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Short Communication - (2017) Volume 2, Issue 1

Handwriting Performance in Elementary School Children - Teacher and Therapist Viewpoint

Melam Ganeswara Rao*, Adel A Alhusaini and Buragadda Syamala

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

*Corresponding Author:

Ganeswara Rao Melam
Researcher, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences
College of Applied Medical Sciences
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 531262987
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 07, 2017; Accepted date: February 17, 2017; Published date: February 20, 2017

Citation: Ganeswara Rao M, Alhusaini AA, Syamala B. Handwriting Performance in Elementary School Children - Teacher and Therapist Viewpoint. Ped Health Res 2017, 2: 1. doi: 10.2176/2574-2817.100010

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Abstract

Penmanship is a foundational expertise that can impact children perusing, composing, dialect utilize, and critical thinking. Handwriting, a fundamental skill that strengthens fine motor processes, should continue to be taught throughout the early years of a child’s life. For centuries learning to write joined-up letters has been an integral part of children's education, but that is now being threatened by the computer revolution. Although wordprocessing programs and assistive technology are undeniably boons to children with writing problems, technological advances do not eliminate the need for explicit teaching of handwriting. The decline in the instruction of handwriting and its diminished use by students is not because handwriting has lost its purpose; it is due to a lack of teachers' preparation. This article explains why there has been a steady decline in their ability to write competently and legibly in children.

Keywords

Elementary school; Handwriting; Occupational therapy; School based practice

Introduction

Penmanship is a foundational expertise that can impact children perusing, composing, dialect utilize, and critical thinking. Handwriting, a fundamental skill that strengthens fine motor processes, should continue to be taught throughout the early years of a child’s life [1]. Estimates suggest that handwriting difficulties range from 5% to 33% of school-age children [2]. Good handwriting is a building block to build on academic success throughout their school career. The poor handwriting skills can have a pervasive effect on school performance leading to poor grades, albeit with good composition quality and therefore affecting their selfexpression, self-esteem, and socialization [3-5]. For centuries learning to write joined-up letters has been an integral part of children's education, but that is now being threatened by the computer revolution. Although word-processing programs and assistive technology are undeniably boons to children with writing problems, technological advances do not eliminate the need for explicit teaching of handwriting. Handwriting is an essential skill for learners, but advancements with technology have greatly altered perceptions towards handwriting and handwriting instruction. During the 21st century, handwriting instruction has been reported as either an extremely significant curricular component or an “antiquated” and “archaic” method for communicating [6,7]. Psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of yesteryear. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep [8]. The vast majority of our elementary school teachers don't consider themselves prepared to teach handwriting effectively. Explicit handwriting instruction by teachers and dedicated time for practice during school hours has diminished even as other curriculum priorities have taken center stage in recent years [9]. The decline in the instruction of handwriting and its diminished use by students is not because handwriting has lost its purpose; it is due to a lack of teachers' preparation. Therefore there has been a steady decline in their ability to write competently and legibly in children.

The teacher is primarily responsible for handwriting instruction. Student’s handwriting achievement is likely influenced by the amount of handwriting instruction provided in the classroom, which in turn is influenced by teachers’ desire to teach this skill [10]. Therefore, the state of handwriting through the perspectives of practicing teachers was examined in regard with their teaching experiences with handwriting instruction, professional insights regarding handwriting and students’ application of handwriting, and personal perspectives regarding the state of handwriting. Some educators focused on handwriting instruction; letter formation; pencil grip; spacing between letters, words, and sentences; writing words; and writing sentences, emphasizing regular practice [7]. Knowledge of Handwriting Skills and Specific Pedagogical Techniques varied across the school culture and influenced by several personal and professional perspectives. A thorough understanding of handwriting and perceptions regarding handwriting instruction among educators need an in-depth analysis.

Schools continue to call on occupational therapists to support students, with and without disabilities, who are not successful with the basic handwriting instruction provided in the classroom. The therapist’s role is to determine underlying postural, motor, sensory integrative or perceptual deficits that might interfere with the development of legible handwriting [11]. Therapists continue to respond with interventions ranging from biomechanical, neuromotor, and/or sensory integrative approaches for students (individual or small groups), team supports, and system supports [12]. The following areas such as Visual Motor Integration, fine motor skills, visual perception, cognition, and sensory processing difficulties are needed to assess the level of functioning.

Conclusion

Occupational therapy is process-oriented, whilst education is product-oriented. Working together in the classroom with teachers to support activities and programs has become a primary role of occupational therapists in school-based practice [13]. A comprehension of instructor assessments and observations in assessing penmanship and the criteria they use to decide the nature of penmanship to refer to occupational therapy services is prime for a definitive achievement. A typical comprehension is obligatory in the subject of what constitutes neat penmanship amongst educator and therapist. In reality, the level of agreement between the professionals varies from 21% to 36% [14]. If teacher and occupational therapy evaluations of handwriting quality differ, the risk of children being overlooked or incorrectly referred will limit the full potential and adequacy of occupational therapy services to school children. Therefore, when the teacher and the therapist work together, combining medical and educational knowledge, the results are often very positive in achieving legible handwriting.

References

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  2. Dinehart LH (2015) Handwriting in early childhood education: Current research and future implications. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy 15: 97-118.
  3. Feder KP, Majnemer A (2007) Handwriting development, competency, and intervention. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 49: 312-317.
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  8. Alhusaini AA, Melam GR, Buragadda S (2016) Short-term sensorimotor-based intervention for handwriting performance in elementary school children. Pediatrics International 58: 1118-1123.
  9. Polichino JE (2016) Ponderings of an occupational therapy administrator: Beyond handwriting—Are we ready? Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention 9: 2-5.
  10. Graham S, Harris KR, Mason L, Fink-Chorzempa B, Moran S et al. (2008) How do primary grade teachers teach handwriting? A national survey. Reading and writing 21: 49-69.
  11. Stephens L, Pratt P (1989) School work tasks and vocational readiness. Occupational therapy for children 311-324.
  12. Case-Smith J (2002) Effectiveness of school-based occupational therapy intervention on handwriting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 56: 17-25.
  13. Shasby S, Schneck C (2011) Commentary on collaboration in school-based practice: Positives and pitfalls. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention 4: 22-33.
  14. Daniel ME, Froude EH (1998) Reliability of occupational therapist and teacher evaluations of the handwriting quality of grade 5 and 6 primary school children. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 45: 48-58.
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