24 Nov Success Story: Handwriting Hero
As an occupational therapist, I often meet parents looking for a hero. They are hoping I run in and rescue their child from their handwriting woes. I often remind them that I am happy to help, but they are the true superheroes. If dad is Batman, my role is that of his butler, Alfred. I just provide the tools and tips and a dash of wisdom to equip him for the role.
Building Foundational Skills
Recently I had a parent do just that. As is common in September, I received a call from a new parent after a Kindergarten teacher expressed concern about his child’s handwriting skills. After meeting the family including the five-year-old son, I began to schedule one-hour sessions each week to help train the parents on activities and exercises to practice at home between sessions. Following my professional advice, the father began to spend time every day working with his son to complete a routine of exercises to improve skills like balance, strength, and endurance. He also working on exercises to improve the strength of the eye and hand muscles. Lastly, he practiced forming shapes using action words that I had supplied from the PALS Handwriting Program to help his son understand how to form shapes with the proper direction of strokes.
Before Handwriting Sample
I started to see progress from session to session and within a few weeks, I introduced the family to the Treasure C.H.E.S.T. workbook to practice uppercase letters. At the start of the workbook, I had the child copy the alphabet to get a baseline of how he was writing at the start. Below, you can see that the letters are poorly aligned with errors in the sequence of the alphabet as well as the formation of some letters making them illegible.
After Handwriting Sample
After less than six weeks and completing most of the workbook, the child demonstrated a great improvement. This is attributed to the work and play that was implemented between sessions. As a therapist, I spent only 10 minutes addressing handwriting a week. The majority of the workbook was completed at home with the father, his handwriting hero. The sample below shows that the child now understands to begin letters on the top line and ground them to the bottom line. The child self-corrected when he noticed he had a error in sequence and formation.
As you can see, this is a great example of a parent realizing his power to help his child succeed. Once he discovered the tips and tools needed, this paren made time for play that focused on building foundational skills. He also implemented the use of the action words in the Treasure C.H.E.S.T. workbook. This gave his child the guidance needed to form uppercase letters with proper formation, directionality, and alignment. Now he is ready to move onto the Heads, Tummies, & Tails workbook confidently guiding his son to write lowercase letters.
I hope you find this success story encouraging. You too can be a handwriting hero to your child. Check out this page to see more examples of handwriting before and after samples from the PALS Handwriting Program. You can also read Q&A’s and testimonials from other parents and professionals that have had success using this program from Playapy. Have a playful day!
Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L
Amy Baez is the Founder of Playapy and Creator of the PALS Handwriting Program. She is a pediatric occupational therapist, speaker, and parent coach with over 18 years of experience. Learn more at www.playapy.com.