Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Prevalence for the number of students with poor handwriting skills has been estimated to range from 12% to 21 % depending on grade, selection criteria, and instruments used (Graham & Weintraub, 1996; Hamstra-BIetz & Blote, 1993; Smits-Engelsman & Van Galen, 1997). During late elementary and middle school years there is an increasing demand for efficient work output, particularly in written requirements. Greater numbers of required reports, math assignments, and writing assignments tap into a child's capacity to develop ideas quickly and put them down on paper (Levine, Oberklaid, & Meltzer, 1981). Children who have not developed automatic, fluent handwriting will find completing written work more of a struggle as demand for written output increases throughout their school years.
In surveys given to elementary teachers regarding handwriting, 64%-88% responded that they did not feel they had received adequate training in how to teach handwriting in their undergraduate courses (Graham, et al. 2008; Graham &Weintraub, 1996). It is not surprising to find that the strategies, techniques and programs used by these teachers varies a great deal, even within the same school district.
An extensive literature review was conducted and pertinent information gathered in order to gain an understanding of the underlying components needed for handwriting, as well as, which components research has found to be significant factors in learning how to write. Unique differences in teaching left-hand writers was explored through the literature review in order to identify how to correctly teach to this minority 10% of the population and to be able to answer questions teachers frequently ask (Coren, 1993).
It was determined through the literature review that there is a need for training adults who work with children, or who will be working with children in the future in the area of handwriting. This teaching unit has been designed to educate professionals, college students majoring in elementary education and other childcare providers. It is intended to give them a background in the development of fine motor skills in young children, an overview of the components needed when learning to write and how to set up the writing area. The unit covers hand development in terms of attaining the correct pencil grasp, how to work with a child who is left-handed and when to bring in an occupational therapist. Additional activities are included to give learners' ideas that they can utilize in their classrooms. The training unit incorporates the visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile modes of learning throughout the 4 1/2 hour presentation.
Lillejord, Connie, "Handwriting from A-Z" (2007). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 259.