This is a BIG one! You have probably heard of multisensory as it is a bit of a "buzzword" right now in the educational world. But for Occupational Therapists, it has been our FOUNDATION all along.
Multisensory simply means using multiple senses while learning. So auditory (ears), visual (eyes), and tactile (hands) are the senses most people think about when they think of sensory. These are the big 3 senses that we want to engage consistently when teaching handwriting. For example, using the same verbal directions for letter formation helps the child remember letter strokes, using letter charts for a visual reminder of spacing rules, and using tactile to actually build letters with Play-Doh or Wikki Stix ALL help engage different parts of the brain to ensure learning and retention.
There are also 2 more senses that can be tapped into while learning or remediating handwriting. One is proprioception, which is knowing where our body is in space. For example, children need to have awareness of where their hand/pencil is in relation to the paper and be able to motor plan their movements to sit the letter on the line. The other sense is vestibular, which is the sense of balance and spatial orientation. For example, a child needs to be able to orient themselves with the writing task and maintain posture for writing.
And finally... yes there are the two senses, taste and smell. You are probably wondering how on earth those can relate to handwriting! Well, if you've ever written with a sharpie marker or scented marker you know the impact! And taste... well we write letters in pudding of course
Using all of our senses to learn letters, write letters, write words, and more helps us retain the learning, building and cementing connections in our brain. Cheers to Multisensory!