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  • Alisha Chady

Can Childhood Trauma Impact Handwriting?

The topic for this blog post was a request, I was a little dubious at first but upon researching the topic I became engrossed and thoroughly interested in the effects different external factors can have on your handwriting, of which, I have discovered, there are many.

What I noticed early on into my research is that, yes, extreme childhood trauma can have an effect on handwriting and other aspects of development and learning. With the amount of interesting research there is out there, the other thing I noticed was how hard it would be to keep this blog solely on childhood trauma when there are so many other factors that can have an affect on ones handwriting and, conversely keeping this blog limited to handwriting when trauma can affect so much of a person as they grow.

Strong trauma can lead to post traumatic stress disorder, this can have a long-term effect on your mental health in addition to the psychological effects, PTSD can damage the brain, which can result in problems with learning and maintaining attention, which of course can be apparent when learning to read and write.

Significant PTSD can damage the hippocampus, this affects your ability to convert short-term memories into long-term ones, which in term compromises the ability to learn and retain new information and can impact on the ability to be able to maintain focused attention, leading to a lower attention span. This can cause children to have problems in education because they have a reduced ability to focus and the information they do learn, they do not retain very well.

Some of the abilities that children need to be successful in school include: concentration, memory and language ability, things that early trauma can weaken, this can also cause problems because for teachers and people in a position of power, as they can find it hard to help a child like this due to the difficulties discovering what is causing these problems at school, which I imagine will come with its own array of frustrations for the child involved.

Overwhelming early trauma can disrupt the foundations of organisation, attention span (in learning and otherwise), trust and memory to name a few. For a young person, to have such important developmental factors compromised at a young age, it is no surprise for this to come out in ways such as handwriting. It was something I had never even thought about prior to this blog.

Everyone's handwriting is unique, if children are taught to write the same way, the simplest conclusion is that ones individual personality and life experiences dictate the difference.

Information from:

- Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

- The Dana Foundation

- Journal of New Approaches to Medicine and Health

- Effects of Emotional Trauma on the Brain and Learning

- traumasensitiveschools.org