Multisensory Approach to Handwriting
- 15 January 2019
- Posted by: CDC
- Category: Parent Tips,
Children have different learning styles. Some children are visual learners, and show a preference for information to be presented as pictures and images. Some children may respond better to sound and music. Other children prefer to learn by exploring through their sense of touch and body movement. A multisensory approach to learning is a way of teaching that engages more than one sensory system at a time. Information processed through various sensory channels provides multiple means for children to participate in learning.
Learning approaches are particularly important when tackling a complex skill such as handwriting. Handwriting requires the integration of multiple components: visual-perceptual, visual-motor skills, fine-motor skills, motor control, an efficient pencil grasp, as well as postural control and trunk stability. Difficulties with handwriting often lead to frustration and distress. This, in turn, may negatively affect a child’s motivation to write. With a multisensory approach, not only will children be more motivated and engaged, they will also be more likely to learn and remember information that is presented to them through the various sensory modalities. A multisensory approach to writing involves using four sensory modalities: visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, and tactile. Below are some fun sensory activities to support the development of your child’s handwriting skills.
Having a visual model of the letter is important. It may be helpful to add arrows to indicate directionality of the stroke, as well as numbers to sequence the steps of letter formation. Combine these visual strategies with pictures and colours to make the experience more engaging.
Kinaesthetic activities allow for children to strengthen motor memory through body movements. ‘Air writing’ is a great way to learn about sequencing of letter strokes by encouraging children to use not only their pointer finger, but also their whole arm to draw imaginary letters in the air. The bigger the movements, the better!
Teach letter strokes through rhymes, songs and music! Use rhymes or stories to describe letter formation. When children listen and sing along to songs as they are forming letters, they are linking what they are hearing, seeing and doing. This helps to reinforce their learning.
Messy play is another fun way to explore stroke patterns and work on letter formation. Draw letters in shaving cream, paint, gloop, sand, beans, and rice. Roll out letters from clay or play dough and then trace along them for added practice.