Handwriting Without Tears
TheraPLACE therapists use the Handwriting Without Tears program to assist children in pre-k through young adulthood. The program begins with pre-writing skills and progresses through cursive writing and even keyboarding. Handwriting Without Tears is an evidence-based intervention with proven effectiveness. This curriculum allows our therapists to use developmentally appropriate, multi-sensory tools and strategies adaptable for children with a variety of learning abilities.
Handwriting Without Tears: The Print Tool
The Print Tool is used by occupational therapists to evaluate and plan remediation for printing abilities to improve classroom achievement. The Print Tool uses a functional approach that divides handwriting into different components. These components include letter and number memory, orientation, placement, and more. From the results, your TheraPLACE therapist will review the evaluation and create a developmentally appropriate remediation plan.
- Memory – This is the ability to remember and write dictated letters and numbers. The ability to automatically recall letters and numbers is very important for this skill. Memory is essential for handwriting development; poor memory can affect production, speed, and accuracy.
- Orientation – This is the ability to correctly write numbers and letters in the correct direction. Early on, a child may reverse a few letters and numbers, but with instruction this orientation becomes developed. Errors in orientation can be distracting for children by stopping the writing process as they think about which way the letter or number should go. Orientation errors can lead to spelling and legibility mistakes.
- Placement – This is the ability to put letters and numbers on a line. This is important for the flow of writing. Incorrect placement on the line makes handwriting appear immature, messy, and illegible.
- Size – This is how large or small a child chooses to write. This is an important skill for a child to develop in order to control their movements so their writing isn’t too big for their current grade. Writing too large can cause problems with school papers, speed, and spacing.
- Start – This is where each letter or number begins. This is important in order to establish good starting habits in order for your child to maintain neatness. Typically when children who’s handwriting becomes messy, it is due to an incorrect starting habit.
- Sequence – This is the order and stroke direction of the letter or number parts. If children do not form parts in the right sequence, speed and neatness are affected.
- Control – This is the neatness and proportion of letters and numbers. Problems with control are almost always caused by poor habits. If the child has an awkward pencil grip, or a problem with start or sequence, control will be affected. As habits improve, so will a child’s control rating.
- Spacing – This is the amount of space between letters in words and words between sentences. Spacing is important to legibility and uniformity in writing. Problems with spacing may be worsened by poorly designed worksheets that do not give enough room for writing.