Many students with intellectual disabilities have excellent fine motor writing skills and enjoy writing, drawing and coloring. I’ve had several students that were excellent artists, amazing everyone with their skill at drawing with perspective and creativity, while others took great pride in their penmanship.
But what about those students who struggle to hold a writing implement, lack the control to apply appropriate pressure or the stability to form the shapes necessary to write? Often times these students resist practicing these skills, repeatedly breaking the pencil points, tearing the paper, or tossing the writing implement to the floor.
I found that an excellent way to help reluctant students participate in and even enjoy these fine motor skills is to give them choices. Instead of getting out the usual paper and pencil, try offering the student a choice between a white board and marker, a piece of black paper with chalk, highlighter markers, gel pens, markers, or a chalkboard, with a paintbrush and a bit of water. Any tool that can be held in the manner of a pencil can be used to help students practice writing!
To encourage the student to use the materials for practicing their skills, I suggest that you prepare the material that is being written on in advance, with lines, forms or letters to trace, copy or color. Once they are done working, reward them by allowing them to use the materials to create freely.
Click here to download a list of fun alternate writing materials!
What alternate writing materials have you used in your class? Let me know, and I’ll add them to the list!
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