Literacy is more than reading! It is an intricate process involving reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Each of these skills is interwoven, creating avenues for the child to be able to absorb information, learn, and communicate. In cooperation with other providers, Occupational Therapy assists children in developing these abilities with the task of handwriting as the targeted skill.
You may wonder, “In this tech age where people spend so much time keyboarding, what is the value of handwriting?”
Reading is a skill which requires alphabetic knowledge. Research studies demonstrate that the areas of the brain activated during the physical task of handwriting are the same areas activated during visual recognition of letters (James & Engelhardt, 2012; Li & James, 2016). This association increases memory and results in improved reading success. Legible handwriting is also a feature of academic success, especially in early grades where teachers gauge a child’s level of learning mainly through written work.
How does Occupational Therapy help?
Occupational Therapists are trained in task analysis and a variety of treatment modalities. During a session the Occupational Therapist may implement a combination of approaches in order to advance the child toward their optimal potential. Families are an important part of the intervention process, and your practitionaer will work with you to understand your child’s needs and how you can best assist at home.
At Reading Write Alaska, Occupational Therapy provides therapeutic intervention targeting literacy components, especially the acquisition of handwriting proficiency. Handwriting is a complicated, multifaceted task which requires the ability to coordinate:
- body posture as the foundation for arm and hand use
- fine motor function for pencil grip and letter formation
- visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills for eye-hand coordination and near/far copying tasks
- visual tracking skills for reading what is written
- cognitive attention to task and the ability to filter non-essential environmental information
- memory for recognition of letters/words and recall of letters for letter formation, and memory for dictated work
- pacing and flow
- resultant negative behaviors stemming from feelings of being overwhelmed
Our Occupational Therapists use a variety of modalities for handwriting help, including Handwriting without Tears, Size Matters, Loops and other Groups, and more!
"The scores on our daughter’s most recent re-evaluation are jawdropping. She has gone from reading 13 words on a word identification subtest to 113 words in a year!! Her score went from 67 to 107! Her spelling score went from a 77 to a 99! She was at an early first grade reading level last year and is now testing at mid third grade! We are so thankful for sweet Miss Lori and all she’s done for us!"
Reading Write Alaska
Reading Write Alaska diagnoses and treats a variety of speech, language, and learning impairments, a