By Megan Valdivieso, an occupational therapist with The Rehabilitation Institute at Memorial University Medical Center. She sees pediatric patients in the Savannah and Pooler offices.
You may think your child’s messy handwriting will naturally improve with time and practice. But producing legible, neat handwriting often requires skilled intervention with an occupational therapist.
Handwriting is impacted by several hand skills, including hand strength and endurance, fine motor coordination, and pencil grasp. Your child’s core strength and postural stability can also play a role.
Eye-hand coordination, visual memory and visual perceptual skills also can affect handwriting. Without refined visual skills, your child will have difficulty copying off the board, recalling a visual image from memory or writing on lined paper.
Occupational therapists often take a multisensory approach to helping children improve their handwriting. This reinforces learning and allows the child’s nervous system to integrate information efficiently. They may use scented markers, shaving cream and chalk to motivate a child who struggles with traditional paper and pencil activities.
If your child’s handwriting is a problem, talk to your pediatrician about a referral to an occupational therapist. Addressing the problem early improves your child’s chances of achieving successful handwriting skills.
Megan Valdivieso is an occupational therapist with The Rehabilitation Institute at Memorial University Medical Center (rehabinstitute.memorialhealth.com). She sees pediatric patients in the Savannah and Pooler offices. Memorial University Medical Center is a SouthernMamas.com advertiser