HANDWRITING QUESTIONS: POSTURE CON’T


Continuation of question 2: Can the student maintain an appropriate posture for writing?

Last week we talked about muscle strength and tone, as well as balance which helps us sit tall in a chair and frees our hands to move about on the desk top.  This week we will talk about crossing the body’s midline which affects establishment of hand dominance and the ability of a student  to freely move one hand from one side of the desk to the other side.  It also affects the ability to draw diagonals in shapes and letters.

Our body is split into two parts: the left side and the right side. We must be able to cross with our right hand from the right side of the body to the left side of the body.  The same is true with the left hand.  This ability to cross the body’s midline begins with trunk rotation (the ability to twist the top part of our body to each side). Trunk rotation begins in the first year of life as a child rolls, moves in and out of sitting, crawling, and standing.  When a child has difficulty with trunk rotation, they frequently have difficulty with crossing midline.  If a child has difficulty crossing midline, and they are older than 5 years of age, they often move one hand to midline and switch to the other hand.  Younger children often switch hands which is important to being able to use the two hands together efficiently.  If an older child has trouble crossing midline, they may establish a hand dominance late, have trouble with drawing diagonals in shapes and letters, and have difficulties with directional words (left, right, etc.) and possibly visual perceptual abilities. 

If  a child has these issues, its important to consult an occupational or physical therapist for help.

Next week we will look at “motor planning” which affects large muscle skills such as skipping as well as performing the sequence of movements necessary for writing letters.  Have a blessed week!

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