For our little guys – and girls – possibly no other fine motor skill is so fraught with difficulty, tears, and frustration.
Before my son started kindergarten, I remember giving myself high marks for reading, mathematics, vocabulary, and logical thinking. For being so pleased with myself for teaching him well.
But for some reason, I just couldn’t teach handwriting.
Now I know it wasn’t about me, the parent. It was all about his mind, and how he so easily grasped some concepts. And also how he struggled with fine motor skills, a nearly universal difficulty among AS children.
Some reading, occupational therapy, and helpful, knowledgeable people were able to give out some pointers that made life a little easier.
- Fat pencils. Beginners tend to prefer them and find them easier to hang onto.
- Pencil grips. There are many kinds out there – try them
- Markers vs. crayons. Find out which your young child prefers – markers can be so much friendlier to hold and use – and let the teacher know
- Handwriting Without Tears is a great program used by therapists everywhere. Check out their site in my links.
- Rewards for little things like remembering spaces between words. We used to give out a cashew per every space… and his teacher loved the results!
- Make it fun. Play writing games like Mad Libs or make up your own. We play ‘Word Association’ (see picture).
- Using aids to help gauge the size of small letters vs capitals. For some reason, our children can have difficulty assessing this without a guide (ie they’ll try to fill the entire space, no matter how BIG or small it is, so capitals and small letters end up the same size). Using a highlighter to fill half the line helps to guide size.
Hand strength and dexterity are key to writing. We were given exercises like finger circles and stretching Silly Putty. Working Play-doh is a great strengthener, as well.
Am I an expert on this? Of course not. But I’m happy to share some ideas that worked for us. Let me know what works for you!
Good luck out there!