Date of Award
Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)
Handwriting; Motor Skills
Children in elementary school classrooms are expected to participate in fine motor activities up to 60% of the day. These fine motor activities include writing, cutting, gluing, coloring, and self care tasks such as buttoning and tying shoes (McHale & Cermak, 1992). In a literature review conducted by Feder and Majnemer (2007) it was found that poor handwriting has a negative impact on academic and social performance into adolescence. Consequences of poor handwriting may be avoidance of fine motor activities (Jackman & Stagnitti, 2007) and decreased academic performance which may lead to poor self esteem (McHale & Cermak, 1992).
Jackman and Stagnitti (2007) conducted a qualitative study to investigate awareness of occupational therapy resources among Australian teachers and the level of knowledge the teachers had related to supporting students with fine motor difficulties. Teachers who participated in the study indicated they had limited knowledge of occupational therapy resources and there was a need for more support when dealing with fine motor delays. Hammerschmidt and Sudsawad (2004) described the importance of collaboration between teachers and occupational therapists when addressing handwriting problems because teachers are with students on a consistent basis and the primary source for handwriting instruction. Through collaboration, occupational therapists can indirectly serve the students by providing teachers with the appropriate resources, resulting in increased focus on fine motor development in the classroom.
The purpose of this project was to design an educational resource for elementary teachers to use in the classroom to promote fine motor development for all students. This project is a resource manual containing educational materials regarding occupational therapy and its role in handwriting development, components of handwriting, and classroom activities aimed at promoting fine motor development.
The methods used in this project included an extensive review of literature including scholarly articles, books, and educational resources available for teachers. The benefits of this project include increased awareness among teachers of occupational therapy services in the school setting, knowledge of fine motor development, and activities to incorporate into the classroom to benefit all students’ fine motor development.
Frueh, Jennifer and Kieffer, Nicole, "A Handwriting Manual for Early Elementary School Teachers" (2009). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 67.