Last week we looked at the gross motor skills involved with page stabilization. If you missed it, catch up on it here (Gross motor skills needed for page stabilization during writing)!
But what if your child is still struggling to hold their paper whilst they write or draw?
I was recently introduced to the Stay Put Mat: Non Slip Writing Aid!
The Stay Put Mat:Non Slip Writing Aid was designed by a mom to help manage slipping papers on a table. The Stay Put Mat:Non Slip Writing Aid consists of a magnetic frame made on a non-slip base. It is durable and lightweight and easy to transport around (so important for a mobile OT)!
I have been testing the Stay Put Mat:Non Slip Writing Aid in my OT sessions and these are my favorite ways to use this non-slip mat!
I especially love how the page does not get marked with use in the Stay Put Mat. There are no tape marks or blue-tak stains. There are no rips, tears or creases either!
Who would benefit from use of the Stay Put Mat:Non Slip Writing Aid?
The Stay Put Mat:Non Slip Writing Aid provides an innovative attractive way to compensate for difficulties with page stabilization.
It would benefit:
Occupational Therapists will find this mat invaluable!
For more information bout the Stay Put Mat: Non Slip Writing Aid, visit the website "STAY PUT MAT"!
Have you tried this mat?
Disclosure: This product was gifted to Your Kids OT for the purposes of a review. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand.
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Put your left hand on the page and have your right hand do the "writing".
Hold the page not your head.
Don't let your page wiggle!
Do these phrases sound familiar to you? There are some kids who can't seem to hold their page still on the table. The paper flies off the table, moves as it is being written on or even gets crumpled under their hand.
This makes drawing and writing really tricky!
Ideally at the table, children use their dominant hand to hold a writing implement and use their non-dominant hand to stabilize the page they are working on. They provide just enough pressure so that the page does not move. The dominant forearm also rests on the page with their fingers and hands controlling the pencil.
Did you know that the ability to stabilize a page on the table may be due to core muscle weakness, poor bilateral coordination and poor shoulder stability?
Core Muscle Weakness
Core muscles can be considered "as the sturdy central link in the chain connecting your upper and lower body".* Core muscles describe both the muscles which assist with stability as well as those which enable trunk movement. **
What you might see in the classroom:
Have a look at OT MOM LEARNING ACTIVITIES CORE EXERCISES FOR KIDS for some great suggestions to help with core muscle weakness.
Bilateral coordination/integration is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a coordinated way.
What you might see in the classroom:
Read more aboutbilateral coordination HERE or obtain a copy of the bilateral integration reference sheet with over 50 activity suggestions HERE !
Shoulder stability refers to the ability to contract (pull together) the muscles on either side of the shoulder joint to hold the shoulder steady. This allows the arm to be held in different positions while the forearm and hand do an activity. ***
What you might see in the classroom:
A child with poor shoulder stability may use their whole arm to control their pencil rather than using their fingers.
Shoulder stability can be developed with tummy time and crawling (for all ages)! Read more about this HERE! For further activity ideas to assist shoulder stability have a look at OT MOM LEARNING ACTIVITIES SHOULDER GIRDLE EXERCISES FOR KIDS!
Do you have a child who struggles to stabilize the page on the table during writing?
Do they have difficulties with any of these gross motor skills?
Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this article to promote products that I recommend. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand.
* Publications, H. H. (n.d.). The real-world benefits of strengthening your core. Retrieved February 07, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-real-world-benefits-of-strengthening-your-core
** Khadir, S. A., Knight, K., Bras, S., Rhule, V., & Pagare, V. Core stability - Physiopedia, universal access to physiotherapy knowledge. Retrieved February 7, 2017, from http://www.physio-pedia.com/Core_stability
*** Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, 2005. Occupational Therapy Kids Health Information: Shoulder Stability and Control. Retrieved February 07, 2017, (n.d.) from http://www.rch.org.au/uploadedFiles/Main/Content/ot/InfoSheet_F.pdf
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Today I would like to introduce the lovely Fi Morrison from "Mumma Morrison" as a guest blogger to Your Kids OT. Fi is a mother to a gorgeous baby boy (check out her Instagram feed to meet her bub) and a primary school teacher. I recently discovered that Fi taught one of my nieces a few years ago! My niece LOVED being in Mrs Morrison's class! Today Fi is helping us with 5 ways to promote social skills with children! This is a timely article with the recommencement of school here in Australia! Thanks so much Fi for writing this article!
I was sitting in my classroom next to Bryan* and Charlie*, helping them with their maths task, when Bryan snatched Charlie's pencil. Charlie started pointing the finger, crying and yelling, saying Bryan had stolen his pencil (which I obviously knew, because I was sitting RIGHT THERE).
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in my life as a teacher, and I'm sure it sounds all too familiar to parents and teachers everywhere. What do we do with those children who fight and bicker, who haven't learnt to share or turn take, and overall drive us bonkers with their antisocial antics? (My pet peeve is dobbing. I had students who would say, “SHE LOOKED AT ME” and it would drive me up the wall!).
I think many parents, and teachers, assume that social skills are inherent within children, but it is just not that simple. Social skills, like the majority of other skills, need to be taught to children and reinforced. While practice might not make perfect, it surely does make progress.
If you have been struggling with social issues with your child at home, or in a social or educational setting, these activities can help to improve their social skills and teach them the right way to deal with particular issues.
Social stories are particularly used by educators for students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). It is a visual story that describes certain situations or scenarios a child might encounter, and the best way to respond. It is one of the easiest and most effective ways to teach children social skills at home, because it is through the medium of story telling (a family favourite!) that the skills are reinforced.
For example, I had a year 2 student, Stacey*, in my class last year who had ASD and Anxiety. To support her transition to year 2, we created a social story by taking photos of our classroom, her peers, meeting spots and play areas around the school for her to be acquainted with, then bound the book into her social story. You could do something similar for a social situation your child struggles with. Take a photo of the situation in the wrong way (for example, pushing someone) and of the right way (standing next to each other, talking). Write captions for the story about the wrong way and the right way (I will not push someone if I don’t like what they say. I will stand next to them, talk to them and say ‘I don’t like what you said’). For older children, you can turn this into a learning activity and create the story together (which goes hand in hand with role plays, see below).
Role playing a situation can be a powerful way for your child to understand how someone might react to a situation. For example, if the situation was ‘Someone has said something mean to you’, work through the situation with your child the wrong way (what shouldn’t we do) and the right way (how can we react to that situation). By getting your child to physically act out and verbally respond to each scenario, and playing off the responses you give, your child can see the impact of their words and their actions on other people.
With role playing, however, you will need to be mindful of how you act out certain scenarios. Children might find some scenarios hurtful (such as saying something mean), and you don’t want it to escalate out of control. This might give you a lot more teaching than you were expecting! As a teacher, we need to be mindful about the scenarios we ask children to roleplay (for example, peer pressure to do certain things), however it is a helpful medium for children to develop their social skills and understand how their actions and responses affect others.
This activity works well with a group of children, and was taught by our Learning Support teacher at school. Children would sit in a circle, and the teacher would ask the children a question about a social scenario (e.g. If the teacher is talking to another student and you want to ask them a question, what do you do?). To monitor the discussion, the teacher would use a soft toy as the ‘talking’ prop, and whoever had the prop could answer the question. The social circle was a great way to promote discussion between peers, bounce ideas off one-another, and extend their thinking in different ways.
Puppets are absolutely by far one of my favourite educational (and play!) resources ever! They are super fun, engaging for children and can promote learning. I used to run puppet workshops for gifted and talented children, and social skills was one of the biggest benefits I would promote for children who attended the workshop.
Similar to role playing, puppets can be used as an engaging way to act out certain scenarios for children to respond to. However, puppets have two extra benefits:
Explicit discussion and modelling
As parents and teachers, we should never underestimate the power of a simple explanation from an adult and our own role modeling of the correct response.I would always reinforce this with posters in our classroom to remind the children after our conversation.
For example, with our dobbing situation, I sat the children down and spoke about when was an appropriate time to speak with me (if someone was hurt or in danger) and when there was a situation they could resolve themselves (someone using the wrong book for class work). After this, I modeled for them how the children could approach me about a situation, and then reinforced it with a display in the classroom.
Social skills are vital for children to learn to help them in a variety of social situations. By teaching and practicing these skills at home, as well as in educational settings, your child will develop the necessary social skills to participate in a variety of social settings both during childhood and beyond.
Have you found other ways to develop your child’s social skills?
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How does your child hold their pencil? How do you? Does it really matter how the pencil is held? Well the last question was the subject of my very first blog post and you can read that HERE!
Some of the main aspects of pencil control come from how the pencil is held and how it is manipulated whilst in the hand. Ideally occupational therapists are looking for the following features when it comes to pencil grasp:
Here is a quick "trick" to help with the position of the pencil!
This "trick" (or hack - I don't like the word hack though) is for those kids (and adults) who rest their pencil across the index finger rather than in the web space.
This "trick" will help move the pencil into the web space whilst your child "pinches" it near the nib (where the pencil shaving meets the pencil cover).
This "trick" encourages a more dynamic pencil grasp and open web space.
What to do?
Have you tried the "elastic band trick"? Do you know a child who might benefit from trying this?
I’m excited to report that The Handwriting Book has already reached hundreds of people so far this week!
Thank you for wanting to learn more about how to support handwriting development in kids and for being excited about using new handwriting strategies and ideas in your home, classroom, or therapy practice.
Would you like to know more??
Who is The Handwriting Book for - therapists, teachers, or parents?
The answer is...all of the above! The information in this book is perfect for parents who are trying to support their kids in the development of handwriting skills.
Therapists will love having all of the handwriting information, tips, and strategies they need right at their fingertips as they work with kids and write evaluations and goals for the students on their caseloads.
The Handwriting Book is also great for teachers who are looking for information and ideas to support handwriting development in the students in their classrooms.
Can I get a print copy of The Handwriting Book?
Not quite yet...if we continue to get a lot of requests for a print copy of the book, we may consider adding an option to purchase the book on Amazon in the future, but for now, the book will be available only as a pdf format ebook.
What was your contribution to The Handwriting Book?
The Handwriting Book is the result of a year long collaboration between 10 dedicated therapy bloggers who are all experienced pediatric therapists from across the globe! We have each written a contribution to the book and have worked together to bring you this unique reference.
We have been working to bring you our knowledge, experience, tips and tricks ... creating the ultimate guide to handwriting!
The Handwriting Book will provide you with evidence based practice as well as tried and tested practical tips!
The Handwriting book covers:
More questions or comments about THE HANDWRITING BOOK? Just comment on the blog or email me. Don't forget to use #thehandwritingbook on social media when commenting about the book!
Do you have a favourite "therapist tip" from the book?
Get 25% off with the discount code: HANDWRITINGHELP1
**Valid until 29th January, 2017 **
DON'T FORGET THE FREE PRINTABLES ARE NOW AVAILABLE UNTIL THE 29TH JANUARY, 2017!
GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
Thank you again for those who have supported me with the purchase of this new e-book! I really hope that you find it a useful resource that you will continue to refer to again and again!
CindyChuan is a registered Occupational Therapist practising in Sydney Australia. She has two young children who are a constant source of inspiration and learning. Cindy loves working creatively to help children to reach their potential, finding opportunities in everyday living and making learning fun.
Cindy is the author of the Occupational Therapy blog Your Kids OT.
More great tricks:
Wow, what a lovely craft!
The craft had a photo of Miss 4 years on an elf body, with paper concertina arms and legs.
Did you make that (Miss 4 years)?
Um no, I did the folding! The sheepish teacher admits to me.
This situation greets me more often than not and it prompted me to write this post. With school resuming in Australia very soon, this article is for teachers! If you see your teacher "guilty" of these things maybe you can prompt them with "why"?
Also note, when I say "teachers", I'm also talking to OTs and parents who may also be "guilty" of these things!
1. Teachers PLEASE don't do the craft FOR your kids!
This is my top gripe with preschool and school teachers. Kids do not need or want insta-worthy craft! Parent's don't want to see YOUR crafting skills (even if does make the classroom look beautiful).
Kids need opportunities to snip, cut, rip, glue, fold and to make mistakes! They need to have craft opportunities where they can learn about spatial relationships (even it means legs are coming out of heads, arms are different lengths and tongues don't curl properly). Painting outside the lines means they can work out where things are in relationship with themselves. Manipulating glue stick lids or squeezing the PVA glue are opportunities for fine motor and hand strength development. Early opportunities for snipping and cutting will lead to smoother cutting and better manipulation of the paper with practise. Folding those paper planes and flying them, kids will learn that more accurate folds make better planes and should practise these fine motor skills. Rolling, tearing and scrunching paper are so important for bilateral coordination and fine motor development.
At home, provide lots of craft materials for your kids to create, experiment and learn! You may not be "crafty" yourself or even like the finished product that your child produces (lets be honest here)... but it is not actually always about the finished product. Allow your child to work through the process. Need some ideas? Check out my "homemade arts of craft section". Each craft here is designed to be done by kids (with minimal help from adults).
2. Teachers PLEASE don't sharpen pencils for your kids!
I'm sure this is a time saving thing, but teachers why not provide ordinary pencil sharpeners in the classroom?! They don't even make a mess as they have little containers to catch the shavings. I don't mean to be patronizing but I would love to see more pencil sharpeners in preschool classrooms especially. What an easy natural way to work on bilateral coordination and fine motor manipulation. So much of the "turning" action when sharpening a pencil is made by the thumb and index working together. What a perfect "pre-writing" activity! If your child is using their whole hand to turn the pencil, encourage them to do this with the thumb and index finger - it may take practise!
As OTs we come up with exciting and creative ways to work on these skills, however such a simple thing as sharpening pencils regularly will help your kids to develop these skills! I may be including "pencil sharpening" as homework this year for my OT kids!
Make sure you encourage your child to do this at home too! You will be surprised with how quickly your child might say "my hand is tired" as they are not used to using these muscles.
3. Teachers please don't expect good handwriting if your child is sitting in a plastic garden chair!
It has been a few years now since I worked in a school where the standard chair for students was a cheap plastic garden chair with arms rests. These chairs were horrible for posture at a desk. The arm rests did not allow the chair to go under the tables, the child was either sitting back in a slouched position or sitting right on the edge at the front of the chair so they could rest their arms on the table. The chairs easily tipped and were difficult to move in and out of the table.
Other schools may not be as bad with the chairs provided, however I do want to remind you that posture is important. Children should be able to comfortably place both feet on the ground and the table should be slightly higher than their bent elbows without elevating their shoulders. Children should also have enough space so they are not "on top of" the child sitting next to them.
Check your tables and chairs at home too! Check where your child may be doing any "table top" work. The dining table may be a great option but often kids have their legs dangling and their arms are uncomfortable as shoulders are elevated so that they can reach. Small children may work better at a coffee table whilst sitting on an ottoman or cushion. You may want to invest in an adjustable table and chair that grow with your child.
You will find out the importance of posture and gross motor skills in "THE HANDWRITING BOOK" which is currently being launched! Apply the launch week discount code: HANDWRITINGHELP1
4. Teachers please don't take away writing lines too early!
Removing writing lines too early is like removing the lane marks on a road and expecting people to drive within the imagined lanes accurately. Some people can do it, but many can't! (OK - A slight exaggeration but you get the picture!)
Writing on lines provides children with a visual guide as to how to position letters. They can work out the size of letters and how they are positioned in relation to each other within a word and a sentence. When you remove the lines, kids need to be able to visualize how tall letters need to be and even how to write in a straight "line". Yes they need to know how to visualize this themselves - but at what age?
Often when I see children in year 1 or 2 or even older who have handwriting legibility difficulties, I need to give them the "lines" back to help with the visual spatial and organisational skills. I use my "earth paper" to provide a strong visual guide and then we work back to needing less lines. You could also use grid paper to help with organisation and spacing.
5. Teachers please don't punish kids by making them sit still or keeping by them in from recess or lunch.
Research shows that kids need opportunities for movement, exercise and fresh air.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (2012) make the following recommendations about the need for recess.
In conclusion the AAP state "recess should be considered a child’s personal time, and it should not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons".
Any teachers, OTs or parents guilty of some of these things?
I love working with my "teacher" friends and colleagues! I count many teachers as very good personal friends! Please don't take this article personally.
I did have a good chuckle with the teacher I mentioned in my introductory story! She "knows" where I stand with letting kids do the "craft"!
Let's go "BACK TO SCHOOL" in 2017 with a fresh look at how we "help" our children with their development and learning!
This article is part of the 2017 Aussie Back to School Blog Hop!
Read the "back to school" articles here by some wonderful Australian Bloggers! You will find out how the first time school mums are feeling, tips for special needs parents, great lunch box ideas as well as suggestions for those who don't like crunch and sip!
Teachers Please Don’t! | Your Kids OT
Advice For First Time School Mums From Seasoned Mums and Teachers | The Multitasking Woman
10 simple ways to make school lunches more fun | Kidgredients
Teacher Types Top Tips for Going Back to School | Teacher Types
Maintaining a Play Filled Routine throughout the School Term | Kids Play Space
5 Must Have Items for Starting Day Care | My Bored Toddler
Handling Crunch and Sip with Fussy Kids | Play With Food
How to share your child’s special needs with their new teacher | My Home Truths
16 things the school holidays have taught me | Eenie Meenie Miney Mum
The Most Important Skills Your Child Needs for School | The Happy Me Shop
101 Sandwich Filling Ideas for Kids | Create Bake Make
The Crucial Role of Recess in School. (2012). Pediatrics, 131(1), 183-188. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2993
Start 2017 with a FREE printable to document "All about Me" and "All about my Class". These sheets are perfect for the classroom or for an OT session. You could even do this at home.
The "All about Me" printable includes a place to draw a selfie, write your name, record your age, grade and teacher's name. You can also write in the colour of your hair and eyes as well as your favourite food, book and colour. There is a place to write what you like to play and who is in your home. Images may be coloured in and words decorated.
The "All about my Class" printable could be enlarged and used for the whole class. It could also be printed for each individual child to record the name of your class, school and teacher. You can count the number of boys and girls. Then figure out what colour hair and eyes each student has, recording this on the printable. Images may be coloured and words decorated.
Download these FREE PRINTABLES HERE!
I know teachers and OTs are busy lesson planning during the school holidays for the school year ahead! So share this with your teacher and OT friends! Let me know if you use these in your classroom or OT clinic!
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It has been a wonderful year for the YOUR KIDS OT blog (besides being sent a ransom virus which wiped out my computer files just before Christmas - eek) !
Thank you for reading and commenting on my articles as well as purchasing my resources!
This article will bring the most popular content for 2016! Perhaps you missed one?! What was your favourite?
MOST POPULAR POSTS - NEW TO 2016
1. Visual Perceptual Skills Required for Handwriting! We started the Functional Skills for Kids Series last year with this popular article! Read about different aspects of visual perception and its impact on letter formation, size and spacing.
2. Why is my child "just playing" when they see an OT? This article outlines the importance of play as a childhood occupation as well how therapists use "play" in therapy. There are details about finding a "just right challenge", using play as a medium to achieve goals and play as a goal in itself. There are practical ways to encourage your child to learn through play at home.
3. Quick Ways to Calm Down: Sea Life Sensory Solutions. Inspired by the sea, learn how to make a "puffer fish puff", "clam cuddle", "turtle tongue" and a "starfish stretch". Based on sensory processing theory, these "calm down techniques" facilitate self regulation through breathing and proproiceptive input. Later in the year I also added colouring pages to this free printable!
4. Sensory Triggers in the classroom. This article outlines sensory triggers that your child may experience in the classroom. Children may be over-responsive or under-responsive to stimuli in the classroom. The article considers visual, auditory, touch, movement, oral and olfactory (smell) triggers and includes a free printable.
5. Brain Breaks To Help Concentration in the Classroom. Looking back on brain-based education and also considering sensory integration principles, "brain breaks" may be used to "alert" or to calm" children down in a classroom environment. Find some popular "brain breaks" that teacher's love to use!
6. Motion Sickness - A Sensory Issue. Sensory Triggers when travelling in a car. Have you considered the sensory information that your child may be processing when travelling in a car? This article looks at the visual, auditory, proprioceptive, vestibular, oral and olfactory triggers that your child may experience in a car that may lead to discomfort and motion sickness. Later I also wrote some helpful tips with "Sensory Solutions When travelling in the Car".
7. Teaching Concepts for Potty Training. You can begin "potty training" way before your child is physically ready to use the potty. Consider the "concepts" they need to know like back/front, wet/dry and dirty/clean. Simple counting and body awareness are also important concepts for children to grasp before potty training begins!
8. Sensory Considerations for Dressing. Another popular article looking at which sensory triggers can affect a child's willingness to get dressed or undressed. This article explores sensory triggers, looks at your child's behaviour, provides strategies as well as a free checklist!
9. I can brush my teeth! Tips for Tooth Brushing and Oral Care. This is an important personal hygiene task for everybody! This articles looks at developmental ages and stages to encourage tooth brushing for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. This article also addresses the components needed for tooth brushing with fine motor, gross motor, visual motor, sensory, attention and concentration skills. There is a guide to an oral desensitisation protocol as well as free printable resources (tip sheet, rewards chart and checklist)!
10. 4 Ways to Modify Meal Times for Fussy Eaters. Take the stress out of meal times finding alternate cutlery, dinnerware and lunchboxes. Encourage a regular routine and hide extra veggies in meals!
MOST POPULAR PRODUCTS 2016!
1. Sea Life Sensory Solutions (Quick Ways to Calm Down).
2. Sensory Triggers in the Classroom.
3. Pencil Grip Reference Sheet.
4. Sensory Diet Reference Sheet.
5. Visual Perception Reference sheet.
Some readers also chose to purchase some of these popular sheets in a bundle with the newly launched "Bilateral Coordination and Laterality Reference Sheet". Find details of the discounted bundle package here!
FUN FACTS 2016!
Certainly a highlight for me in 2016 has been participating in the "Functional Skills for Kids" Blog Series with some amazing bloggers. We are working behind the scenes to publish our first book soon! Don't forget to subscribe to the Facebook group to be the first to find out about our launch and receive discounts!
Are you new to YKOT? What article or resource brought you to my site?
What was your favourite in 2016?
I would love to hear from you and look forward to another great year in 2017!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Cindy is a registered Occupational Therapist practising in Sydney Australia. She has two young children who are a constant source of inspiration and learning. Cindy loves working creatively to help children to reach their potential, finding opportunities in everyday living and making learning fun. Cindy is the author of the Occupational Therapy blog Your Kids OT.
Thank you for your support in 2016! It has been a fantastic year for my little blog. I'm looking forward to providing you with lots of new articles in 2017 full of tips and tricks to help your child's development and to make learning fun!
I'm taking a "blogging break" to spend time with my own family over the next few weeks but will be back soon!
Wishing you a safe, happy and cherished Christmas season!
Imagine an 11 year old girl attending an evening class at a local school with her friend. They wanted to learn how to type so voluntarily enrolled in a "word processor" course!
Gosh that was a life time ago and certainly ages me! Have you even heard of a "word processor"?
Keyboarding and proficient touch typing is an essential skill for the 21st century. I don't believe that it will completely make handwriting obsolete, however I would be living in a cave if I didn't acknowldege how important keyboarding and typing skills are to a student's every learning.
Learning to use a keyboard and to type isn't easy! It is a false assumption that children with handwriting difficulties will learn to type easily. It will certainly help these children in the long run, however, it is important to be remember that children with motor and planning difficulties (eg, bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, visual perceptual and fine motor difficulties) in handwriting will also have these difficulties when initially learning to use a keyboard to type. Accomodations for these difficulties may need to be considered when teaching keyboarding and typing skills.
How do YOU type?
Hands up if you are a "2 finger" typer? Do you use your two index fingers to stab at the keyboard? Whilst there are a lot of proficient "2 finger" typers out there, I think it is important to teach kids proper finger positioning when learning how to use the keyboard!
If you have a keyboard in front of you, look down at it for a moment. What do you see?
Did you notice what I asked you to do? Looking up at a screen then looking down at the keyboard. Did you easily find your place back up on the screen to read my suggestions? For children with visual perceptual difficulties this is one of the main issues they may have difficulty with as they look up and down and up again. They may also have to move their hands completely off the keyboard so they can see the keys. One of the main benefits of touch typing is eliminating this need to look up and down so often.
Here is a look at the various aspects of visual perceptual skills required with keyboarding and typing.
Eye –hand coordination is the ability to coordinate eye movement with hand movements and includes the ability to process visual information to guide hand function. In keyboarding and typing, eye- hand coordination is needed to required to press the required keys. Beginner typists will need to look for each key to be typed, look up at the screen to make sure what is typed is accurate, look down again and so on.
As touch typing develops, the eye can rest on the screen and monitor what appears rather than how the hand moves. The fingers are less reliant on "sight" of letters on keys and can move more automatically.
Children may also need to watch their hand guide a mouse or track ball, with constant looking up at the screen and down at their hand as they work out the visual-spatial differences of moving something on a horizontal plane and how this can affect a cursor on the vertical plane.
Visual Discrimination and Form Constancy
Visual Discrimination is the ability to classify objects or shapes based on visual information such as colour, form, pattern, size or position. Form Constancy is the ability to identify an object, shape, letter, number, symbol when it is presented in a different way (eg. larger, smaller, rotated, italics, bold, different font, sideways, upside down, different colour).
In keyboarding, and typing, children need to be aware that letters are produced in capital and lower case form. Most keyboards come with capital letter keys. Children need to grasp the concept of lower case letters being produced on the screen when capital letters are pressed on the keyboard.
Some children will have difficulty reading certain fonts on the screen which they may be unfamiliar with. Some letters look quite different in different fonts (eg. a, g, k). Some children may also have difficulty with words written in italics and they may have difficulty with distinguishing letters because of their size on screen.
Recommendations and Accomodations for Visual Perceptual Difficulties
Position in Space or Visual Spatial Relationships.
Position in Space or spatial relationships involves the ability to process information about oneself in relation with their environment in space, orientation and position. It may involved the ability to understand directional language concepts such as up/down, next to, left/right, over/under, etc.
As mentioned previously, as typing and keyboarding skills develop there is less reliance on visual guidance to find the right keys on the keyboard. Over time touch typers can understand where their fingers are "in space" and in relationship with other keys to be struck without looking. This is also true for the use of the mouse and trackball.
Figure-Ground and Visual Memory
Figure-Ground is the ability to see an object or form when presented in a complex background. Visual memory is the ability to remember and recall objects, shapes, symbols or movements in short term memory. Visual memory requires visualization of what to remember.
In keyboarding and typing skills, both figure-ground and visual memory skills are required to learn the layout of the keyboard. They are needed to have a map (ie. visualization) of the keyboard in one's mind so that that finding the keys becomes automatic. Difficulties with figure-ground and and visual-memory may lead to more reliance on the visual skills of looking and scanning (ie. hunting) for the correct keys on the keyboard. This will slow down the typist and can often be observed with "2 finger typists".
Both figure-ground and visual memory skills are also needed to enable a child to maintain their place on the screen when looking down and then up again to keep track of what they are writing on the screen. This is further complicated if the child is copying text to type onto the scren as they are looking at the stimulus, looking at the screen, looking back at the stimulus, looking at the screen, looking a their hands and so forth.
Locating the cursor/pointer may also be difficult for children who have difficulty with figure ground skills. The pointer may look like a large capital "I" when typing text and be confused with the print on screen.
Well I'm please to tell you that that 11 year old girl who learnt to touch type on a word processor can now type approximately 70 words per minute. I use this on a daily basis as an OT and for this blog!
BUT I also pre-wrote most of this article on paper first with scribbes here and there when I edited the order of my work and brainstormed what I wanted to cover!
So don't throw the pen and paper away just yet!
This article is part of the "Functional Skills for Kids Series by Pediatric Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapist". This is the last month of the 12 month series so do go back and check out any months you might have missed! You will find all the childhood functions HERE. Read all Your Kids OT’s monthly posts HERE
Find more information about “keyboarding and typing”, read what other Occupational and Physical Therapists participating in the “Functional Skills for Kids series” have written:
When is My Child Ready to Learn to Keyboard? | Miss Jaime, O.T.
Fine Motor Skills and Typing | Therapy Fun Zone
How to Implement a Keyboarding Club | Sugar Aunts
10 Keyboarding Modifications to Help Kids Type Better | Mama OT
Activities to Help Children Learn to Type | Growing Hands-On Kids
Assistive Technology for Kids Who Struggle With Handwriting | The Inspired Treehouse
Work Station, Positioning and Keyboarding Skills| Your Therapy Source
Visual Perceptual Considerations When Typing | Your Kids OT
BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE!
Have you enjoyed this 12 month series about Functional Skills for Kids? It has been an honour to work along side these amazing therapy bloggers. You can stay in touch with our whole team by joining us on FACEBOOK. Join THE FUNCTIONAL SKILLS FOR KIDS GROUP PAGE to be find out about the books we will producing based our this series and much more!
Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this article to promote products that I recommend. Your Kids OT is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Your Kids OT. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand.
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The end of the school year is fast approaching here in Australia!
I'm winding up my OT practice next week but still want to make my OT sessions goal directed!
I gave my followers on Instagram and FB a sneak peek at my "box writing" Christmas printable and have now made this printable available!
BUT that's not all, I have bundled this into a pack of 5 to suit a range or ages and goals!
In this pack you will get:
These printables would also be great for classrooms as well!
Download your copytoday!
I always love to hear from you if you do use my printables so don't forget to tag @yourkidsot or #yourkidsot!
Are you finishing up for the year? What are your favourite Christmas printables?
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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