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4 Fun Ways to Practice Handwriting

As we all know, practicing handwriting is not a kid’s top pick for a summer activity. Luckily, there are ways to make handwriting fun! Blog-Handwriting-Main-Landscape

Try some of these ideas and see if you can’t trick your kid into becoming a handwriting master:

Use Different Mediums

  • Try practicing writing numbers and letters in shaving cream on a tabletop or tray. Kids love the feel and it adds a whole other element to learning the formation!
  • Other ideas include drawing in sand or dry rice in a cookie tray.
  • You can also make a mess-free activity with colored gel in a plastic zipped bag; you can use your finger to write and draw on the outside of the bag!

Play a Game

  • There are plenty of games out there that you can use to practice handwriting. Try playing Boggle and have your child find a word and then write a sentence with that word in it.
  • Playing Guess Who can become a sneaky secret game, where questions can only be written and transferred across the table to the other player who then writes the answer (Yes/No) and returns it.
  • Hangman is a classic game that already incorporates writing! That is a fun one that can also be played in shaving cream. Other games you can incorporate writing into include Scrabble and HeadBandz.

Try Different Writing Utensils

  • Sometimes kids are just sick of using paper and pencil all day. Adding in the novelty of using a dry erase marker or chalk on a small board can totally change their attitude!
  • Practicing writing on an iPad can also be fun, ideally using a stylus.

Be Creative

  • Try writing a creative story together; take turns writing sentences, trying to create a story. It will likely turn out to be silly! They can even illustrate a picture to go with it.
  • Another idea is to write a letter to their favorite author/singer/actor. There are also lots of websites with creative writing topics that might motivate your child to write.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

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Kimberly Reid

Kimberly Reid

Kim Reid, OTR/L is a Florida native who earned her Bachelors of Health Science and Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of Florida. Kim has worked in various settings, including camps for children with special needs, retirement homes, and hospitals. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. Kim is excited to be a member of the North Shore Pediatric Therapy team!

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Why Did My Child’s Speech Therapist Recommend Occupational Therapy?

It’s not uncommon for a speech therapist to also recommend that a child receive other therapies in conjunction with speech therapy, such as neuropsychology, physical therapy, counseling, social group therapy, and occupational therapy.  Although your speech therapist is working on your child’s communication, they are also concerned with the “big picture” of your child’s overall development and how other aspects of development may impact speech and language.  Occupational therapy is a commonly made referral.

What is speech-language therapy?

Speech-language therapy is a specialized field that addresses a very specific aspect of development: communication.  This includes how we understand and use words to communicate.  However, the human brain is a highly complex system, with many different sub-systems working together to help us function efficiently.  For example, our speech and language system also depends on our attention system, our memory system, our visual system, and our auditory system (to name a few!).  Weaknesses in one system are likely to impact other systems, much like a domino effect.  Therefore, a “team approach” to therapy is often warranted to help children achieve their greatest potential. Read more

Deanna Swallow

Deanna Swallow, M.A., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist who earned her master’s degree from Northwestern University. Prior to living in Chicago, Deanna attended the University of California at Davis, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development. During her time at Davis, Deanna served as a research assistant for an Infant-Development Study in the Department of Human Development. Deanna has experience working as a pediatric speech-language pathologist in private practice, Early Intervention, and in preschool and elementary school settings. She is strongly committed to helping children build confidence and achieve their maximum potential.

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4 Ways to Better Handwriting before Pencil Hits Paper

Your child’s handwriting skills will affect his performance in school, beginning as early as preschool.    How your child holds his pencil, sits in his chair, and attends to the task of handwriting can affect your child’s ability to feel successful in completing a handwriting task. 

4 ways you can promote your child’s handwriting skills before his pencil hits the paper: 

  1. Address his posture: Your child’s posture at the table is directly associated with his fine motor control.  He Handwriting skillsdoes not just use his hand muscles to write—his core muscles are important too.  Make sure that the height of his chair allows for his feet to be placed flat on the floor.  Ideally, you want your child to be sitting so that there is a 90° angle at his knees and his hips.  This will put his body in a position that supports good handwriting.  Sitting on a wedge cushion (move ‘n sit cushion, air-filled cushion) that provides vestibular activation can sometimes help to improve his posture. 
  2. Address his grasp:  Your child’s pencil grasp can hinder or support his ability to write neatly.  Encourage your child to hold his pencil between the tips of his thumb and pointer finger.  The pencil should rest on the side of the tip of his middle finger.  Keeping the space between his thumb and pointer finger (the web space) open will ensure that he is utilizing his muscles in the most efficient manner and will reduce fine motor fatigue.  Sometimes, utilizing an adaptive grip on his pencil can help him to maintain the grasp with decreased difficulty. 
  3. Address his attention:  Your child’s attention can support or detract from his ability to accurately complete a handwriting task.  To support his attention, minimize the distractions in the room.  Your Read more
Deanna Ligas

Deanna Ligas

Deanna Ligas, M.S., OTR/L, is a licensed Occupational Therapist. She graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. Deanna then went on to study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and is continuing to work towards her Occupational Therapy Doctorate. Deanna has Occupational Therapy experience in family and adult transitional housing programs, outpatient pediatrics, and inpatient rehabilitation. She also has experience leading a variety of children’s groups in both professional and volunteer capacities, including facilitating a childcare group at a Chicagoland domestic violence agency. Deanna loves working with children and is passionate about supporting them, and their families, in working toward their goals and reaching their maximum potential.

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