If you look at occupational therapy programs in CT, it is not hard to find children who have been referred to such programs because of the difficulties they are having with proper handwriting. Occupational therapists will usually assess the affected children in a few key areas, including cognition, visual perception, visual motor integration, and fine motor skills. Once the underlying problem is identified, the next stage is to tap on useful ways to address the handwriting issue. Here is a look at ways that can help improve handwriting for these kids:
Guide the children by using lines
With papers that have lines, children are able to visualize how to proportionately write the letters. For example, you can teach the children to write the lowercase ‘b’ as half the height of the capital letter ‘B’. The children will also be able to use the lined space to write straight instead of downhill or uphill.
Improve their motor skills through games
A lot of parents do not understand that games are actually very effective in helping affected children improve their handwriting. Although games are not academically focused, they do require skills from the children to complete. For example, when you play Jenga with the children, you are actually training the children to develop better control with their hands.
With such motor skill development, the children can then control their pencil grips better. Other games can involve imaginative play such as pretending to be a movie star who has to sign a movie contract with their official names. In fact, there are so many games and activities that occupational therapists can use to improve handwriting for such kids.
Work on muscle memory in the fingers
You might not be familiar with this tip but many occupational therapists will always have this trick in their arsenal. Place a chopstick on a flat surface and then ask the child to only use the thumb, index finger, and the middle finger to rest on the chopstick. Next, get the child to use these three fingers to move up and down the chopstick. You can also get the child to speed up the ‘walking’ up and down the chopstick so that the little ones can build muscle memory in the fingers effectively.
Tap on verbal instructions
Sometimes, parents think that by simply demonstrating, the children are able to copy their actions and develop good handwriting. This is not true. Some kids do better by hearing verbal instructions. For example, some occupational therapists will give out precise instructions verbally on how to form letters – Start from the top, straight short line from left to right, straight line down, and straight short line from left to right again. This set of verbal instructions will be forming the letter ‘I’.
Using the correct equipment
When we talk about equipment, we are referring to ideal tables and chairs that provide a good height to maintain good posture when writing. It also refers to the kind of writing tools such as pens or pencils, because these tools must facilitate a correct pencil grip to aid the fluidity and speed of writing.