Handwriting, OT, and Schools

I commented on today’s New York Times article on handwriting, OT, and schools. The spin really bothered me because OT for handwriting isn’t an enrichment class or a frivolity that wealthy parents indulge in so their kids will get into a good college. In fact, OT  for handwriting serves two purposes. First, of course, it helps those kids for whom handwriting is such a struggle that it prevents them from expressing themselves in writing unless they have access to a keyboard. In fact, sometimes, OTs will recommend a keyboard (assistive technology) for a child with severe handwriting issues in order to make writing (composing) easier, separating out the skill of handwriting so that can be worked on at a pace the child can handle.

Second, school OTs who are sensory smart may well notice that the child with handwriting issues has sensory issues that are interfering with this task: visual processing issues, poor body awareness, and so on. Handwriting involves many skills, and the ones at play may be a problem in other areas for the child as well. Undiagnosed sensory issues can make it difficult to read and copy off the blackboard, play comfortably on the playground, and tolerate the hustle and bustle in the hallways.

Yes, parents can do “homework” that’s fun to help their child with sensory issues and handwriting but guidance and therapy from a trained professional are hardly indulgences!!!


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