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Does your child have difficulty producing printing or cursive writing that is easily read and can be produced relatively quickly? If not, challenges can arise for a number of reasons. For example, hand strength, hand-eye coordination, posture, and visual-spatial skills for letter spacing and word positioning all contribute to printing and writing efficiency and legibility. Executive functioning skills like focusing attention, planning ahead, and prioritizing can also influence printing or writing ease.
Difficulties producing written work can make school work much harder for your child by adding barriers, increasing frustration, and eroding confidence. At Possibilities, we offer structured programs to support children with needs that can impact printing and cursive writing. Handwriting Without Tears is a program offered by our Occupational Therapists to children from pre-Kindergarten and into Grade 5.
Here are some questions we are asked about this program, along with our answers.
Handwriting Without Tears is a structured program that supports emergent writing skills in Pre-Kindergarten students to cursive mastery for older students in Grade 5. Children build skills essential for smooth and more automatic printing and writing through a series of fun and engaging activities. Worksheets are part of the program and allow children to practise and strengthen their skills.
Currently, cursive writing may not be taught in your child’s school—and it may not be expected. In Handwriting Without Tears cursive writing is introduced in Grade 3. Some children find the smooth movements of cursive writing easier to produce than letters that are printed individually. However, this preference is not the case for all children. Speak with the Occupational Therapist to explore goals. You may decide to focus exclusively on printing, or to have your child move from printing to cursive when printing skills have been strongly solidified.
Yes. In-person lessons will give your child access to all the materials, called manipulatives, that come with the program during each session. Working in person will also allow the Occupational Therapist to make detailed observations, offer hands-on corrections to your child’s grip and paper positioning, and share direct modeling of other factors like arm movement and posture that support writing and printing.
The ability to print or write effectively involves several skills, including fine and gross motor skills, visual-spatial perception, sensory processing, attention, and executive functioning. Beyond these considerations, your child’s needs will require an individualized approach to help maximize success. In your first meeting, the Occupational Therapist will perform a clinical interview and explore various skills to determine the best course of action to support your child’s handwriting needs. Supplemental exercises and activities may be recommended as part of an integrated Treatment Plan supporting your child’s progress through the Handwriting Without Tears program.
Assistive Technology can be a wonderful support for children with handwriting difficulties—even when handwriting improves. Programs like Handwriting Without Tears can help boost the legibility and efficiency of handwriting. With that being said, when your child needs to write quickly—or record lots of information—Assistive Technology can help your child record details fast and effectively. Without Assistive Technology—particularly for children with handwriting challenges—details can be dropped when thoughts are disrupted by the physical mechanics of writing. Our Occupational Therapists can speak with you about how Assistive Technology and keyboarding skills can support your child’s written work. With this information you can decide how typing and digital supports might best support your children’s success.
If you wonder whether challenges beyond handwriting are making it hard for your child to succeed at school, then you might consider a comprehensive assessment of additional skills. For example, our Focus Forward 360 Assessment takes an in-depth look at attention and mental health. Our Signature Assessment is a larger Psychoeducational Assessment that includes measures of intellectual functioning, learning, memory, language, attention, academic performance, and mental health. All our assessments for concerns beyond handwriting involve a medical doctor and require a physician referral. A doctor’s referral is not required to sign up for Occupational Therapy sessions.
Occupational Therapy focused on handwriting skills starts with a block of 6 sessions. At a weekly pace, children have consistent opportunities to build, practice, and solidify skills. Work done at home can also support progress in between sessions. Clients typically continue after the initial 6-session block since building handwriting skills that develop over time—and that evolve from printing to cursive if you are interested in this option—is a process requiring new learning, persistence, and practice.
Occupational Therapy services may be offered through your child’s school. Please speak with the principal or Special Education personnel at your child’s school to see what is available. Typically, only a few sessions per year may be offered through the school board. If you choose to seek services privately at Possibilities, our Occupational Therapist could speak with school personnel about accommodations and related support with your permission.
Handwriting Without Tears is provided by Occupational Therapists at Possibilities and is not covered by OHIP. Your private insurance plan may cover these sessions as an allied health service.
Yes! You do not need a doctor’s referral to start working with an Occupational Therapist at Possibilities.
The cost of each Occupational Therapy session is $180. We recommend booking 6 sessions to ensure treatment support at regular intervals.
For more information about the Handwriting Without Tears program offered by Occupational Therapists at Possibilities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-833-482-5558.
You can also get started right away by completing our Direct To Therapy and Coaching Intake Form.