The New York Times has recently published an article about how handwriting impacts brain development. In this article they use functional MRIs to map what parts of the brain are active during handwriting. What they found is:
- Tracing activates very minimal to no brain activity.
- Likewise, typing activates very minimal brain activity.
- Free writing, even poor quality attempts at printing, activates multiple areas of the brain responsible for all different types of learning as predecessors to executive cognitive functioning.
- Cursive writing activates different parts of the brain from printing.
Based on this new research, it is very important that children practice free-writing, not simply tracing, even if it isn’t even quite legible yet.
The Handwriting without Tears (HWT®) method is one of several handwriting curriculums. It was designed by OT, Jan Olsen, integrating multiple different types of sensory learning to create a written product. This powerful multi-sensory approach fits well with Hands on Therapy’s philosophy regarding play-based learning and sensory integration. The HWT program intentionally groups similarly made letters together to give more rote practice and enhance learning.
For more information: www.hwtears.com