Helping a 2nd Grader with Fine Motor Skills

I teach 2nd grade and have one child that has really bad handwriting. I've tried to help him improve but I don't think it's that he doesn't know letter formation. I think his fine motor skills are just so poor that he can't get the good handwriting. His hand almost seems to shake when he writes. What can I do to help him improve?

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Something to Check
by: Anonymous

Have you tried having him form the letters of the alphabet with his eyes open then again with eyes closed? If he really knows the patterns this should be no problem either way. If he does not, it will be hard with eyes closed. Check how he forms the letters-is he starting them correctly. A child who can't do letters eyes closed does not know the patterns kinesthestically. Best thing then is to practice making letters with his finger or pencil with eyes closed. Make sure it's done correct though or just reinforcing bad motor patterns. Second, has his vision been checked? A developmental vision specialist will check a child beyond just near/far vision. Third, if it is a fine motor problem, a gripper (many types available) may help. Is child able to do push/pull movement with fingers and thumb? Separate thumb, index and mid fingers from last two? Individuate fingers? Another thing is that many kids with poor writing have a processing problem. They can copy well but fall apart with composition due to higher demand of skill required (spelling, grammar, content). In this case, using tech like Kurzweil, or typing is easier for child.

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Try working on his shoulder girdle?
by: Anonymous

Hi,

Often children with poor fine motor skills have not yet developed good stability in their shoulder girdle muscles. You need to have good stability with the larger muscles before he can work well with the smaller muscles in his hands.

I have some shoulder exercises for kids (http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/shoulder-exercises-for-kids.html), and some of them are specifically for using in a classroom before writing tasks. I have found they help a lot, especially with my own son who has poor fine motor skills.

But if he is actually shaking when he writes, that is quite severe, and I would recommend to his mom that he sees a physiotherapist or occupational therapist to help him.

Hope this helps!
Tracey le Roux
www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com

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ot?
by: marisa

Our son does Handwriting without Tears which the school gave me to do with him. Great program. Also his oT helps him as well. I'm thinking he doesn't have an IEP? Look into the HWT program. Good luck!

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