Friday, November 30, 2012

Cursive Writing and Special Needs

There is a controversy these days about whether or not kids need to learn cursive writing.  For typical kids they claim that technology is making the method obsolete.  While that may be so, I think we are doing a huge disservice to our kids by not giving them skills that can and will help them in life.  For kids with special needs the concerns are different.  I remember reading early on that it was not necessary to teach it to children with DS who struggle with motor skill issues.  I had all these thoughts tucked away in my head not having decided yet what I would do for Gess.  Then over the summer I realized it was time to address it.

I generally use my debit card when shopping and every time I sign my receipt Gess wants to sign too.  She used to get really angry when I would not let her do it but we have a system now; I sign the store's copy and she signs mine.  It makes us both happy and she is learning how the paying process works.  It has been working great for a couple of years now.  Gess always writes her name on just about every receipt I get.  Then a few moths ago I noticed that Gess started scribbling instead of writing her name.  That kid recognized that I do not print my name, but instead write in what looks like scribbles to her!  So I began contemplating introducing her to cursive writing.  Hey, if that's what she wants, I am all for it!

Then we went to our yearly evaluation with the occupational therapist at the Down Syndrome Clinic and she actually recommended it for children who have motor skill problems.  I never thought about cursive being easier than printing, but it actually is. When you print you have to start and stop and lift the pencil many times and that really makes it difficult for some kids.  When you write in cursive you only lift your pen for every new word (except for dotting and crossing various letters of course).  She said many kids with DS have great success and write much neater that way. I decided we would give it a try and so we started cursive writing.

The therapist recommended Handwriting Without Tears which was perfect because that's the program we used to learn printing anyway!  Gess is really loving it.  Now when she signs her name she is back to printing her name BUT she writes the "g" in cursive.  She actually told me that today when she signed her name.  So far she only knows c,a, d and g.  It's so cute and she is proud.  She really seems thrilled to be writing that way.  I am so proud of her!

So do not discount the value of cursive writing.  It might just make it easier for your kid and help them enjoy writing! 

1 comment:

Izzie, Mac & Me said...

We're using Handwriting Without Tears too! Stopping by from the TOS Blog linky. I'm your newest follower.


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