Occupational Therapy for HANDWRITING Challenges in Children


Handwriting (or cursive writing) is the process of forming letters/words through continuous connected strokes of the pencil.  Handwritten letters are generally more curved than printed letters and involve rotary movements of the fingers.

WHEN do handwriting problems start?

Handwriting is generally introduced to students during Grade 3 or 4.

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Maureen (parent)

WHO has a problem with forming letters?

Some students may find handwriting easier to learn (i.e. compared to printing) and implement for written communication activities.  Written output may be increased with increased legibility, speed and overall satisfaction by the student.  However, there are students who prefer printing over handwriting for various reasons.

WHY is handwriting easier than printing?

Handwriting requires fewer pencil movements to and from the paper.  For some completing letters in a continuous stroke reduces the frequency to which they have to coordinate their eyes and hands to place the pencil in the correct position on the line to start and stop a printed letter.  Some handwriting programs initiate all of the lower case letters from the bottom line making it easier for students to remember where to start the handwritten letters.

WHERE are they going to find time to practice?

Handwriting can be practiced anywhere from home, school and during car rides to the next soccer practice.  Traditional pencil and paper and alternative ways can be combined to create an interesting and memorable experience for students.  For example, forming large letters on the chalkboard with chalk, erasable markers on the living room (or car) window or writing on mom or dad’s back with the writing fingers in between commercials.

HOW is my child going to improve their writing?

There are a variety of handwriting programs and teaching methods available.  Some programs incorporate a multi-sensory approach to learning handwriting.  Therefore, regardless of whether you are an auditory, visual or hands-on learner (or a combination of these learning styles) this type of program provides it all.  Occupational Therapists may evaluate hand readiness skills for handwriting, technique (e.g. posture and positioning, letter formation), determine factors contributing to handwriting difficulties and offer suggestions specific for each student’s particular needs and learning style.

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