Many of us struggle with ways to help our children with handwriting. Since increased input is necessary for many of our children, including Erin, we found that a weighted grip that slides on a soft lead pencil worked the best for us. The softer leads don’t take as much pressure and the weighted grips help Erin by giving her hand more feedback. Since she’s more aware of the pencil, she can use it more easily. The weighted grips and about $4 each and you can get them from your OT.

It’s important to remember, too, that handwriting is a higher-level skill and in order to see success there, the foundational levels supporting that skill have to be strong. We work on strengthening Erin’s hands and arms/upper body daily. Everything from carrying progressively heavier bags and boxes, resistance bands, wheelbarrel walking, squishing play dough, massage, and so forth. Handwriting is a real challenge for many of our children (and not a few of their parents, including me!) and it’s so important to keep working on those foundational things that support the skills we want to see.

This points to one of the key questions in education for us—What is the highest priority task at the moment? Erin will produce beautiful letters if time is not an issue. If the goal is to grasp the content of a biology lecture, her need for precision in writing will get in the way and the content will be missed. So, let’s set up a plan to release her from having to focus on letter formation and concentrate on the life cycle of the cicada. If the goal is to produce beautiful, handwritten notes, let’s do that when time is not a factor and her strength in this area can be put to good use. The struggle comes when you are working with teachers who want everything all the time, those who judge mastery of content by the quantity and quality of words written on a page.

Another thought….To me, I want to spend much more time with Erin on keyboarding than on handwriting. That’s so much more practical. When I think of how few things I do in the course of a day that require handwriting, it relieves a little of the pressure to perfect Erin’s handwriting. Even those things that I do write by hand could be done differently. I write checks. She can do online banking. I make grocery lists. She can create lists in Word. I take notes at meetings. She can do that with her laptop. As long as she can sign appropriate bills into law when she becomes president, I’d say we’re set. 🙂

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