Wednesday, October 2, 2013

help with handwriting

Writing and drawing are challenging for Ben.  This is one area that I think was directly affected by Doose.  When he was three, he was in preschool and was writing and drawing appropriately.  He was having occasional seizures at that time, but the worst had not yet happened.  It's as if his development in this area just stopped altogether. 

So here are a few things that we are doing to help in this area.  For starters, he has qualified for occupational therapy at school.  I'm very thankful for this intervention and we know that it will make a difference.

At home, we have started using PenAgain's Twist and Write pencils.  We love these pencils!  They are also available at amazon.  This pencil does not address the bigger issue Ben has with hand eye coordination when writing.  (I'm sure there isn't a pencil in the world that could do that.)  But it does eliminate the confusion in regards to grip.  It's also small enough that his hand doesn't get tired from holding the longer pencil.  There are two built in erasers on the handles so it works just perfectly for him.

We also are using a handwriting program called Handwriting Without Tears.  I can't say enough good things about this company's approach.  They use large muscle movements with 'sky writing'.  There is a music component as well that really helps the kids connect their learning.  I also love the 'verbal path' - we use the same language every time when writing a letter.  (For example, when making the letter E, I will say, "big line.  frog jump. little line.  little line.  little line.")  This will help when he's trying to recall which letter to write.  If I begin to say the verbal path, the hope is that his brain and hand will work together to correctly form the letters.  The pages in the workbooks look very simple and almost boring, but they are perfect for kids who struggle with visual stimulation.  I could go on and on about this program.  I use it in my classroom and have seen great results with it there as well.

One last tip I have for working on letter formation is an app called Letter School.  This app is definitely worth the small price for your mobile device.  It's a favorite around here for sure!  In the settings, you can even choose HWT as the model so it works perfectly as a reinforcement. 

The bigger issue is getting his hand to do what his mind wants him to do.  I'm still looking for more ideas and would love to hear suggestions in the comments section. 

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