Handwriting Tricks for Kids with Low Muscle Tone

After writing volume II of my JointSmart series, Living and Thriving With Hypermobility: The School Years ,  I have decided to write a handout pack specifically on special needs handwriting.  It is NOW available!

I loved writing my book, and I will eventually write volume III for the tween and teen with hypermobility.  But I realized that my handout packs, sold on Your Therapy Source , have become an affordable resource for both parents and professionals.  These are easy-to-read single sheets, have less theory and more practical information per page, and get right down to the information people need in the moment!  Want to save money?  Buy more than one of my books or handout packs, and YTS will give you a deep discount.  Almost all parents, teachers, and therapists will find 2 or more products that they need:

Not every child with hypermobility has hypotonia, also known as low muscle tone.  But every child with low muscle tone will have some degree of hypermobility.  It can be mild or moderate, or severe.  And it makes holding a pencil and writing far more challenging than many realize.  My book covers the basics, but not everyone wants to buy a book just to get ideas for handwriting and handwriting instruction.  Each child is unique.  Not every idea will work for every child.  But there are some cheap and easy strategies that can make a difference right away.

For busy teachers, parents, and therapists, these are the go-to techniques to use:

  1. Do not underestimate the power of posture.  Even some PTs can get away from the basics of looking at the core first.  Kids with low tone need more supportive seating than other kids, so constantly prompting them to sit up won’t matter as much as providing the right seating.
  2. The best writing utensil can matter a lot more than anyone realizes.  A sharp pencil, and one a bit on the thicker side, gives more control to a child that could need the extra advantage.  I am a big fan of the thicker mechanical pencils.  They deliver both attributes in a colorful and affordable package.
  3. Teach kids with low tone to check their posture, grip, and paper positioning occasionally.  They don’t have a wide latitude of error for poor positioning.  Teaching this early and making it a habit will be worth the effort.  Some kids need a written checklist to consult:  let them make one and place it in a plastic sleeve or on a large Post-It note on their desk.
  4. Consider offering micro-breaks.  Muscle fatigue happens more quickly with hypotonic kids.  Letting them take long breaks isn’t always as helpful as shoe breaks with some gentle range of motion moves.



By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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