Thabo is having difficulties with handwriting - he is slow and the teacher is complaining about his pencil grip. He gets tired sitting and working at a table and leans on his one arm and puts his head down on the desk when writing.
The paediatrician has diagnosed "low muscle tone", but the physical therapist (PT) using a routines and task based assessment has identified that Thabo is unfit, has some tightness in the back and hip muscles, and that his grip suits his hypermobile hands.
Together the PT, Thabo and his parents have worked out a range of different ways to increase Thabo's fitness levels and get him to be generally more active (including visits to the park and running up the stairs) and to improve his flexibility and endurance for sitting and for handwriting (10 minutes a day exercise program).
The PT also spoke to Thabo's teacher about the importance of allowing Thabo to adopt a grip that suits his hypermobile fingers and made suggestions for some graphic skills activities for the classroom to improve shoulder control for drawing and handwriting. .
|Children with hypermobile hands adapt their pencil grip to suite their hands.|
Despite the pediatricians' diagnosis, low tone is not Thabo's problem - poor muscle flexibility, strength and endurance related to inactive lifestyle and avoidance of challenging task are the issue
Studies have as shown that task based skills and fitness training approach is the most effective way to help children with movement difficulties.
Handwriting Gym Online Handbook
For parents and teachers
- Assessing Graphic Skills Handbook: a 45 page PDF download
- Training for sitting comfort and stamina - A 16 page PDF download
- Activities for training shoulder movements, pencil grip and finger movements
- How drawing helps children develop basic skills for learning to write
- Teaching handwriting - using a stroke based approach
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