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OT vs Handwriting Tutoring: What is the Difference?

You may be wondering...

  • what does occupational therapy do?

  • what is handwriting tutoring?

  • what is the difference between OT and handwriting tutoring?

  • how do I know which my child needs?

  • what are the qualifications of the tutors?

  • how does all of this work?



Well then, this is for YOU!

Think of it as a FAQ (frequently asked questions) where you get clarity and understanding... helping you feel confident about your decision for how to help your child.


What is occupational therapy?

How much time do you have? LOL. To be honest, occupational therapy can be a bit broad to describe depending on what population the therapist is working with. Let's specifically discuss children, or pediatrics, here. OTs work with children with or without diagnoses (think autism, ADHD, genetic disorders, motor disorders, injuries, and more). OTs help children with functional tasks, such as daily activities like brushing teeth or getting dress or sleep or feeding or play or pretty much anything that occupies that child's time. They do this through building fine and gross motor skills, strength, sensory integration, cognitive skills, executive function skills, etc. Often OTs work with children in outpatient settings or in school-based practice. To qualify for services or get insurance reimbursement, often children need a formal diagnosis and/or exhibit substantial delays. Formal OT evaluations are conducted, measurable goals are set, and progress is measured until discharge for meeting goals or plateau in progress.



What is handwriting tutoring?

Tutoring focused on improving penmanship is vastly different from traditional OT. At times, students may benefit from both OT services AND handwriting tutoring to achieve the best progress. Often students that get handwriting tutoring do not qualify for traditional OT services. These students frequently slip through the cracks as their "deficits" aren't significant enough to qualify. However, they often need some sort of instruction and remediation to meet age-appropriate expectations. That is where handwriting tutoring comes in! Tutoring comes at written output from a top-down approach to explicitly and systematically instruct penmanship and written expression while also working with parents to help a student build foundational skills for writing. Tutoring involves assessment of a child's strengths and areas needing remediation based on individual letter formations, line placement, sizing, memory, and orientation as well as sentence skills including spacing, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, copy skills, dictation, and more. Understanding where the "breakdown" is happening for the student guides the instruction and plan.



What is the difference between OT and Handwriting Tutoring?

Tutoring is niche. It is specialized to singularly focus on handwriting and written output. Our handwriting tutors are trained on handwriting and everything that goes into it (which is A LOT!!). Not all OTs are trained on handwriting nor do they understand specific learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia. Think of handwriting tutoring just like you would reading or math tutoring... you want the expert on that subject and you want a systemized and explicit approach. Handwriting tutoring is NOT basic homework help, but MUCH deeper and more intentional. Though you will see impacts on homework and schoolwork as tutoring progresses ;)



How do I know what my child needs?

OT and tutoring are so individualized that it is important to talk through your specific situation so that we can provide the best recommendation for your family. We have had some students come to us seeking handwriting tutoring when they truly were not ready and needed more foundational skill building to happen with OT first. We have some students who see an OT and do handwriting tutoring, which leads to incredible collaboration on goals and progress. Many of our students have had OT in the past and hit a plateau or no longer qualify or have never received OT. These students need a unique approach to building their writing skills that only tutoring can provide. A free consultation is a great place to start, as well as our handwriting assessment. You can learn more here or book your call here.



What are the qualifications of your tutors?

All of our handwriting tutors at this point have been therapists in the past. This provides them with an understanding of cognitive, neurological, and motor development. All of our reading and spelling tutors have an education background. All of our tutors undergo extensive training in handwriting curricula, learning disorders, and more. They are able to bring their understanding of development with them as they work with students of a variety of ages to instruct and remediate their written output. Our founder Kelli Fetter, MS, OTR oversees handwriting tutoring and consults with Dr Briegel Payne, EdD for reading and spelling tutoring. Our goal is to give your child the most comprehensive, best practice in literacy and education.



How does all of this work?

The first step is to book a free consultation or email kelli@handwritingsolutions.org to discuss your child's unique strengths and your areas of concern. Then we determine which assessment is best for your child. The assessment is administered virtually 1:1 with your student and results are scored, interpreted, and shared with you. Finally a remediation plan is developed with literacy goals based on the assessment findings. You and your child's teacher can be an active part in this as carryover is instrumental to progress. Progress is measured every 10 weeks to ensure growth and adapt the remediation plan. Tutoring typically continues until the student meets age-appropriate expectations, of course honoring your schedule and life commitments as well. We value a partnership with families, individualizing tutoring to your unique needs, and collaborating as a team to HELP your student succeed!


Want to know the #1 feedback parents share with us?!

Their child has not only improved in their literacy,

but their CONFIDENCE has soared!!!

THAT is why we do what we do :)


Want to learn more? Reach out to kelli@handwritingsolutions.org !

Also follow @handwritingsolutions on all social media platforms for free strategies and tips!

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