Monday, May 30, 2016

Evidence-Based Practice: Handwriting Intervention Study
Purpose: To examine the effectiveness of two approaches used to improve elementary children’s handwriting.

Methods: New York city elementary school students engaged in two handwriting approaches. One group utilized handwriting practice group (Handwriting Club) and the other group engaged in visual–perceptual–motor activities. After 12-weeks, handwriting speed, legibility, and visual–motor skills were examined using multivariate analysis of variance.

Results:  Students who participated in the handwriting practice group demonstrated greater improvements in handwriting legibility than the students in the visual–perceptual–motor activity group. There were no group differences in handwriting speed and visual–motor skills.

Conclusions: The Handwriting Club (intense handwriting practice) is an effective approach for improving handwriting legibility.

Howe, T.-H., Roston, K. L., Sheu, C.-F., & Hinojosa, J. (2013). Assessing handwriting intervention effectiveness in elementary school students: A two-group controlled study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, 19–

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Effectiveness of a Handwriting Program Balaraman

This study investigated the effectiveness of a handwriting program that was implemented in a school setting with 1st graders.  The Write Start Program involves teachers and occupational therapists working together implement activity-based handwriting instruction. 

Purpose: To examine the Write Start program with standard handwriting and writing instruction.

Methods: A nonrandomized trail comparing four classrooms that received the Write Start program with four classrooms receiving standard handwriting instruction.  In a 6-month follow-up, the Write Start group handwriting fluency was higher than the control group's fluency.

Results: The handwriting legibility and speed of the students who participated in the Write Start program were no different than the control group immediately after the intervention, but scored better 6-months after the intervention.  The students with decreased legibility who participated in the Write Start program made significant improvements.

Conclusions:  The Write Start Program may benefit students with writing problems as well as those at risk for handwriting problems.

Case-Smith, J., Weaver, L., & Holland, T. (2014). Effects of a classroom-embedded occupational therapist–teacher 
     handwriting program for first-grade students. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 690–698.  http://dx.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Therapy Share: A Wonderful New Resource!

Are you always looking for new treatment ideas and resources to use with your clients?  So is Deirdre Newburn, OTR/L!  Deirdre has been working an occupational therapist in the same skilled nursing facility for four years.  To say at times that she falls into “treatment ruts” would be an understatement.  However, she has found challenges when trying to find resources. Either the material is copyrighted and costs an outrageous amount of money, or the material is not easy to access.  Deirdre shares, “I have spent hours searching the internet for therapy protocols, educational handouts, or safety worksheets to share with my clients or their caregivers.  I have even surrendered at times and just made my own quick handouts for my patients.  I worked alongside a dear friend who had the same issue as a speech language pathologist working in the same setting before she left to work in the schools.  Together we shared our grievances for access to creative materials and came up with a solution!  After coffee shop meetings and late night text messages once our four little boys were in bed we created” is a new website devoted towards enhancing the ease of access to creative and original healthcare resources in order to enrich the lives of those we serve.  The design of the site is that of an online marketplace where healthcare professionals can upload their digital content to sell or share with their colleagues.  After much market research we found the most receptive populations to initially target were occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, and dietitians/nutritionists, but we hope to expand to encompass all healthcare professions.  The types of resources that are appropriate for uploading to the website are limitless: patient worksheets, home exercise programs, quick reference guides, tip sheets for patients, protocols, caregiver handouts, etc.  The website is growing rapidly, but there is still a great need for more resources to be uploaded to the site. 

If you are a practicing therapist who has created some of your own materials (or have always wanted to, but just need that little extra push) please consider visiting and uploading your resources for FREE.  The website also gives users the opportunity to create their own marketplace on the site where they can include their biography along with links to their social media platforms or businesses. 

The goal of is to create a “one stop shop” type of atmosphere for healthcare professionals to network and exchange their valuable information.  We hope others will join our mission and make The Therapy Share a great success! 

Click HERE to register with us for free AND opt in to receive our newsletter to be entered to win a $25 credit towards the purchase of products on our site.  Upload a product of your own to have your name entered twice.

Deirdre Newburn, OTR/L
CEO of The Therapy Share

Monday, May 9, 2016

Evidence-Based Practice: Handwriting Intervention

Handwriting Intervention Research

An occupational therapist is the professional to call when an individual is having trouble with handwriting!  Writing on the lines, letter formation, legibility, and spacing problems are all issues related to handwriting struggles.  When handwriting is difficult, this can lead to frustration, anxiety, and low self-esteem, so it's important to seek help for this issue.

Here is one research study related to handwriting interventions and occupational therapy.  I will continue to add more article reviews!

Effectiveness of School-Based Occupational Therapy Intervention on Handwriting: 
A Comparative Study

Purpose: To examine the effect of school occupational therapy services on handwriting legibility

Methods: Improvements in handwriting legibility, speed, and in-hand manipulation skills in a group of students who received direct handwriting intervention OT services was compared to those of a control group who did not receive services.

Results: Handwriting legibility scores and in-hand manipulation skills in the treatment group improved significantly compared to the control group.

Conclusion: Direct occupational therapy services resulted in improvements with handwriting legibility and in-hand manipulation skills, but handwriting speed was not impacted by the intervention.

Case-Smith, J. (2002). Effectiveness of school-based occupational therapy intervention on handwriting: A comparative 
          study.  American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(1), 17-25.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Win a copy of the parenting book, Retro Baby!!!!

"Put down your smartphone and pick up this book. With plain-spoken, concise wisdom, Dr. Zachry provides vital, research-backed information for parents of young children. Creative, interactive play with other children and adults supports healthy brain development in ways today’s technology never will. "Retro Baby" provides parents fun, money-saving activities that will set their children up for lifelong success." 

"Retro Baby" is the perfect baby shower gift.  To purchase a copy on Amazon, click HERE.

To win a copy of "Retro Baby," all you have to do is like the "Retro Baby" Facebook Page by clicking HERE, and send me a message explaining why you'd like to win a copy and how to contact you.  The drawing will be in June.  Good luck!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coloring is Good for Development: Free Coloring Sheets!

If your child enjoys coloring, that's a good thing!  Coloring is a great way to improve a number of different developmental skills.  Fine motor skills and dexterity are required to hold and manipulate a crayon.  If the child doesn't use her thumb and fingers to hold the crayon, break the crayon into small pieces.  Coloring on a vertical surface using a small piece of crayon promotes a tripod grasp and finger flexion and extension, which are desirable!

Children can also learn about colors, shapes and other concepts when coloring.  It's also great for attention span!  For free coloring sheets, click on these links!

Click HERE for more free worksheets!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Therapeutic DIY Game: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Do you work with a child who loves baseball?  Here is an easy, DIY activity that will be motivating for him!  This activity addresses eye hand coordination, balance, and gross motor skills.  Add light weights to the child’s wrist to work on strengthening!

Materials needed: Trifold display board, scissors, markers, yarn, game pieces, Velcro, and plastic baseballs

How to Make the game:

1.     On the center section of display board, cut out 3 circles of different sizes.  Each circle needs to be assigned a number of points (if the child throws the ball into that circle).  Make sure all circles are large enough for the ball to fit through.

2.     On the left side of the display board, draw a baseball diamond with all 4 bases.  In between each base, draw lines in proportionate segments.  Each of the segments represents a score of 5 points.  This will form your score board.  Place Velcro pieces on each segment to later attach a game piece.

3.     On the right section of the display board, attach game pieces to the board by using Velcro.  The game pieces can be made out of felt or poster board.

4.     Use markers to design the trifold board to be baseball themed.

5.     Punch a hole in the board large enough to slide a piece of yarn through.  This is where you will store the yarn that the client stands behind while playing the game.


      1. Make an additional score board on a piece of foam so that the child can play the game with other individuals.

      2. Attach yarn to the foam to form a handle.  The child can carry the score board over their shoulder during the game instead of using the score board located on the trifold.

 How to play the game:

1.     Set the game board on a flat surface appropriate to the child’s height.  The bottom of the board should line up to their waistline.

2.     Have the child stand behind a line (yarn) on the floor.

3.     Next, the child should attempt to throw a ball into one of the holes in the board.

4.     If the child scores, the therapist or child can move the game piece on the scoreboard to the correct Velcro strip- depending on the point value of the hole that the ball went through.

5.     Continue the game, alternating between all players, until someone reaches home plate.
The project above was completed by one of our Master's of Occupational Therapy students at 
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and posted with permission.