Hi, my name is Sheilagh. I’m a UK-based children’s Occupational Therapist living in Chichester (West Sussex) with additional background in graphic design, and I’m so glad you’ve taken a moment to check out this website. Help with Handwriting is a place where I share my knowledge and resources with you on anything and everything to do with handwriting. The reason why I do this is that I want to make handwriting easy and fun for everyone – even those who say that they hate it!
I became an Occupational Therapist in 1996 and I have never looked back. Before then I was a graphic designer and I think this is what makes me different. Today, I still use my problem solving and creative skills, however, I do this in a way that helps others to achieve their true potential. Occupational therapy is about helping people to lead independent lives. Sometimes children need a little extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ to help them reach developmental milestones. I have seen children who have struggled to write and I’ve helped them win school story writing competitions. And I’ve seen how by just changing the style of a pen I have increased a child’s handwriting speed by a whole year group.
I find my ‘job’ fascinating and I feel that I am one of those lucky ones who really do what they love. My day to day work includes assessing handwriting, working with children to improve their writing both individually and as groups. I also provide training courses as part of InSET days and I regularly speak at events. The places that I work include via Skype, in people’s homes, schools, offices and conference centres!
To help the children I see, I like to work with them during my handwriting assessment to find out about their interests. This is where I use some of my graphic design magic. I will tailor my handwriting sessions around what they developmentally need to do and what they enjoy doing. My experience includes working weekly in one school for over 5 years helping to improve handwriting and fine motor skills by being part of the class rather than taking children out of lessons for 1 to 1 therapy. I like to think that I can ‘think outside the box’. And I will find play ideas that capture a child’s interests as well as help them to learn to write. I create ALL my own handwriting worksheets. Each one has a developmental sequence based on occupational therapy principles so that they gradually get harder to complete.
In 2015 I had two books published on handwriting and today I often share my knowledge via my blog. My books are:
- ‘Boost Learning in the Primary Classroom’ See it here
- ‘The Early Years Handwriting Toolkit’ See it here
Both in the books and via the blog you will be able to read stories about why we need to teach handwriting using a step by step approach. You can also read handy tips on how parents and teachers can do this without needing to buy a small toy shop. The information on the blog and the worksheets can act as a good guide. However, they cannot replace a handwriting assessment by an occupational therapist. Only then will you be able to receive specific advice for your child’s needs.
If you would like me to help you or to have a handwriting consultation then please Call Now on 01243 252310 or 07810 806914. Alternatively, email me directly by me by clicking here.
Let’s keep in touch. Sign up to one of my freebies and in return, you will receive regular updates from myself.
Sheilagh Blyth MSc BSc OT (Hons)
Founder of Help with Handwriting and best-selling author of ‘The Early Handwriting Toolkit’