Fine motor foundations for handwriting success

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OT Workshop for pre-K and K teachers. Importance of fine motor skills development and pencil grasp in order to facilitate handwriting success in young children.

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  • The top of the desk should be approximately 2 inches above the elbows when the arms are bent at the student’s side. This will ensure that the child’s neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers are relaxed.table legs can be adjustedheight of the chairwedge
  • It’s normal for young children to use a fisted grasp on crayons (A,B on figure) however we want to make sure that they progress from holding a crayon in their palm to holding it with their fingers.An efficient grasp is one where the thumb and index finger create a circular webspace. This allows for skillful manipulation. So always look for that open circle between the thumb and index finger. Chances are your child is holding his pencil correctly!other accepted functional grasp patterns including Quadripod Grasp with open webspace also known as the Four Finger Grasp (H on figure) AND Adaptive Tripod Grasp (this is like the dynamic tripod grasp however the pencil is held between the index and 3rd finger)
  • Blank piece of paper is like a white canvas too “OPEN”. Give children a framework
  • Fine motor foundations for handwriting success

    1. 1. Fine Motor Foundations for Handwriting Success Presented by: Nancy Amar OTR/L
    2. 2. Workshop Overview • Good Sitting Posture • Fine Motor Skills development; the building blocks to an efficient pencil grasp • Writing Tools to facilitate handwriting • The Writing Surface • Fundamentals to teaching Letter Formation and Letter Concept
    3. 3. Importance of Good Sitting Posture Start with Stability In therapy we talk about the 90-90-90 rule. This means that when seated at a desk, we want to ensure the following: •Feet flat on the floor 90 degrees at ankles •Knees bent at 90 degrees •Hips at 90 degrees
    4. 4. • The top of the desk should be approximately 2 inches above the elbows when the arms are bent at the student’s side. This will ensure that the child’s neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers are relaxed. Adjustments you can make: • Table legs can be adjusted • Height of the chair • Wedge
    5. 5. Fine Motor Skills Development The building blocks to an efficient pencil grasp
    6. 6. Fine Motor Skills Development The building blocks to an efficient pencil grasp • Begin by strengthening the muscles that are used to hold a pencil properly. – Pincer control and strength – Arches of the hand/webspace – Radial and ulnar separation of the hand
    7. 7. Activities to Improve Pincer control and strength • Picking up small items • Peeling Stickers • Small beading • Lacing • Adaptive chopsticks • Tweezers, tongs
    8. 8. Activities to Improve Arches of the hand/web space • Spray Bottles • Wheelbarrow walking • Cupping activities • Making a ball with Playdoh • Hole puncher, scissors
    9. 9. Activities to Improve Radial and Ulnar separation of the hand • Nesting and retrieving activities. Ex: Placing and removing pegs in playdoh, Picking up pompoms or small beads and placing them in a container, picking up coins and placing them in a piggy bank.
    10. 10. Writing Tools that Facilitate a Good Grasp EASELS: • The angle allows for proper positioning of the wrist • You stick paper on the wall
    11. 11. Writing Tools that Facilitate a Good Grasp PENCILS/CRAYONS: • Use SHORT and FAT crayons/pencils • Build up with wikkistix • Break crayons
    12. 12. Writing Tools that Facilitate a Good Grasp GRIPPERS: • Use grippers on pencils to facilitate finger placement • Use winged grippers for children who cross their thumb over the pencil • Try different grippers
    13. 13. The Writing Surface • Use dry erase boards to teach formation of letters then practice on paper • Use paper with clear defined lines • Make boxes where you want children to write. One letter per box to one word per box.
    14. 14. Teaching Letter Formation • Go from TRACE to COPY to WRITE • Trace a highlighted letter rather than dotted. • Have children copy a word exactly UNDER the sample. • All letters are formed from TOP to BOTTOM and LEFT to RIGHT. (Left handed children can go from right to left)
    15. 15. Fundamentals to teaching Letter Formation and Letter Concept • Adopt an eclectic approach to teaching handwriting. (HWT is a framework and guideline…some children need more than that) • Letters are a combination of a few basic strokes. Teach the strokes first. Make them “feel” the difference • For very young children I start by teaching them basic strokes and I like to add a sound to each stroke (Based on ABC Boom) • Make writing fun with a multisensory approach sand, rice, shaving cream, paint, stickers, blocks, yarn, wikkistix, textured surfaces etc…
    16. 16. From Handwriting without Tears • From HWT I use the formation of the letters and the order of the letters. First teach letters with vertical and horizontals: L F E H T I Then teach circular letters: U C O Q G S J D P B R Lastly teach letters with diagonals: K A M N V W X Y Z • Teach formation of uppercase letters first then graduate to lowercase letters. • However I like to teach the CONCEPT of upper and lower case letters from the very beginning.
    17. 17. Fundamentals to teaching Letter Formation and Letter Concept • I also like to teach the sounds of the letters right from the start. Naming a letter and knowing the sound that letter makes are 2 different skills. I like to teach it in a song. Ex: “Every letter makes a sound”. If children have a hard time naming the letter, I prefer to teach the sound of the letter first. • Some children may need you to create a storyline behind the formation of certain letters. Ex: lowercase letter e, I tell children they are in a car with the family driving vroom across (horizontal line) and we forgot the dog so we stop and go back around around around and stop (creates an e) • Do not look at the final product, look at the process that the child uses to make sure the approach is correct. It will help you determine where the breakdown is.
    18. 18. Sample of OT Handwriting Session • Begin by waking up little fingers ex: Putty, tweezers • Use LETTER SCHOOL App to practice the letter. • Teach formation of whiteboard with sounds/story • Have the child copy the letter you just demonstrated (draw a box where child needs to copy the letter) • Practice the letter on paper (draw a highlighted box where child needs to copy the letter)
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