An article in the Telegraph reports on a headteacher who makes the observation that the male pupils at his school are noticeably weaker than they were a generation ago.
Bob Drew, headteacher at Grearies primary school, explains: “We think that is has something to do with having too much access to soft touch like digital technology. They don’t do what boys normally do – throw balls or climb trees.
“This is very recent. We have started to see it in the last two years. (We asked ourselves) why is their handwriting so spidery? When we looked carefully their pencil grip is dreadful. They literally don’t have enough grip to control a pencil properly.”
As a result Mr Drew has set up a new outdoor physical trail where pupils are encouraged to do press ups and other physical challenges to increase their strength.
Mr Drew said, however, that this wasn’t a problem for girls. “It seems to be prevalent with boys because girls like to do a lot more tactile things. They tend to do things like playing with hair, lots of crafts and arty stuff”.
However, not all handwriting problems can be attributed to upper body weakness. To see if your male (or indeed female) pupils might have dysgraphia (a neurological disorder which can be defined as “a disorder in written expression”), Dysgraphia Help offer an online dysgraphia test for pupils over 8 years old for £32 which can act as a preliminary diagnosis.
The online dysgraphia test consists of 50 questions. After completion of the test and submitting a handwriting sample you will receive a report within 72 hours. If we believe dysgraphia to be present you will also receive a number of supporting activity materials free of charge. There is more information at www.dysgraphiahelp.co.uk/testing-for-dysgraphia/.