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Occupational Therapy for Handwriting

Occupational Therapy for kids aims to assess the key underlying areas responsible for handwriting to gain an understanding of why your child may be struggling with the initial learning to write or written output. This assessment will guide the intervention strategy of occupational therapy for handwriting we provide as well as additional suggestions to help your child’s handwriting

Handwriting is of the main areas in expressing your child’s level of knowledge and is often a gauge for competency in school work. Unfortunately for some of our clients, it is the only way a teaching staff can assess the extent of a child’s knowledge and understanding, yet it is one of the most challenging cognitive skills to master.

If you are reading this, you may have noticed or been told by your child’s teacher that their handwriting is illegible or are experiencing handwriting difficulty. This can be due to a range of different factors including the following:

Handwriting Occupational Therapy

  • Fine motor strength/coordination

  • Reluctance to write

  • Spatial planning difficulty (spaces between letters and sizing)

  • Gross motor issues (postural and coordination issues)

  • Formation issues (incorrect starting positions and letter reversals)

  • Recall issues and problems with encoding into long-term memory

Handwriting is a cognitive skill that is not always a naturally acquired skill for all children. Many behavioral difficulties and avoidance techniques can arise from challenges with learning to write. 

Motor Dysgraphia

Motor Dysgraphia is a Specific Learning Difficulty whereby a child struggles with the coordination of fine motor skills when writing. Motor dysgraphia often includes illegible handwriting, decreased writing speed, discrepancies between oral and written output and processing difficulties. (DOT(WA), 2019).

What does Motor Dysgraphia look like?

  • Poor fine motor skills

  • Poor posture

  • Illegible handwriting

  • Difficulties with organisation of writing

  • Ideas conveyed when speaking are stronger than writing

  • Poor pencil grasp

  • Inconsistencies in handwriting

  • Reduced handwriting speed

  • Avoidance of writing tasks

- (DOT(WA) information sheet, 2019)

As occupational therapists, we are trained to assess for the presence of Motor Dysgraphia and can provide recommendations to assist in the education and treatment of this difficulty. This includes the collaboration of care between teachers and parents or any other relevant professionals working with your child or adolescent.

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