Learning to write your name - from scribbles to empowered with our Occupational Therapy Department

January 29, 2018

Learning how to write your name! Do you remember it? When you realize that the lines and scribbles on a piece of paper add up to say something, and then that you can say something with your own lines and markings, well that is pretty darned empowering.

Here are our two Occupational Therapists at work. They work on many skills each day with the kids, but they just happened to be targeting handwriting with these two students, and both were also coincidentally working on their names at the time of this visit.

Sometimes children balk at the sight of a pencil or piece of paper. Not these two!

Kaley and Caitlin, the two OTs, know just the way to motivate their students to get them interested, engaged and working hard to achieve their goals.

For example, getting a young child to sit at the table might be a challenge for some, yet Kaley offers a chance to swing or jump to reinforce good focus and effort throughout her session.

A regular pencil might be a tad boring for a small child learning to write, but Caitlin offers choices of colors and tools. Recently Pipsqueak markers and Twistables were donated from our Wish List, and these serve as never-ending sources of inspiration and interest.

Even if your favorite color is pink most of the time, new choices of utensils on new choices of paper or other surfaces can tip the scale from “oh no” to “let’s go”!

Other techniques used here were also very important. One student has learned to write all the letters now by tracing, so the therapist is fading the tracing and moving her to copying. As this little writer engages in the task, she sings the letters. There’s no doubt whatsoever that she is attending.


Another student’s routine is to first trace the large letters of her name dot-to-dotted by her therapist. Then she copies below. Seeing her at work, standing at the table and initiating the choosing of materials for herself as she goes, is like watching an artist at work.

The profession of Occupational Therapy is one aimed at helping people to develop, restore or maintain activities and skills in their lives for their occupations and daily activities. For kids, “occupation” might refer to school, play, being a family member, being a member of the community, etc. At a school – Crossroads Center for Children for instance – OT work focuses primarily on development of skills for the activities needed for the child to have success in the school setting. These being numerous, our OTs work on so many skills during their daily work with the students. Depending on the student, you might find them helping with grasping and holding a spoon, tracing a shape, cutting on a line, brushing teeth, tying shoes, or putting a bead on a string. It is interesting and exciting work, both for the students and the therapists.

Please join us in thanking OTs everywhere for their important work, but especially department here at Crossroads.


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