Saturday, April 9, 2011

Positioning for Handwriting

     Many problems that students have with writing can be addressed with adaptive devices, positioning, or desk adjustments. In this post, I’m going to share some information about proper positioning for handwriting.
     A correct sitting posture is important when it comes to handwriting. The height of chair, desk, or writing surface can seriously affect a child’s ability to write. The following sitting posture is recommended:

-Hips should be snug against the back of the chair, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, with the feet contacting the floor for comfort and weight shifting. Make sure that when seated, the child has at 1 to 2 inch space between the front of the chair and the back of the child’s knees. The top of the desk should allow for the arms to rest comfortably on the desktop surface, with the desktop approximately 2-inches above the child’s flexed elbow when seated.

A poorly fitted desk or poor sitting posture may cause the child to use compensatory movements. If the chair is too high, the student may need to wrap his legs around the chair or lean forward on the desktop. This position provides support for the arms and limits extraneous arm movements. A chair or desk that is too small can cause a student to slump or hang his head, or sit on his feet. It is important to consider all of these factors when selecting desks for students. 
Reference: Handout from Pediatric Therapy East, Memphis, TN.

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