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Are Courses Helpful?

Are going on courses helpful?

Here’s the view from Dawn in Admin who also is a member of our parent support group. On Monday, Dawn attended our Handwriting Course – Is it Heaven or Hell? These are her thoughts.

I asked to go on this course to help me when talking to parents/carers/schools about handwriting/sensory issues. My son also has difficulties writing and I get a pain in my thumb when writing after a short period of time so was quite concerned.

For myself, I found that I need to do lots of hand strengthening exercises to build the muscles in my thumb. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, finding it beneficial.

My son, although older now, is still conscious about his handwriting but even at his age, he can still help himself by conducting hand exercises to strengthen those muscles.

To have good handwriting, I would never have thought about the components needed for this skill. I was quite shocked! You need:-

* Good upper limb stability
* Bilateral integration (crossing the midline)
* Eye-hand co-ordination
* Balance
* Posture
* Body awareness
* Able to retain information
* Good listening skills
* Good attention skills
* Good visual imagery
* Decent pressure
* Good pencil grip
* Muscle memory
* Ability to record horizontal/vertical lines and circle (needed before forming letters/numbers

This is just a few! If you can’t do any of the above, then handwriting will be challenging. Once a child is anxious about handwriting, they will not want to write which means they become even more anxious.

I also found out that a child who has handwriting problems will also usually have difficulties with motor co-ordination (even if they are sporty) as they will lack in many of the developmental skills required for handwriting. A child who may reverse a ‘b’ or ‘d’ would probably not be dyslexic but lacking in the general motor components to be able to write.

If they can’t record a vertical/horizontal line or circle which letters start with, then they will have difficulties recording. We tried recording with different grips and got a surprise at how difficult it was formulating the letters/numbers and the changes in the sizing/legibility of the sentence we wrote was amazing. From writing with the fingers I found my whole arm or shoulder was having to work hard with these unusual grips, followed by lots of aching muscles. It also affects concentration on the task in-hand rather than on the arm! Neither wonder they don’t want to write!

I really can’t wait for Part 2. We are working on a case study of a child with handwriting difficulties and will be presenting the information on this course.

If you have any questions, please do ring and have a chat with the office as handwriting is a very complex skill that we all need to be able to use and without the baselines in place, we will all struggle and anxieties go through the roof.

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