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B is for Brain Connections



In a study by James & Engelhardt, the profound effect of handwriting experience on functional brain development was observed. Evidence shows that "brain activation during letter perception is influenced in different, important ways by previous handwriting of letters versus previous typing or tracing of those same letters." The neurological “reading circuit” was recruited during letter perception only after handwriting—not after typing or tracing experience. This research suggests that handwriting is crucial for letter processing of brain regions. "Handwriting therefore may facilitate reading acquisition in young children."


In other words, when children write by hand, the brain-body connection during handwriting is stimulating areas of the brain impacting memory, reading, and other areas. Handwriting is much more than simply picking up a pencil and producing strokes. The brain has to formulate what it wants to communicate (from forming a single letter, to a sentence, or essay), then translate that to the hand to produce the physical output.


Children who have Dysgraphia, Autism, ADHD, or motor concerns may struggle with handwriting due to the complex brain connections required. Children may also have difficulty if they simply have not received enough exposure to quality handwriting instruction, and therefore have not developed the necessary brain pathways. Utilizing a qualified Occupational Therapist to analyze, assess, teach, and remediate handwriting is essential for progress and success. Let us know if you would like to explore options at kelli@handwritingsolutions.org.



Research Article:

The effects of handwriting experience on functional brain development in pre-literate children - PMC (nih.gov)


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