This frame of reference identifies functions and dysfunctions in five areas of handwriting for children, including proximal posture, components, use of writing tools, grasp, and handwriting. Good proximal control is required for functional and effective distal control of the writing tools. Either excessive postural stability or lack of postural stability during writing tasks is considered as dysfunctions. Components including ocular-motor skills, attention, and memory are considered as essential. This frame of reference assumes that functional visual perceptual skills are prerequisite skills for good handwriting. The ability to perceive letters as a set of distinct features is the main concern in the component of visual perception. Writing tools, including paper and erasers, needed to be positioned and stabilized effectively are prerequisite for legible handwriting. Functional grasp is necessary to manipulate writing tools effectively. At the end, writing should also be readable and completed with an appropriate time interval. In evaluation, therapists look at the overall legibility, subskills of alignment, spacing, and size of both in-class handwriting and homework. There are numbers of assessments on visual-perceptual and/or fine motor skills for occupational therapists to assess the underlying causes. Clinical observations can also be made during handwriting. The treatment plan within this frame of reference includes various interventions including working in the classroom with the child and cooperating with the teacher on environmental and/or curricular adaptations. The aim of the interventions is that the child will be able to generalize skills into more complex fine motor skills, and eventually be able to participate in age-appropriate occupation as a student.
- Macey Cho
- Frame of reference
- Handwriting difficulty
Domain of occupation
Collaboration with classroom teachers is required
Roston, K. (2010). A frame of reference for the development of handwriting skills. In P. Kramer & J. Hinojosa (Eds.), Frames of reference for pediatric occupational therapy (3rd ed., pp. 425-460). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Karen Roston
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