15 May 2012 by Christine Siddle - 80 comments
“Just The Write Hands” Program was designed for all primary school aged students to work on the following goals:
1. For the student to develop better precision and control when manipulating fine motor tools.
2. For the student to develop improved confidence and success with tabletop skills such as drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting.
3. For the student to be able to form the lowercase letters correctly and automatically across all writing tasks, but especially within the context of words.
4. For the student to demonstrate improved writing legibility.
5. For the student to be able to demonstrate a functional pencil grip.
FORMAT OF THE PROGRAM
The format of the group has been designed around 6 x 1 hour sessions, and ideally, for about 4- 6 students per group. It is felt that more individualised instruction can be provided for those students who are struggling with their fine motor skills if done in a small group environment. However, you can readily adapt any of the activities to accommodate more students, if necessary, or you can implement many of the user-friendly strategies within a larger group setting, such as the classroom. It may even be used for individual students.
An evaluation booklet for the students has been designed to be implemented prior to, and at the completion of the group. This booklet also asks the student what they think about their own colouring, writing, cutting skills etc. in order to provide greater insight about the student’s awareness of their fine motor abilities.
STRUCTURE OF THE SESSIONS
Each session is divided into 3 main categories:
The first part of the session focuses on various ‘hand skills’ as part of an exciting, novel game and / or warm-up. Playing various fine motor games are a fun and motivating way to practice essential hand skills so students can move fingers / hands more smoothly and with greater control and accuracy in whatever they choose to do. Many researchers have identified this skill as a contributing factor to precise and rapid manipulation of a writing tool for efficiency in handwriting. There also seems to be a strong relationship between in-hand manipulation skills and colouring accuracy.
VISUAL AND FINE MOTOR SKILLS
The second part of the session focuses on important tabletop skills that are needed for everyday school-related tasks, and includes cutting, drawing, colouring, and tracing. Each task has been carefully analysed, and after many years of practice from a clinical and school basis, has been designed to help provide the students with the best chance of putting these strategies into everyday practice in other situations as well, which ensures the best learning of the strategies. The strategies are also very simple and easy to remember and use.
HANDWRITING (LETTER FORMATION)
Despite the increasing use of computers in schools, handwriting remains a very important skill for recording information, expressing one’s thoughts on paper and communicating ideas to others. Also, regular assessment is based on handwritten work. By the time a student reaches the final years of primary school, they should be able to produce legible, fluent handwriting that they can employ flexibly in different situations.
When the mechanics of handwriting become automatic, the student can better focus on writing content and composition. Hand skills and visual and fine motor skills are important foundation skills, but students also need to have the confidence to form letters correctly and automatically, without having to stop and think about how each letter is formed. That is why this program focuses more specifically on letter formation.
COST OF PROGRAM & WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE?
The entire program costs $605 and includes the following: Teacher’s manual, parent information handouts, student evaluation / screening booklets, all the games / activities mentioned in the program, drawing workbook, handouts, letter formation worksheets (for the group), letter formation worksheets (for homework), pencil grips, specialized scissors, and novelty pens / pencils. The only thing you have to provide is ‘blank paper’.
Christine Siddle has been a paediatric occupational therapist for about 20 years now, and has worked on these areas with many different children; some with a diagnosis, but many without. She has worked in different educational settings both here and abroad. She has tried many different strategies, until finally discovering these strategies which have proved to be very effective. Christine has used a similar group format in various local schools, and has also used them at our clinic on an individual basis, to great effect. This program is specifically designed for other therapists, integration aides and teachers to administer, but can also be used by parents as well.
Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing this program.