Handwriting 101: The Handwriting Basics You Need to Know!

Handwriting, graphomotor skills, spacing tricks,

HANDWRITING 101: UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

Handwriting is a complicated motor skill that requires dexterity, strength, motor planning skills, and visual memory. In the past, children learned the alphabet and how to write their letters in kindergarten. These days, children are learning how to write earlier and earlier.

Most preschools boast that they include capital and lowercase letters in their daily instruction, even though the NY state curriculum expects capitals and a few lowercase.

Why? Parents want their children to be prepared for kindergarten. Nowadays, most children are already writing on the first day of school. However, their muscles aren’t ready to start so young.

What should we do?

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Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activity Packet

FREEBIE: 5 PAGE HOLIDAY THEMED VISUAL PERCEPTUAL ACTIVITY PACKET

holiday themed visual perceptual activity packet

FREE FOR SUBSCRIBERS!

Don’t you just love the holidays?

I do.  Especially at school with the kids.  There are so many fun things going on: concerts, holiday boutique, holiday parties, Secret Santas, and all kinds of jolliness.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep those kids engaged, though.  They are overstimulated from all the music, busy decorations,  sweet treatments and holiday excitement.

At times like this, I love to have some fun activities or worksheets to do with the kids on my OT caseload. This year, I’m focusing on visual perceptual skills.

I’ve created a Holiday Themed Visual-Perceptual Activities packet that I can use with all of my kids – from my Kindergarteners to my Middle Schoolers.  Some of the activities are very simple, while others are pretty tough.

All of the pages are black and white – because coloring is great fine motor work! To work on shoulder stability, have the kids do these worksheets on a vertical surface or while laying on their tummy!

My Free Holiday Themed Visual Perceptual Activities packet works on the following skills:

Visual Discrimination: This is the ability to notice and compare the features of an item to match or distinguish it from another item; distinguishing a P from an R, matching shapes to complete a puzzle, etc.

Visual Figure Ground: This is the ability to find something in a busy background; finding the red crayon in a messy supply box, or finding the milk in a packed fridge, as well as finding a bit of specific text on a busy printed page.

Visual Closure: This is the ability to know what an object is when you can only see part of it; recognizing a word when you only see a part of it, recognizing a picture by looking at half of it

Visual-Spatial Awareness: This is the ability to understand where objects are in relation to each other; spacing letters and words correctly, understanding maps and graphs, understanding personal space.

Form Constancy: The ability to recognize that a picture is still the same picture, even though it may look bigger, smaller, or be turned to face a different way.

Left-Right Awareness:  Children need to understand that we read and write from left to right.  It’s  also important for them to be able to distinguish their left hand from their right hand.

Visual Scanning and Tracking: This is the ability to use the eyes to scan smoothly from left to right, up and down, and across midline without the eyes skipping or losing their place.

 

 

 

visual perception printable

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visual perception, visual perceptual skills, vision and learning occupational therapy resources, occupational therapy online, occupational therapy community vision and learning, learning disabilities, binocular vision, reading disabilities

 

 

 

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How To Help A Child That Uses Too Much Pressure When Writing

Many children use too much pressure when writing.  Read on for OT tricks to conquer this problem!


“He breaks pencils like crazy, and then wastes 5 minutes each time to go sharpen it!  Why is he pressing so hard?”

The teacher’s cheeks were pink with frustration.  I could see her patience with Billy was at an all time low.

This little boy was bright, but he wasn’t producing neat work and he wasn’t finishing his work in an appropriate time frame.  And all because of one silly reason:

Too much pressure.

There are a few reasons why a child may be pressing too hard when writing, coloring and drawing.

too much pressure when writing

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Middle School and Handwriting

How to Improve Horrendous Handwriting When All Hope Is Lost

This post contains affiliate links.

Handwriting and Middle School

Middle School and Handwriting  – part 2

When I first learned that I was getting hired in the district where I currently work, I was beyond thrilled.     A school district job!  It’s like winning the lottery!

Then I heard the rest…

I would be split between two schools.

Okay…I can live with that.

Two MIDDLE schools.  Teenagers.  

Ummm, I’m not sure I can live with that!

I can still remember the creep of red crawling up my neck as I answered the principal on the phone. “Great!  Looking forward to it!”

A million scenarios ran through my head- Will they listen to me?  What if they’re rude? I’m so used to the little kiddos – will I be able to do it?  Butterflies were flying wildly in my stomach.  Self-doubt had totally set in.  

But to tell you the truth – I loved it. The kids were great. Teenagers are just big kids, full of laughter and good-natured mischief.

What really did stink?   All the Handwriting.  Oh, the handwriting.   

Reading messy handwriting is seriously torturous.  Like… comparable to squinting at the sun.handwriting and middle school

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keyboarding skills

Is my child ready to learn how to keyboard?

<Keyboarding skills are often considered just important (or more) than handwriting.  But when are children developmentally ready?>

keyboarding skills

Developmental Progression of Keyboarding Skills

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and spotted an entire family on their phone or tablet? Technology is everywhere, and there is no getting away from it. I’m sure you’ve read those articles about the importance of limiting technology and screen time, but what about the importance of teaching technology in a developmentally appropriate way?

When are kids ready to learn how to type? 

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fine motor Scissors

Fine Motor Skills and Cutting

<Learn how to improve your child’s cutting skills with these simple tips from a pediatric OT. This post contains affiliate links>

How to Improve Your Child’s Cutting Skills 

“Cutting?”   The mom looked at me nervously…. “Um, I’ve never given my child scissors…. I don’t want him to hurt himself….”   Her face turned red.   “Should I?!”

The poor mom was panicking as she asked me about kindergarten.  She was totally nervous that her son wouldn’t be able to keep up.  Trying to reassure her, I asked how he holds his pencil and how were his cutting skills.  And instead of making her feel better, I made it way worse!   Uh-oh.

(This happens all the time, by the way.  Moms don’t realize that kids should be cutting WAY before Kindergarten. But really – if you are worried that your kid will hurt themselves when they are sitting with you in the kitchen, do you really want them learning how to cut while the teacher is also supervising 20 other kids? )

Nah – better to get them started before school so they know what they are doing.  It gives them a “leg up” on the rest of the kids.    You can always give them those little safety scissors if you are worried that they will cut themselves.   Or the playdoh scissors, which don’t have real blades.

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#Functionalskillsforkids

Combining Handwriting and Play

This post “Combining Handwriting and Play”  is part of a year-long blog hop called Functional Skills for Kids.  Each month, I will be working with other pediatric OTs and PTs to post on different developmental topics that impact functional skills for kids. I’m so honored to be working with some amazing pediatric bloggers to bring you a well-rounded blog hop that will ultimately result in a BOOK!

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