Improving Handwriting and Communication Ability with Occupational Therapy
7 APRIL 2016 | AMELIA PERSAUD, M.S., OTR/L
Well known conditions requiring occupational therapy treatments include autism, ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorders and other physical disabilities. However, Occupational therapists may also enhance a child’s school performance and communication ability by focusing on handwriting skills.
Handwriting is a multifaceted process that requires good body posture and simultaneous coordination of the eyes, arms, and hands. A mature pencil grip is also important in facilitating letter formation. Without this imperative development, a child’s written work may be hindering their learning.
Occupational therapists evaluate the underlying aspects that support a student’s handwriting. Common reasons for poor handwriting include:
- Decreased coordination
- Decreased muscle strength
- Decreased endurance
- Poor attention
- Decreased visual perceptual skills
- Decreased fine motor skills.
Improving these strength and skill areas along with handwriting instruction can significantly improve not just a child’s handwriting, but his or her school performance while cultivating better overall communication skills as well.
The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum used at the Learning Lab focuses on all of these aspects through a developmentally appropriate and multisensory approach. The Occupational therapist also provides a home program for parents to encourage and support good handwriting skills for their children.