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Expert Connection

TeachingLD provides answers to common questions about teaching students with learning disabilities. We solicit questions (submit your own question), select those that are of general interest, and ask professionals with expertise about those specific aspects of learning disabilities to summarize—in practical terms—the research relevant to those questions. The Editors of TeachingLD have been supported by the un-compensated assistance of people with substantial knowledge and experience in preparing answers.

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Tips for Teaching Handwriting - Linda Mason

Q:What are the most effective methods for teaching handwriting to students with disabilities? - Alyson from Columbus, OH
Handwriting is often an overlooked aspect of instruction that is still so vital to students, so this is a great question Alyson!  We've enlisted a past DLD President, Dr. Linda Mason of George Mason University, to help you determine the best tactics for teaching handwriting to your students.  Thank you to Linda for her help! - Peggy & Alex, TeachingLD.org
A:Students with disabilities often have difficulty with handwriting (Graham, 1990). This less addressed domain of writing instruction is important, as handwriting difficulties interrupt composition processes, interfere with intended messages, and limit writing development (Graham et al., 2008). In addition, difficulties with handwriting may lead a student to avoid writing, and to believe they cannot write. Given the potential negative impact of poor handwriting skills, students with disabilities benefit from handwriting instruction that teaches ways for writing letters and words legibly and fluently.      

Handwriting instruction generally begins in kindergarten and continues through Grade 3.  Seven principles for handwriting instruction have been recommended (Graham, 1999; Mason, Harris, & Graham, 2013).