The Writing On the Wall

by Lillian Csernica on June 2, 2014

My writer’s group often uses prompts.  This month’s prompt is “The Letter.”  In my mind that phrase immediately conjures the image of fine stationery covered with cursive writing.  The envelope might match or it might not, but it would also have cursive writing on it.  When I was young I soon decided my handwriting would never match the elegance of my mother’s or my grandmother’s, so I went the other way and adopted my father’s style of block printing.  I liked the way it looked, and Heaven knows it was much more legible.

Now that the keyboard has replaced the ink pen, what we have gained in speed and legibility we now know we are paying for in the loss of other very important skills.

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

Why Those Skills Are Important

Lack of Home Support Means School Support is All the More Crucial

Long Term Consequences: The Big Picture

Forgive me for relying on links, but they’re the easiest way to provide the information I think is essential in the most compact form here on my blog.  All of the articles above apply to mainstream children.  They mean all the more for the special needs kids who are starting off with certain deficits.

I’m scared.  I look at what’s happening in our schools and what’s NOT happening, and I think about the phrase “the hope of the future.”  That hope is looking pretty weak at this point, given the literacy levels of high school students in the U.S.  We have to drop back to the preschool level and start filling in the gaps in our children’s educations.  As much as I’d give my left arm to have my sons be healthy, normal people, for many years now I’ve been very glad they’re in Special Ed, getting annual IEPs with updates whenever my husband and I felt them necessary.

The handwriting is on the wall.  The future is at stake.  People still do handwriting analysis to learn about themselves and their futures.  That practice will go the way of the soap box derby if our children are no longer taught cursive writing.  The loss of cursive writing means the loss of cognitive skills.  We can’t afford to lose any ground, not one inch, not one synapse.

Please, for the love of our kids, for the love of all the kids who need us to stand up and demand what they don’t know they aren’t getting, let’s talk to the principals, the school boards, the politicians and everybody in the chain of command who keeps weakening the skill sets our children must have to repair the damage the world has suffered and to build a new world a better way.


Filed under autism, Family, Goals, Special needs, Writing

4 responses to “The Writing On the Wall

  1. Rebecca Douglass

    I’m actually sorry to see that this is the way the research is leaning. I have a grudge against cursive born of being a lefty. It’s certainly not well-adapted to us, and I in fact gave it up as soon as my school let me (somewhere in Jr. high). I do still write by hand, but not in anything my grandmother would have recognized as cursive. For me, learning to type was a matter of courtesy to anyone who had to read my work!

    Wonder if anyone has studied how cursive affects lefties. Printing, BTW, is easier for me, and is what I use when I compose on paper or take notes.


    • Oh wow, Rebecca, thank you for bringing up this particular aspect of the issue! My son John is left-handed when he writes, and right-handed when he plays sports. Now I want to go investigate the links between left-handedness, cursive, cognitive development, and autism. Thank you SO much!


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