Handwriting requires the integration of many skills. A child must be able to sit upright, pay attention, hold the pencil correctly, hold the paper with the non-dominant hand, understand the direction of letters and words, accurately form the letters and words, and use appropriate spacing. This is only a portion of what is required for handwriting! These skills can require the integration of all seven sensory systems. However, the visual, vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile systems are the primary systems involved in handwriting.
The integration of the vestibular and proprioceptive senses is required for a child to be able to have the appropriate postural control to sit upright, and have the stability in the shoulder to control his hand. These sensory systems also help the hand to coordinate and plan the movements necessary to form letters. Visual processing is necessary for the child to perceive what he is seeing and to know how to reproduce the same figures on his paper. Additionally, he must have tactile and proprioceptive awareness to have an adequate grasp and pencil pressure.
At Leaps and Bounds, a child is assessed to determine which sensory systems are impacting his handwriting. Therapy focuses on improving foundational skills and abilities. These areas are addressed through fun, playful activities that improve sensory processing, postural control, fine motor strength and coordination. As the child develops these underlying skills, he will make improvements without the frustration of practicing handwriting. Tasks that were previously insurmountable will now become easier and more fun.