Read Freya’s story…
Freya was a 6-year-old girl whose Mum had been advised by her school teacher that she could do with some extra handwriting practice as she was struggling to write some letters of the alphabet.
Her Mum contacted Sheilagh for advice as she did not know what to do for the best. She had an idea that Freya should practice her letters but was uncertain how long to do this for and how to know if there is an improvement.
Freya’s Mum was reassured that handwriting can be practised both formally sitting down writing letters but by also playing games. Sheilagh advised that it was important for Freya to learn how to sit correctly at a desk when writing as this is a crucial technique often taken for granted.
Both Freya and her Mum set a time three times a week for 20 minutes to practice handwriting using the handwriting sheets provided by Sheilagh. Sometimes the pages were repeated so that the letter formation could be mastered. Freya said she enjoyed the princess sheets the best.
Read Jacob’s story…
Jacob was 4 1/2-year-old boy who was struggling to write the letters of his name. His favourite games were cars and superheroes.
His parents were wanting advice on how to teach him to write all the letters of the alphabet. A handwriting assessment was completed by myself.
Although the priority was to teach him how to write letters Jacob could not draw a straight, curved or zigzag line between 2 lines. He needed to go back a developmental step and learn how to control the pencil.
Jacob completed a series of worksheets that required him to control the pencil between two lines. The worksheets were all themed and he particularly enjoyed the superhero’s sheets. Once he had mastered these he then was able to practice writing the alphabet. His letters were no longer difficult to read as he had greater pencil control. Jacob is now writing words about superhero’s.
Read Aiden’s story…
Aiden was a bright boy who was very aware of the difficulties he had with handwriting. In class, he would complete all his work however his answers lacked depth and if you did not know him you could be mistaken for thinking he did not know the topic. Aiden was never the first to finish his work. He was aware that it took him more time than his friends to write. If you spoke to him about an answer, he could show great imagination and was able to retain all the major facts. This never translated to his written work.
A handwriting assessment was completed by myself. It was identified that Aiden had completed all the major handwriting milestones. However, he needed to feel confident to express his ideas on paper and to speed up his handwriting.
The aim was to find handwriting activities that captured his imagination and allowed him time to build up his handwriting abilities.
Aiden received a series of 10 treatment sessions, each one lasting approximately 45 minutes. During this time, he did a combination of handwriting and fine motor games. Six months later Aiden won a school story writing competition, something his Mum never thought would have been possible at the start of the school year.
Read Dylan’s story…
Dylan was a clever 7-year-old boy who was frustrated with his own handwriting.
His Mum had asked for an assessment to see what could be done to help him with his writing. A handwriting assessment was completed by myself and I identified that Dylan had hypermobility in his fingertips. This is where the joints in the fingers can have greater flexibility causing people to grip tighter on when writing. As a result, he took his time to write, pressed heavily and often crossed his work out.
The aim was to help him become less frustrated with his own handwriting.
A variety of pen styles and pencil grips were trialed. A pencil grip called the ultra-pen grip helped Dylan not grip the paper so tightly. Both Dylan and his school were explained about his hypermobility and how by him pressing heavily when writing it would cause him to tire easily. Dylan was also suggested to use ‘light up’ pens for non-school based handwriting activities so that he could learn the difference in how much pressure he was placing through his hand when writing. (These pens will light up at the end of the pen if a lot of pressure is used). It was also suggested that in the future Dylan may benefit from access arrangements in school exams to allow him extra time to write.
Read Eliza’s story…
Eliza was an intelligent 10-year-old girl. She was keen that her handwriting looked as neat as possible yet she still found handwriting difficult. When writing it took Eliza a long time to get the words from her head onto the paper.
Her Mum wanted advice on how to help Eliza speed up her writing.
A handwriting assessment was completed by myself. During this time Eliza was noticed to sigh every minute she wrote. Eliza said that her hand hurt and this pain became worse when she tried to write with joined up letters.
Eliza was introduced to using a different pen called a Yoropen. This helped her see what she was writing and caused her not to grip the pen too tightly. She was also shown what hand exercises to complete should her hand become painful when writing. Almost instantly her sighing stopped and within 2 weeks her handwriting speed had increased by a whole academic year group. Eliza is now able to write faster than her peers. She is writing using joined up letters saying that she no longer experiences pain in her fingers.
Read Harry’s story…
Harry was a 5-year-old boy who was in Reception class of a mainstream school. Due to being a summer birthday he was playing ‘catch up’ with some of his friends in terms of being able to hold a pencil and draw a picture. Initially, his parents were not concerned but by the summer term, they sort advice as he continued to swap hands when holding a pencil and did not appear to be showing any progress when trying to write his name. When trying to write he also used a light pencil touch.
A handwriting assessment was completed by myself and I identified that Harry was ambidextrous, meaning he held a pencil in either hand.
The main priority was to help Harry decide which hand he preferred to use. Until this was established he would be unable to develop his handwriting skills.
A programme of fine motor activities and advice was given to school on how to help Harry decide his hand dominance. Harry became right handed. After helping him to fine tune his play skills using this hand he began to confidently pick up a pencil and to track a pencil along handwriting patterns. (Handwriting patterns are the precursor to being able to write the alphabet) Harry entered Year 1 by being able to write his name and to draw pictures with age expected details.