Monday, May 5, 2014

Comfortable Writing Posture

How can we help a students rest their forearms comfortably on the table when writing?  (Thanks, Zee, for your comment today.)  Students have different reasons why this is hard for them to do and I think one of those reasons is their difficulty combining wrist extension with active finger flexion.

By the time students are in older elementary grades they typically have the neurological maturation and physical ability to grade flexion and extension in their shoulders, elbows, wrist and fingers when performing skilled tasks.  However, some students with no known physical concerns have a significant degree of difficulty writing on a horizontal surface (AKA desktop) unless they hover their forearm over their paper.  How to help them develop better control?

Here are some suggested activities, some easy, some hard:

Wall pushups on flat surface--face wall with both hands on surface or just one hand with body turned sideways

Chair pushups on flat surface--chair within 2' of ground  (stabilize chair against non-moving object)

Wall or desk pushups with hands over rounded object (half tennis ball, swim noodle)  Be sure to stabilize desk against non-moving object

Carrying therapist's tote bag down long school hallways  (one of my favorites...)

Traditional theraputty exercises

Hanging by hands from horizontal bar

Bear walking (hands and feet flat on floor)

Balloon tennis with homemade "racket"

Chores that require hand strength and/or sustained wrist extension (carrying pet water bowl or water jug, vacuuming, dusting, making bed)  Another favorite...

Putting away canned goods after shopping

Vacuuming car  (lots of weight bearing through palms and angling the vacuum nozzle in different directions to reach all the nooks and crannies)

Working on a vertical surface (writing, coloring, using magnets, etc.)

Please send me your ideas and I'll add them to the list.

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