Jenny Clark


Handwriting Strategies for Dysgraphia

Research shows that as many as 20% of school-age children have problems with handwriting.  Illegible handwriting, also known as dysgraphia, is the primary reason for referrals to therapists practicing in school-based settings. This is a significant problem because handwriting is important for many functional life skills, such as completing homework and school assignments. Dysgraphia is common in children with sensory processing disorder and children with autism. In this podcast, Jenny shares insights into handwriting problems and offers simple but effective strategies to support students with dysgraphia.

To purchase Letter Treasure Hunt handwriting game click here.

Research shows that 10%-20% of school-age children have problems with handwriting. Handwriting is important for many functional life skills such as: Complete homework, school assignments, achievement tests for getting into college, writing letters, completing a job application form, and writing checks just to name a few. Illegible handwriting, also known as dysgraphia, is the primary reason for referrals to therapists practicing in school-based settings. Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder in which a person experiences handwriting difficulties. Letter formation may be acceptable in very short samples of writing, but this requires extreme effort and an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish. Overall, written work is not readable, even if copied. Some Signs & Symptoms of dysgraphia:

  • Cramped fingers on writing tool causing hand fatigue
  • Excessive erasures
  • Mixture of upper & lowercase letters
  • Reversal errors (typical through first grade)
  • Inconsistent letter formation & slant
  • Irregular letter sizes & shapes
  • Misuse of line & margin
  • Poor organization on the page
  • Inefficient speed in copying

Here are some simple and effective strategies to support students with dysgraphia:

Let’s consider compensatory strategies:

  • non-sitting positions during handwriting such as prone on the floor, tall kneeling, or standing to assist with posture
  • Ball chair or air-filled cushion for sensory input
  • A slant board helps support the forearm and wrist during writing and positions the paper at just the right visual angle
  • Pencil grips can support and position fingers for the most efficient grasp
  • Adapted handwriting paper such as 2 lined paper to eliminate visual confusion, raised line paper to give a tactile cue for the baseline, or highlighted paper for easier visual target when writing

Here are some accommodations to consider:

  • Change demands of writing rate: Allow more time for written tasks
  • Change volume: Reduce copying by providing math worksheet with problems written 
  • Change tools: Graph paper for math problems, pencil grippers, adapted paper
  • Change format: Do not grade spelling on some assignments

Let’s look at some intervention ideas:

  • Theraputty to increase grip strength
  • Hand and finger warmups to handwriting such as finger thumb touching and squeezing the hands
  • Kinesthetic activities for handwriting such as practicing spelling words in shaving cream
  • Letter Treasure Hunt handwriting game from This is my original invention and kids have commented how fun handwriting is when they play this game!

Physical Activities to get Kids Moving

In this audio-cast, Jenny explains why reducing screen time is important for children with autism and SPD. She offers practical and effective strategies that teachers, parents and therapists can use to “get kids moving!”

If your child is autistic, on the spectrum, or has been identified with sensory processing disorder, there are many more options to explore at

Jenny offers presentations, webinars and workshops for teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and physical therapists. If you are planning a conference and you are looking for a speaker on SPD, please contact Jenny today.

Health-related problems in children is on the rise, such as childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, and developmental disorders like Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder.

Increased time spent with electronic media results in a more sedentary lifestyle, and less time engaging in physical activity. Research shows that too much screen time correlates with decreased developmental milestones including lower fine motor skills and affects language and literacy development. Evidence shows that children who engage in physical activity have better attention, memory, academic performance, and psychosocial functioning.

The solution – get kids unplugged and moving!

I’d like to share with you some physical activity ideas for children for both outdoor and indoor play.

Outdoor play is best. Studies show that kids who play outside are happier, more focused and less anxious. Outdoor play stimulates social interactions, improves problem solving and enhances creativity. Studies show that just 5 minutes of walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, creative thinking, builds stronger bones, and improves cardiovascular functioning.

Here are a few outdoor activities to get kids moving:

  • Play in a local park. Visit a State Park or a National Park. The National Parks have a Jr Park Ranger program.
  • Take a dog on a walk or to a dog park
  • Play a sport with a friend like kicking a soccer ball, throwing a baseball or a football
  • Take a hike on a trail. Explore the wonders of nature.
  • Ride a bike. For children who are still using training wheels, remove the training wheels, take the pedals off, and lower the seat so that the child’s feet touch the ground. This is a great way to teach kids how to balance on a bike
  • Go to the Zoo.
  • Visit a botanical garden.
  • Try Geocaching, a modern-day treasure hunting activity. For more details, go to
  • Create your own garden. Container gardens are great for planting flowers or herbs. Perhaps your hometown has a community garden kids can get involved in.

For those days when weather keeps you inside here are some fun activities:

  • Yoga for kids. If you are not familiar with yoga, try reading a children’s book with illustrations and instructions on yoga poses for kids. A great resource for this is .
  • My book entitled: Learn to Move, Move to Learn has theme-based activities from A to Z. If you are interested in getting a copy, there is a link on my website to the publisher, or you can order it from Amazon. Feel free to email me to request a free lesson plan. Here some example kids can do right away:
    • The Theme is Pets.
    • Pretend to be a cat or a puppy dog performing tricks. Use a mat and practice log rolling both directions, then knee walk (begging), then crawl forward. Older kids can practice forward and backward tumbling.
    • Explain that dogs love to tug on a rope. A dog uses its teeth, but the children will use their hands. Face each other and play tug of war with a jump rope. For older kids practice jump rope games.
    • Create a small pet house from a cardboard box and place a stuffed cat and dog or a photo of a cat and dog inside. Get real cat treats and dog bones or make pretend treats and bones from construction paper. Carry the treats across a balance beam (or 6’ masking tape placed on the floor) to the cardboard box “pet house”. Pretend to give the pet a treat. Repeat several times. For older kids, walk heel to toe on the balance beam or masking tape.
    • Pretend to play fetch and throw a ball back and forth. This develops eye-hand coordination.