Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First cursive (still more to share today!) / active roles and passive roles

After several attempts to begin the Peterson Handwriting Program today, I found, with some trial and error, something that is a great scaffold for a child who may be affected by both attention issues and movement/motor issues: I sat in the floor and my daughter sat in my lap, and she wrapped her hand around mine as I "air wrote" our first letter today. She was able to feel the motion through mine, and without my asking her to, she began to take the lead and move my hand through the motions. And her approximations of the cursive lowercase letter "t" began to resemble cursive lowercase "t's" instead of capital print upside down V's. (yeah!) The transformation of her letters was quite exciting once I figured out one way to help her "air write" and feel that movement.

Next time, I may sit in a chair and have her stand beside me in a way that she can grasp my hand/arm in order to join me in "air writing".

In the past, a lot of intervention with my daughter was done using what is referred to as "HAND OVER HAND", where the adult's hand is on TOP of the child's and guides the child's hand. "Hand-over-hand" is sometimes (often) used as a substitute for attention sharing when the child's ability to share attention with the adult is limited or developmentally delayed. "Hand-over-hand" puts the child in a passive role, letting someone do something *to* him.

What my girl and I did this morning was use my hand UNDER hers, where she could feel my movement, and as I put less effort into my movement, I gave her the opportunity to take responsibility for the movement, and I put her into an ACTIVE role, where she could feel herself taking an action, feel herself making the movements. When I removed my arm and hand from under hers, she was able to "air write" our first cursive letter herself.

The difference between "active role" and "passive role" is a BIG one--please don't miss the distinction.


Chef Penny said...

Awesome idea! Thanks! We are always struggling wth fine motor skills.

Penny said...

I spoke with Rand at Peterson and he gave me another idea, one that we'll do as a latter step in the process: Put posterboard or butcher paper on the wall at the child's level, and position him/her correctly in front of the paper, make sure the chalk or marker is positioned correctly in the child's hand.

Then you (the parent or teacher) stands behind the child and uses your pointer finger to draw the shape (we're working on "sharp/top") on the child's back, and the child is supposed to draw what he/she feels you drawing.

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