Sunday, September 12, 2010

Handwriting Help

Handwriting can be a challenge for some kids who have
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.

There are several concerns, for some kids who have ACC,
when it comes to handwriting. One of them is...holding
the pencil correctly while being able to make the writing
movements comfortably and easily.

Some kids who have ACC may have challenges with fine
motor skills.

My child, Matthew, who is completely missing his corpus
callosum, picked up pencils, crayons and markers by
wrapping all of his fingers around the pencil and making
a fist...also called a palmar grasp (which he still prefers).

We also tried 100,000 different kinds of pencil grips (ok not
that many but A LOT) with Matthew until his special
education teacher in about 5th grade discovered a
particular pencil grip that he used/tolerated fairly well.
Although he is still unable to write letters, he can make
circles and lines.

There are also additional struggles and challenges when it
comes to handwriting and some kids who have Agenesis of
the Corpus Callosum that I hope to address in another post.

But the whole reason why I am writing this post is because
I want to share a couple of handwriting strategies with you
that I have seen many parents, who have a child with ACC,
speak highly of and say how much they have helped their

The first is an ergonomic pencil called Twist'N'Write
made by PenAgain. And the pencils are refillable.

Twist'N Write Pencils by PenAgain.

The Twist 'N Write pencil is made for small hands
(elementary school children) and cost only a couple
of dollars for a two-pack.

View a story about it being used in the classroom
on Fox news:

Read what an Occupational Therapist has to say about
the Twist'N Write pencils:

"Hello Pen Again. I am an occupational therapist at Lucile
Packard Childrens Hospital and I work with outpatients at
our therapy center at 2345 Yale Street in Palo Alto. I want
to thank you for sharing the new Twist n Write pencils with
our OT department, and to let you know that our supply of
pencils has diminished to only 2 because we have found it
to be so helpful for our patients. The pencil has been
particularly helpful to children with Down Syndrome, hand
or thumb weakness, and those with poor coordination who
cringe at the sight of a pencil, but is intrigued by your
pencil’s unusual shape. An 18 year old patient of mine who
has had brain tumor surgery with residual weakness and
hypertonia in his dominant right hand, is now able to
write again with that hand because I started him using
the Ergo Sof. Now, he is writing a journal entry every day,
and drawing cartoons."

J. Kitsuwa-Lowe, MA, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

PenAgain also makes pens

as well as Twist'N Write pencils.

There are several styles to choose from.

Pencils and Pens can be purchased at local stores near you including Staples, Office Depot and a few other stores or
can also be purchased online.

The second handwriting strategy that parents speak highly
of who have a child with ACC is Handwriting Without Tears.

Handwriting Without Tears was created by a mom,
Jan Olsen
, who is also an Occupational Therapist.
Jan's mission to help her own child learn handwriting
began in 1977.

You can read more about the history and mission behind Handwriting Without Tears.

Handwriting Without Tears is a hands-on approach to
learning using multisensory methods to help teach
handwriting. Many kids who have Agenesis of the Corpus
Callosum respond very well to a multisensory approach
to learning and the ability to learn through a hands-on

Check out a video of a child and his teacher using one of
the hands-on methods to help teach capital letters:

View more video demos of Handwriting Without Tears.

Your child's school may already have access to
Handwriting Without Tears. If your child is struggling with
handwriting check with your child's school to see if this
educational teaching tool to help promote handwriting can
be incorporated into your child's educational program. And
if your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
be sure to have it written directly into your child's IEP.

You may also want to check out the Back To School: ACC
post for more educational information.

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