Handwriting appears to be a single challenge that parents often report when they come to us for Occupational Therapy. Many people don’t realize that it takes many other skills to be developed and matured within a child’s body, in order for handwriting to improve to an age appropriate level. If your child has intentionally tried to improve his or her handwriting and it’s just not enough, then an Occupational Therapy Evaluation may be recommended.
Our Occupational Therapists thoroughly evaluate the underlying components that support a children’s handwriting, such as their:
- eye muscle coordination skills
- sensory arousal state
- muscle strength & endurance (trunk, shoulder, arm, hand, fingers)
- primitive reflexes & coordination of the two sides of their body
- fine motor grasp/how they hold their pencil
- fine motor control of their fingers (i.e.- are their pencil marks really shaky, really light or really dark?)
- visual perceptual skills (can the child identify the letters and remember how to form them)
Who knew handwriting could be so complicated? Once we determine the areas above that affect a child’s handwriting, we develop a treatment plan of fun activities that help the child to master all of the skills needed to be successful. Some children already have a diagnosis of Dysgraphia, which is a learning disability affecting handwriting. Psychologists are the professionals that diagnose or rule out this condition as well any other learning disabilities. Occupational Therapists are then the therapists that help these children make great gains, based on whatever weaknesses have been determined with initial testing. We also train parents on how they can set up fun play activities at home that support the development of good handwriting skills, specific to their child.
Handwriting Without Tears®
We are proud to be trained in the Handwriting Without Tears® program and use this as our base for teaching children how to form letters and fix handwriting errors. This program is a very highly regarded program that uses a multisensory approach to teaching and remediating handwriting. This program uses a hands-on approach that engages the children and makes learning to write fun and successful. Handwriting Without Tears® covers Pre-K through 5th grade handwriting, and teaches both print and cursive. It is easily adaptable to all levels of writing and learning abilities and also addresses the physical components needed to be successful with writing, including pencil grip and posture.
Let us know if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you and your family!