Therapist Thursday…..Why WRITE?

by: Amy Bumgarner

In prep for National Handwriting Day, I could not help but think about why Fundanoodle is here.

So why teach handwriting? Is it really necessary for children to have the “best” handwriting, when so many schools are providing tablets, computers, and homework is done online? Of course, the occupational therapist in me, says “YES!” But, there is more to handwriting than just it being a motor skill that is important for development.

I was talking with a co-worker this week about the importance of teaching prewriting strokes to toddlers.  There are so many different schools of thought on what early intervention (including occupational therapy) should look like.  Some believe that early intervention should focus on the child in his/her natural environment and the daily routine of the family.  LOVE this concept, but unfortunately it can cause some skills to fall through the cracks.  If a parent is focused on communication and feeding, then when do we address the other skills of development.  It can leave an occupational therapist in a sticky place.  I firmly believe that children should be exposed to and master the basic prewriting strokes including, horizontal lines, vertical lines, circles, diagonals, and then begin putting these strokes together to form more complex shapes.  And, a lot of parents look at me and say “why.” In my mind, it is simple…

These strokes are the basis of drawing. How many of you have your walls and refrigerators covered with your children’s art work?  And, we always think it is more beautiful than do.  So, why not teach basic prewriting strokes just to facilitate creative expression.

These strokes are the premises of every letter of the alphabet.  So, maybe your child can type lengthy stories, but I want to see my child write his or her name on his artwork.  It is their signature, it is who they are.

And beyond just basic drawing and writing, handwriting is so important for

  • Increasing your child’s confidence in the classroom
  • There are actually still jobs that require handwriting
  • Technology does fail us at times, and our children need to be able to keep up and have a backup plan
  • Fostering self-expression.  I can remember every year of middle school and high school my handwriting changed.  It was just another way to show I was changing.  I loved playing around with the letters and putting my special touch on it.
  • As a child is more fluid in handwriting, it makes retrieval of knowledge much easier because he/she is not focusing on the actual formation of the letter.

So, have fun teaching your child all the skills he or she needs for handwriting.  Fundanoodle is a great resource for kids of all ages!

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