The central nervous system is used for handwriting and has been shown to link directly to emotions and feelings held deep within the mind. This link allows emotions to manifest in a person's handwriting, including children. The National Handwriting Academy recognizes the importance of graphology, also known as handwriting analysis, for children by expressing value in early detection of learning difficulties and emotional strain. Graphology can also be used to identify a child's strengths and weaknesses.
Basic handwriting analysis can be performed by looking at a few key features of a writing sample. Have the child write a few sentences on a blank sheet of paper. It is important that the paper does not have lines. Look for some basic features in the writing, such as line slope, letter size, letter slope, spacing and letter decoration. Analyzing these features can give you an overall picture of the child's inner personality traits.
A child whose writing tends to slope upward can indicate cheerfulness, while a downward slope can indicate mental wariness. Letters sloping to the left can indicate an introverted personality, while right sloped letters show extroverted tendencies. Word spacing indicates the child's social interactions. Spacing close together shows the child may be particularly social, whereas large spaces can indicate a feeling of disconnect or contentedness being alone. A child with decorative writing can show a desire to be noticed.
Identifying Learning Difficulties
Handwriting analysis can also be used as a screening mechanism for some learning disorders, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. A child with dyslexia may consistently write words out of order, reverse letters or invert letters. For example, a child with dyslexia may write the letter "n" as "u" and the letter "w" as "m." A child with dysgraphia will have significant handwriting issues. Dysgraphia affects a child's ability to put onto paper what they are seeing with their eyes. He will have trouble following simple handwriting directions, and writing will be sloppy.
Teaching Handwriting Analysis to Children
Children can learn to analyze others' handwriting as well. Make a variety of writing samples with some of the basic handwriting features, such as writing that slopes upward and downward and words slanting both right and left. Have the child identify what characteristics are present in the writing sample. After she is able to identify these key features, discuss the significance of these features on the writer's personality.