One of the most common reasons for referral to school based occupational therapy services is handwriting assessment and treatment. Here are a few references on why students still need traditional handwriting practice.
The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy published a review of the interventions used to improve handwriting. After reviewing 11 studies that tested relaxation and practice with or without EMG, sensory-based training without handwriting practice, and handwriting-based practice (including sensory-focused or cognitive focused handwriting practice) the researchers concluded that interventions that did not include handwriting practice and those that included less than 20 practice sessions were ineffective (Hoy, 2011).
The Journal of Occupational Therapy, School and Early Intervention published a small study comparing traditional handwriting practice versus iPad handwriting instruction. For the 12 kindergartners and first graders who participated, the results indicated that traditional methods of handwriting instruction were superior in terms of letter formation and letter orientation when compared to iPad-mediated practice. In addition, letter recognition increased for those using traditional handwriting methods but stayed stable for the iPad-mediated group (Wells, 2016).
Educational Psychology Review performed a comprehensive analysis to determine if teaching handwriting enhanced legibility and fluency and resulted in better writing performance. The results indicated that when compared to no instruction or non-handwriting instructional conditions, teaching handwriting resulted in statistically greater legibility and fluency. Motor instruction did not produce better handwriting skills but individualizing handwriting instruction resulted in statistically significant improvements in legibility. Handwriting instruction produced statistically significant gains in the quality, length, and fluency of students’ writing (Santangelo, 2016).
There are many more research articles that can be cited through the years on the importance of handwriting instruction. So we know students benefit from handwriting instruction and practice, BUT school districts do not seem to make time for it anymore. Most school based occupational therapists deal with handwriting interventions on a daily basis. Your Therapy Source has several handwriting resources that are available via electronic delivery to help with handwriting instruction and practice.
The most recent handwriting intervention offered at Your Therapy Source was created by Thia Triggs, OTR. She has put together an amazing handwriting bundle package. This Handwriting Without Tears© -style letter font, uses 3-lines to best support your students. There are Go-Dots, Gray-Boxes, and Simple Arrows that inform rather than confuse learners. You will get 8 of the best handwriting instruction downloads from Print Path for your multi-leveled interventions! It is almost 500 pages! GET MORE INFORMATION.
Reference: Monica M. P. Hoy, Mary Y. Egan, and Katya P. Feder. A Systematic Review of Interventions to Improve Handwriting. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy February 2011 78: 13-25, doi:10.2182/cjot.2011.78.1.3
Kevin E. Wells , PhD, Tracey N. Sulak , PhD, Terrill F. Saxon , PhD & Leanne L. Howell , PhD. Traditional versus iPad-mediated handwriting instruction in early learners. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention Volume 9, 2016 – Issue 2
Santangelo, T. & Graham, S. A Comprehensive Meta-analysis of Handwriting Instruction. Educ Psychol Rev (2016) 28: 225. doi:10.1007/s10648-015-9335-1
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