Category Archives: Writing

Sensory Integration, Motor skills, Core stability, Shoulder stability and strength, upper extremity coordination, regulation, fine motor skills, writing development, visual motor and perceptual skills.

Why is my child holding their pencil wrong?

What are inefficient pencil grasps? 

My child struggles to hold their pencil.

My child says their hands are sore or are tired when writing. 

My child refuses to write. 

Parents often say the above when their child has an inefficient pencil grasp.  Oftentimes, children who have decreased sensory processing and strength (the skills we need for STABILITY in our body), will find other ways to be stable in their body, leading to inefficient pencil grasps. 

See below for some common inefficient pencil grasps, and why kids may be using them? 

INEFFICIENT PENCIL GRASPS

Help Me Improve My Child's Writing

When should a child hold their pencil correctly?

What is the correct way to hold a pencil? 

These are common questions that parents ask me so I have created this visual to show typical grasping development and its connection to the whole body.

Afterall, ‘it’s all connected.’

Have a look below to see how STABILITY leads to MOBILITY for typical pencil grasp development. Immature pencil grasp development refers to when your child acquires these ‘typical’ grasps at a later age. PENCIL GRIP MILESTONES Typical

To improve your child’s pencil control for writing, buy the mini-course here: 

Help Me Improve My Child's Writing

Tips for Left-Handers

How to Help Left-Handers with Writing and Fine Motor Tasks? 

I just learned that 13th August is Lefties Day.  I never knew this till now. 🙂 

So, in celebration of Lefties, I thought I’d share some of my top tips: 

  1. While sitting at a table or in a classroom, it is best when Lefties sit on the left side of the table or even the room as they tend to turn their body a bit to the right.  This way if seated on the left side, they can more easily turn toward others and the teacher to see what’s going on. 
  2. If you’re a rightie and want to teach your leftie an activity, have them sit in front of you and mirror you. 
  3. The top of their paper will be tilted about 20-30 ish degrees to the right.  You can put a piece of tape on their desk to show where to place the top of the paper.
  4. Make sure to have access to left-handed tools such as pencils (esp if using Stabilo etc), scissors, tools with handles, potato peelers, and sports equipment such as gloves and rackets.  If using pencil grips, just check if there’s a leftie version needed (some do and some don’t). **See note below. 
  5. Explore which pens and markers to use as there’s likely some ‘smudging’ due to the way the left hand will rub over the writing as it goes across the lines.  Explore felt tip markers versus fountain pens for instance. 
  6. Check out www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk for more information and to see their ‘store’ where everything is easily accessible in one place
  7. Note that lefties will sometimes cross their letters from right-to-left
  8.  Lefties will naturally hook their wrist a bit while writing, some more than others.
  9. Consider notebooks used when writing as any rubbing of binder edges will be uncomfortable on the left hand.  Perhaps flip-top ones may be better or turning the spiral bound so you write towards it instead.  

If children are able to figure out how to use ‘regular’ utensils, this may be ideal because then they can use whatever is available wherever they go.  E.g. Scissors.  However, for some children who struggle with strength and coordination, it may be easier for them to use special left-handed items.  For those who want to be very skilled in certain sports, they may also look for a specifically left-handed tool as this may allow them to be even more dexterous in that sport.  

There are lots of things to consider really while writing and manipulating objects based on the child’s strengths, needs, and interests.  

As always, there’s never just one way, and we must take into consideration the child’s individual needs. 

Hope this is useful. Do share if you have any other tips.  If you’d like to receive some free tips on fine motor and hand strengthening activities, do sign up here for my free tips and news. 

Free Resources & News

 

 

Writing Mini-Series till 9th August, ’20

Hi Everybody.

I’m offering a writing mini-series only for PARENTS and TEACHERS to help you learn how to identify the sensory and motor skills your child needs to develop to improve their pencil control for writing through the power of fun and connection.  

I have too often seen children being given pencil grips and writing worksheets to improve their writing, which ultimately causes stress and pain in their hands. 

I want to show a better way where we can work from the child’s foundational sensory and motor skills to improve their pencil control for writing in a way that will have a bigger impact and last longer, and most importantly, whilst preserving their self-esteem and confidence.  All this in a way that is fun for your child. 

I’d love to see as many teachers as possible sign-up for this mini-series so that we can better understand why kids are struggling.  

I hugely believe that children are not lazy or not interested in writing, and we need to dive deeper to learn why they are struggling with these skills.  

This mini-series will help you figure that out. It’s only available till 9th August.  

Sign-up above! 

Munira

Write On!

I commonly get referrals for children with handwriting difficulties between 5-7 years old.

There are so many factors to consider when assessing a child who struggles with handwriting. Here are just a few:
1.  Core strength – Can the child sit upright long enough to do writing in class? Do they tire easily? How do they manage with gross motor and physical activities at recess or P.E.?
A child must have a strong core to sit in their seat and to support their arms for writing.

2.  Shoulder stability and arm strength – Imagine the shoulder to be like a hinge to hold a frame. It must be strong to support what hangs off it (i.e. the hand). Chances are if the shoulders are weak or unstable, it can’t support the hands.  This causes the child to tire easily and have poor grasp on their writing utensil.

3.  Visual motor and perceptual skills – Does the child use the muscles of their eyes to visually track objects? Do both eyes work well together? Does the child spatially organise parts to draw a picture such as a house or a person? This is necessary on a finer level to form letters.

4.  Fine motor skills – Are the child’s thumb and fingers strong enough to grasp and coordinate the pencil? Do they have isolated control of fingers or use their whole hand to manipulate their writing utensil?

5.  Body and spatial awareness – Is the child aware of front/back, right/left, top/bottom on their own bodies, when given directions, or to draw and write?  These skills are first developed with gross motor skills, on the playground, when building forts from sofa cushions and dining room chairs, playing with blocks and then forming letters.

6.  Balance, midline crossing and bilateral integration – Can the child balance in their chair or when sitting on the floor at circle time? Oftentimes a child may slump over the table or have difficulty sitting still at circle time due to core weakness and poor balance.  Have they developed a hand dominance? To do this the child must comfortably be able to turn their body and cross midline without losing their balance? And lastly, do they use both hands to play, get dressed, open / close bags, cut, or hold the paper while writing.

7.  Motor planning and sequencing – Can the child follow a sequence, problem-solve, do a multi-step task?
http://www.apraxia-kids.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=chKMI0PIIsE&b=788449&ct=464199

8.  Attention, auditory processing, and more.

Could we help these kids earlier before starting school? ABSOLUTELY!
Here are some difficulties children who struggle with handwriting often have when younger:

-Disliked tummy time
-Short or no crawling period
-Described as ‘lazy’ and lacking desire to move
-Delayed infant milestones
-Cautious with movement and climbing activities

-Avoided manipulative or constructive play (blocks, Legos)

-Difficulty with hand actions to nursery rhymes

Handwriting is very complicated.  There are early red flags and children do benefit most from receiving therapy input early.  It’s never too early or too late, however earlier the better.  If children have the chance for early intervention, they can focus their energies at school on attention, learning, and playing with friends.