The whole mind, body,
Do you have students who have
difficulty with HANDWRITING?
There are many factors related to successful
performance in the classroom.
How much a child has learned is often
measured by what they are able to recount,
often in the written form.
Limited awareness of where your body is in
space and how it moves affect all motor output
from body posture to fine motor movements
such as handwriting.
A Work Area is
It helps with
the process of
Some ways to help with work area
Remove all unused materials from desktop
Use a large box lid to act as drawers to help
organize inside the desk
Have desk cleaning day regularly
Tape a file folder to the side of desk for important
Velcro pencil to desk
Use different color folders.
Posture is very
writing!!! It is
difficult to use
good writing if
1. Soles of feet flat on the floor in front of you
2. Back of knees should be touching the front of
3. Knees and hips should make the letter “L” (90°
4. Elbows should rest comfortably on your desk
(desk heights should be placed 2” above elbow
when child’s arms are at his/her side)
5. Paper should be at a 45° angle on the desk
6. Other hand should be open flat and holding
Adaptations and Equipment
Change height of desk &/or chair to get 90°
Boxes, blocks, or phone books to keep feet from
Dycem or grip clothes
T-stool (with supervision)
Stand to do work
Therapy balls (with supervision)
Exercises and Movement
Can also be used to help with
posture and attention.
(example have been provided in your
Pencil Grasps vary
from child to child.
Enclosed is a copy of various
grasp, but many of our children
modify these grasp to suit their
own writing ability.
The most sought
after grasp in the
dynamic tripod grasp,
but many children do
not use this grasp.
If a child holds his pencil in a modified
grasp that allows for the fingers to move
freely to form letters, he/she is holding
the pencil adequately.
There is a problem if all five fingers are
on the pencil, if the wrist is flexed (bent
toward the palm), if the elbow is floating
off the table surface, or the fingers are
hooked around the pencil.
Pencil Grasp Intervention
Writing on a vertical surface
Hold a small object against the
palm with the ring finger and Avoid round pencils
pinky, leaving the other three
fingers available to grasp pencil Verbal cues to pinch
Engage students in games that Modified tripod grasp
require pinch, tweezers, nuts
and bolds, twist caps, and Decrease writing amount
Pencil Grasp PS
Younger children should be using
crayons, markers, and chalk to draw
Pre-K is too early in the typical
development of the hand to force
the use of pencils
It can lead to grasp problems in the
Poor pressure will result in writing that is
not legible because it is too light.
Excessive pressure can cause fatigue,
cramping, and/or poor endurance due to
These can be caused by poor grasp, poor
strength, and/or poor ability to grade
Quality of HANDWRITING
Writing Quality depends greatly on
each child’s development.
It includes many components.
Basic strokes = pre-writing shapes
Shape Dev. Age
I 2yr. 10mo.
+ 4yr. 1mo.
/ 4yr. 4mo.
□ 4yr. 6mo.
\ 4yr. 7mo.
Letter recognition &
Without letter recognition there is NO
meaning or relevance to write or form
Letter formation includes the ability to
form the basic strokes in a sequence and
the ability to remember how to make each
Are common in young children (below 2nd
grade) because to them in the real world
position doesn’t affect identity.
In the real world position doesn’t matter: both are
But when as they get older they start to use
symbols and letters which affects identity.
(The most common reversal)
After 1st grade if this is still occurring it
could be due to a spatial relation problem.
Work on concepts of directionality
Alphabet strips (“cheat sheets”) on desks
Practicing the prewriting strokes
Visual & Verbal cues
Far/Near Point Copying &
This requires a lot of integration from the
eyes, brain, body, and environment.
Far point copying is copying from a
Near point copying is copying from close
Spacing between words and letters.
Alignment/placement on the paper and
Copying & Spacing/Alignment
Put overhead on desk for copying
Keep board clear of clutter
Use different colors to chunk information
Popsicle sticks, index fingers, M&Ms
To keep in mind...
Handwriting is a whole mind, body, and
If one of these factors is weakened then all the
other factors may be affected causing
expression to be illegible.
Therefore, there are many factors to look at in
regard to a child’s performance in the
It’s important to keep in mind that the body
should be in an optimal position to receive the
information, the environment should be
conductive to processing the information, and
that a pencil is only as accurate as the hand that
• Writing was developed as the most
comfortable and efficient way for
people to record ideas on paper.
Penmanship and self-esteem are
closely linked; attention to these
links is critical so that children can
explore and expand their potential
for self-expression to the fullest.
(Hanft and Marsh, 1993)