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Hospital Hosts Handwriting Workshop

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Samantha Burke, an occupational therapist at St. Mary’s Hospital, works to develop small motor muscles with a 4-year-old girl.  Developing those skills helps to prepare the child for handwriting.

Is your child struggling to learn the right way to cross those ‘t’s and dot those ‘i’s? If so, there is help at St. Mary’s Hospital through the “Happy Handwriting Workshop,” which is a five-week program held on Wednesdays beginning March 4 at 5 p.m.

The purpose of the program is “to help children who are struggling with learning handwriting through traditional methods develop this critical life skill using creative sensory, gross and fine-motor activities,” said Michelle McCloskey, occupational therapist and operational specialist in the hospital’s Rehabilitation Medicine Department. McCloskey will be helping Samantha Burke, an occupational therapist in the same department, facilitate the class to children ages 5 to 10. 

Developing good handwriting skills is essential to a person’s success in school and throughout life. The workshop is a fun, interactive way for children to learn how to write uppercase and lowercase letters and incorporates techniques from the Handwriting Without Tears, Loops and Groups, Sensory Integration, and Brain Gym writing programs. 

McCloskey said there are a number of challenges for children learning to write. Many children, for example, are taught to write before their small motor muscles and visual motor skills have adequately developed. This, she said, leads to children “compensating by using atypical pencil grasps that cause muscle fatiguing or develop formation errors that slow the speed and impair the legibility of the writing.”

Samantha Burke, an occupational therapist at St. Mary’s Hospital, works with a 4-year-old girl to develop proper handwriting skills.

To find out more about the workshop or to secure a spot, contact St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections at (301) 475-6019. The cost is $60 for the hour-long, five-week program.

 

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