Handwriting plays an essential role in a child’s developmental and educational growth. And yet, many schools are no longer teaching this fundamental skill to our children. Researchers point out that handwriting seems to strengthen brain processing, reading abilities, memory recall, and learning. Studies show that keyboarding and printing do not provide the same benefits. With all the focus on technology nowadays, it is even more important to ensure that kids acquire all the skills they need to successfully learn cursive writing.
There are many benefits to handwriting. The latest studies show that cursive writing helps the brain wire more efficiently than keyboarding and printing. Students who handwrite their notes show more efficient memory recall, are better readers as well as learners, and show improved motor control. Writing cursive works on the following skills: postural control, visual-motor coordination, fine and gross motor control, decoding, and sensory processing—just to name a few. Although it may seem easier to give a child a keyboard instead of teaching them cursive, if he has issues with handwriting it is very likely that he will also have deficits in his ability to learn, read and communicate. Handwriting difficulties are closely linked to learning disabilities. Some experts worry that if we don’t teach students handwriting, we will miss the opportunity to identify the underlining deficits they may have.
Occupational therapists evaluate each child for fine and gross motor skill, visual deficits, postural control and developmental delays that may affect a child’s ability to learn handwriting. Good handwriting starts with a child’s ability to sit functionally at a desk. If a student cannot achieve the proper posture, he will not be able to control his motor skills to perform fine motor tasks. His trunk strength is what allows him to sit upright for an extended period of time. Shoulder stability is also essential. Children who have poor shoulder control cannot perform fine motor movements. In addition, the child needs to see clearly as well as interpret what he sees. Occupational therapists will look at eye movement, visual motor coordination, depth perception, visual perception and then assess if vision is impeding learning. Finally, occupational therapists are trained to analyze fine motor skills, handwriting grips and finger dexterity to help a child achieve a more functional writing technique. They use fun sensory activities to help children master the foundational skills needed to learn handwriting.
CDI is happy to offer handwriting classes. Handwriting Without Tears is a multi-sensory program that makes learning cursive fun and easy. This hands-on approach uses a variety of teaching strategies to fit the unique learning style of each student. Children learn through playful activities, movement, tactile and auditory input, and object manipulation. It takes the anxiety out of mastering a new skill and meets each child where he is at. CDI’s occupational therapists are not only trained to teach this effective method, but they can also help assess your child for any underlining developmental issues that may affect his learning progress. Click here for additional information on CDI’s handwriting class schedules.