Monday, June 4, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

 I think many OTs agree that we can get a good picture of a student's readiness to successfully begin handwriting training by looking at how well a student can draw geometric shapes.
 Not just how well they copy shapes already on paper, or drawn by an adult while the student watches (imitation), but really drawing the shape from how they picture the shape in their minds.
For this activity the adult drew three squares and asked the student to draw a sun (square #3), a house with the student inside (#1) and a student going down a slide (#2).  While creating these drawings the student was independently able to draw a circle, two rectangles and many diagonal lines.  Pretty good work!  How does his handwriting match up?
To create a sample of the student's current handwriting I asked him how to spell a word related to each picture.  He dictated the letters he thought of and I wrote them down, then I filled in any letters that were left out.
 Then, he imitated the word I had written.  We did this for each of the three pictures.
The student's letter formation was great.  His teacher and instructional assistant work with him on letter formation every day in class.  OT works with him in class for about 15 minutes a week and half of that time is often spent telling his teacher and instructional assistant how his excellent skills are due to their diligence with him.
If this student demonstrated confusion with letter formation, directionality, an inefficient pencil grasp or difficulties using his "helper" hand to stabilize the paper, I would offer much more assistance.  In his case his underlying skills are intact and he truly needs only practice, practice, practice.

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