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Customer Review

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Useful and insightful book for parents OT students and SENCOs, 16 May 2012
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This review is from: Speed Up!: a Kinaesthetic Programme to Develop Fluent Handwriting (Paperback)
I am a parent of a 6 year old child who has a dyspraxia and aspergers diagnosis as well as having a background in working with children with special needs and I can see why the reviews for this book are mixed.

This is an excellent insightful book that will open your eyes as to the "Why's" and "what to do about" why children who are dyspraxic or ASD have such terrible difficulties with handwriting as well as steering you towards the correct path in providing remedial help.
It is best suited to people who have some background in working creatively with children with additional needs or to a parent that is happy to take on the task of helping their child with their writing on an "every- day little and often basis". It provides some very insightful and helpful explanations as to how to develop pro-prioceptive skills and muscle memory, which are the building blocks of fluent and rythmical handwriting and also for essential skills such as copying from boards in secondary school.

If you are a concerned parent who wants "a quick fix" then as per one other review, this is not the book for you- look elsewhere for the many mass produced books that provide worksheets and dot to dot templates of letters.

BUT, be prepared to consider whether your expectations are realistic. If your child is at key stage 2 or beyond and really struggling with the speed and fluency of handwriting, and you really want to help, you are going to need to delve a little deeper into working out WHY its so difficult for them and THEN work creatively to rebuild the necessary skill chains. This book shows you how.

My personal experience is that children who really struggle with handwriting will gain little from pre-made dot to dot worksheets because they do not have suffient muscle memory and are too reliant on the visual sense.- Dot to dots do little to develop muscle memory, particulalry when the child just gets on with the task of joining the dots in any direction they fancy because thats the fastest way of getting a difficult and unpleasant task over and done with.
By contrast this book explains exercises that develop that muscle memory such as practising pencil patterns blind folded and using both arms simultaneously with a board at 90 degrees which the OT tells me is excellent for developing writing stamina too. It has some illustrations in it to depict position which are helpful.

I am very grateful to Lois Addy for writing this book because it has made it possible for OT designed exercises to help with a big problem for my child. I live in an area where the waiting list to see a paediatric OT on the NHS is over a year and private OT sessions would be costing 45 per session so at less than 20 this represents excellent value for money. It tells me what to look out for, what to do and arms me with ideas about how to go about it.

The only other thing I would say that would give it 5 stars is that it could do with a list of ideas of how to make the tasks more fun and varied as I have had to brainstorm that myself to motivate my child- non- mess tools such as ready loaded paintbrushes ( berol do them) different papers, glitter pens and so on make it more fun and varied.
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