Thursday, February 12, 2015

How S Learned to Write His Name

When S joined our family in 2001, he was 4 years old and ready to start Pre-K.  He was so excited about school that year, and his focus was on learning English and charming everyone at the school.

The summer before Kindergarten started we knew he needed to learn to write his name. During Pre-K, the teacher or the aide wrote his name on his paper for him.  That was fine that year, but he needed to learn to write his name.
[S did receive OT services at school, but there were so many other areas that he needed to work on before we focused on writing skills with the OT.]

What did we do?
We told S that we had to practice writing every day during the summer so he would be able to write his name on his paper like the other boys and girls did.  He was good with that.  Every day he got up on his stool at the table, and we pulled out the bucket of handwriting helps.

What did we use?
Since our primary focus at that point was his name and not all of the letters, we had a very specific goal.  Fortunately, the letters in his name aren't too difficult to make.  

Techniques we used included:
*Spelling his name out with shaving cream or pudding on the table
*Tracing the letters in his name on papers I made
*Tracing the shapes of his letters on sandpaper for the tactile sensation
*I made bubble letters on paper and outlined them in glue.  This provided "bumpers" for his letters which forced him to stay in the lines and create the right shapes.
*Taping paper on the wall and having him stand to write
*We tried a variety of writing tools - crayons, fat pencils, regular pencils, markers.
*S is left handed, so there is a slight challenge with that.

We probably did some other things, but that's what I can remember.  It's been a while since we did that.

Beyond His Name
We used Handwriting without Tears for him to learn to write the rest of his letters and numbers. Knowing that S would use computers/keyboarding for his primary writing, we knew that he still needed functional handwriting.  

He went through the Handwriting without Tears book, and we progressed to cursive.  We knew that he would need to be able to sign papers as he became older.  We have found that a felt tip pen works best for him when signing his name.  It allows for a better flow across the paper.

I don't know if he remembers how many hours we spent at the table, so he could learn to write his name that summer.  He was quite excited to show his teacher when Kindergarten started. He has worked very hard and has come a long way!

I will be on the couch with chocolate celebrating the little milestones that came because of hard work on my son's part.

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