integration of a number of cognitive, perceptual, and motor skills. It is an academic skill that allows individuals to express their thoughts and feelings and communicate with others. It is a complex process of handling language by pencil grip, letter formation, and body posture. Handwriting efficiency requires mastery of multiple skills, including vision, coordinating the eyes, arms, hands, memory, posture, and body control, as well as the task of holding a pencil and forming letters.


The muscles need to work together, with sufficient strength and dexterity, for writing to be successful.

Eye-hand co-ordination

This is the ability of the eyes and the hand to work together with skill.

Visual motor integration

The child needs to be able to copy certain shapes on paper, lines such as a horizontal, vertical, circle and diagonal.

Sensory processing

This is the ability of the nervous system to work helping the body to monitor and control itself, sifting and sorting all the senses to work together. An example for writing would be the eyes (visual system) having to work with the touching (tactile system) in order to write a letter on the page.

A  study which aimed to identify the underlying mechanism of handwriting difficulties amongst primary school aged children found correlation to reduced proficiency in  fine motor coordination, visual-motor integration, visual perception, and cognitive planning. Visual-motor integration was the only significant predictor of handwriting quality in the HWP group, whereas unimanual dexterity was the only significant predictor in the control group (Volman et al.,  2006)

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