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Peter Giroux is a full-time tenured Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He has a Master’s of Health Science degree (MHS) from Mississippi College and a Doctoral degree (PhD) in Clinical Health Sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

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Katrina Erickson

Katrina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas in 1990. Her experience has reached beyond her OT training in the design and delivery of summer camps and private tutoring services to develop and improve handwriting skills.

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Roxanne Thompson received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in 1998. She has practiced OT in the public schools, early intervention, and currently at a private pediatric out-patient clinic. She also provides handwriting tutoring services to children in pre-school through middle school.

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Handwriting Without Tears ® : General Education Effectiveness Through a Consultative Approach

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Denise K. Donica; Handwriting Without Tears ® : General Education Effectiveness Through a Consultative Approach. Am J Occup Ther November/December 2015, Vol. 69(6), 6906180050p1–6906180050p8. doi:

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OBJECTIVE. This study explores the effectiveness of the Handwriting Without Tears ® (HWT) kindergarten printing curriculum in general education through a consultative approach with occupational therapy.

METHOD. One cohort of students was the control ( n = 19), whereas two other cohorts were experimental groups learning printing through the HWT curriculum ( n = 20 each). The Test of Handwriting Skills–Revised (THS–R) was used to collect end-of-year legibility scores for all cohorts.

RESULTS. Both experimental groups individually and both experimental groups combined into one group outperformed the control group on all 10 of the THS–R subtests—scoring significantly higher ( p < .05 using analysis of covariance controlling for age and gender) on 6 of the subtests for the former and 7 for the latter—and on overall score. Large treatment effects were found for the standard score for each experimental group ( d = 0.81, 1.03, and 1.00).

CONCLUSION. This study supports the consultative role of occupational therapy with teachers in general education for handwriting curriculum implementation and the success of HWT for printing instruction.

The role of occupational therapy practitioners in the school system is evolving. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA; Pub. L. 108–446) broadened the scope of the original legislation ( Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1990 ; Pub. L. 101–476) to focus on improving student outcomes, preventing problems, and setting expectations for students with disabilities to achieve high standards ( Jackson, 2007 ). Preventive strategies in the school systems are addressed through mechanisms such as early intervening services (EIS) and response to intervention (RtI; American Occupational Therapy Association [ AOTA], 2011 ; Jackson, 2007 ). IDEA allows occupational therapy practitioners to consult with and sometimes provide direct services for students in general education, especially for students struggling with learning or behavior. This expanded role for practitioners fosters both a consultative and collaborative environment between practitioners and teachers ( AOTA, 2011 ).

  • Occupational Therapy in General Education

Within general education, occupational therapy practitioners may be involved in EIS and RtI. EIS is a provision that allows schools to use some of their federal IDEA funding to provide training for teachers or to fund services for general education students. For example, practitioners may provide consultation regarding education concerns observed in general education students or may be asked to recommend a multisensory handwriting instruction approach to implement schoolwide ( Jackson, 2007 ).

RtI, an example of EIS, is a process that monitors the success of instructional strategies and services that are being implemented individually, in small groups, or classwide ( Jackson, 2007 ). RtI, although implemented differently by state, is typically a three-tiered model in which the first and foundational tier is focused on the effectiveness of education for all students, thus requiring evidence-based curricula and high-quality instruction ( AOTA, 2014 ). Through the RtI model, occupational therapy practitioners may be involved at any level of implementation ( AOTA, 2012 ). Because the importance of handwriting instruction and handwriting skills continues to be documented ( Puranik & Alotaiba, 2012 ), it is an important area of concern for school teachers and administrators that is often addressed by occupational therapy ( Asher, 2006 ; Case-Smith, 2002 ; Hoy, Egan, & Feder, 2011 ). Examples of the practitioner’s involvement in general education at Tier 1 include providing training for school personnel on handwriting strategies, assisting with handwriting screening, and suggesting research-based handwriting curricula ( AOTA, 2011 , 2012 , 2014 ).

When exploring current advancements in the roles of occupational therapy within an RtI model, a recent study of 276 school-based occupational therapists indicated that more than half had been involved in problem-solving teams, coaching and consultation, and one-on-one intervention. Other methods of involvement in RtI included identification of students needing extra support, in-services, progress monitoring, data collection, universal screening, program and curriculum development, and leadership or coleadership of groups ( Cahill, McGuire, Krumdick, & Lee, 2014 ). Occupational therapy practitioners also advocate for occupational therapy services to enhance student education under IDEA provisions ( AOTA, 2011 ).

  • Evidence-Based Practice in General Education

The implementation of EIS and RtI requires evidence to be used in decision making regarding educational practices and curriculum selections. Therefore, successful steps have been taken to ensure that school-based occupational therapy practitioners are equipped to use evidence-based practice in the school setting ( Cahill, Egan, Wallingford, Huber-Lee, & Dess-McGuire, 2015 ). Recent research includes studies that have involved the implementation of occupational therapy–based approaches aligning with RtI in general education. Although this area of research is in its infancy, studies have been published supporting the consultative and collaborative efforts of practitioners and teachers to address student skills in general education ( Howe, Roston, Sheu, & Hinojosa, 2013 ; Ohl et al., 2013 ). In addition, the Write Start program is a recent example of a coteaching model for handwriting skills involving a general education teacher and an occupational therapy practitioner. Multiple studies have documented the effectiveness of this model ( Case-Smith, Holland, & Bishop, 2011 ; Case-Smith, Holland, Lane, & White, 2012 ; Case-Smith, Weaver, & Holland, 2014 ).

Handwriting Without Tears ® (HWT), used in this study, is an established handwriting curriculum historically used by occupational therapy practitioners in traditional one-on-one service delivery but also designed for full-classroom implementation and instruction ( Olsen & Knapton, 2008 ). The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of HWT in general education kindergarten classrooms through teacher-led implementation supported by occupational therapist consultation.

  • Handwriting Without Tears Evidence

Recognizing and incorporating evidence-based interventions are important not only to occupational therapy practitioners but also to other school personnel. Therefore, it is important to review existing evidence for HWT. Most of the published studies support its use in a variety of contexts. Studies have been done on HWT implementation in general education through full-class instruction or with students who have identified disabilities through individual or small-group instruction.

At the preschool level, the full preschool HWT curriculum was supported through full-class implementation with at-risk students in inclusion classrooms at a rural Head Start ( Donica, Goins, & Wagner, 2013 ; Lust & Donica, 2011 ). In addition, specific HWT techniques were supported for name writing and capital letter writing in full-class, small-group, and individual settings with preschool-age students ( Carlson, McLaughlin, Derby, & Blecher, 2009 ; Griffith, McLaughlin, Donica, Neyman, & Robison, 2013 ; LeBrun, McLaughlin, Derby, & McKenzie, 2012 ). Studies have also supported the use of HWT in general education first-grade classrooms ( Hape et al., 2014 ; Roberts, Derkach-Ferguson, Siever, & Rose, 2014 ; Salls, Benson, Hansen, Cole, & Pielielek, 2013 ). However, studies reviewing the use of HWT at the critical developmental grade of kindergarten are limited. Therefore, this study addresses this gap by asking the research question, Will students instructed using the kindergarten HWT curriculum at a private half-day kindergarten program have better end-of-year handwriting legibility scores than students in the same setting taught with teacher-developed lessons using the D’Nealian style of writing?

Research Design

This pilot study used a static group comparison. Because the elementary school administrative decision to implement HWT in the kindergarten classrooms was made near the end of an academic year, a control group was identified as the current students who had been receiving teacher-led handwriting instruction during that year. Therefore, a traditional pretest–posttest design could not be used. Additionally, the instrument used was not standardized for children under age 6 yr, so standard scores could not be calculated for a pretest–posttest comparison because the children were not yet 6 yr old during the pretest. Likewise, because the school administration decided to implement the HWT curriculum schoolwide, a traditional control versus experimental classroom approach was not possible. Instead, the control group was identified as the group of students in kindergarten the year before HWT implementation. The research study was approved by the head of the school and the university institutional review board. Parent permission was received for all study participants.


The participants were half-day kindergarten students in a private school (kindergarten to 8th grade) in rural eastern North Carolina. Although the school did not specifically use the RtI model, the consultative approach of the occupational therapist with the teachers mirrors a commonly identified expanded role of occupational therapy practice with general education students. All students enrolled in kindergarten during the last month of school were invited to participate in the study as the control cohort. Control students subsequently learned handwriting using HWT in first grade the year after they participated in the study. Likewise, all students in the first-year experimental group (HWT 1) and the second-year experimental group (HWT 2) were invited to participate, but students were not included if they did not have parent permission, withdrew from the school or joined the school during the academic year, or were under age 6 yr at the time of data collection. Therefore, the sample sizes were n = 19 (out of 25) for the control group, n = 20 (out of 29) for HWT 1, and n = 20 (out of 39) for HWT 2. Student demographics are presented in Table 1 .

Data collection occurred consecutively over 3 yr and included data from the control group and HWT 1 and 2. Data collection was completed using the Test of Handwriting Skills–Revised (THS–R; Milone, 2007 ), which was designed to assess a child’s neurosensory integration skill and is implemented to gather data on either manuscript (print) or cursive writing. For this study, the manuscript assessment was used. The test is standardized for children ages 6 yr 0 mo to 18 yr 11 mo and consists of 10 separate subtests. The activities in these subtests are described in Table 2 . The THS–R was administered to one class at a time and took about an hour per class.

The THS–R was selected to measure differences in handwriting skills because it is standardized and allows for a variety of scores to be used for analysis. The overall standard score, scaled subtest scores for each of the 10 subtests, and subsequent percentile scores were determined. Scaled scores have a mean ( M ) of 10 and a standard deviation ( SD ) of 3, whereas standard scores have an M of 100 and an SD of 15. The test–retest reliability was .82 for the total test score, with interrater reliability ranging from .75 to .90 based on the authors of the assessment ( Milone, 2007 ). Unfortunately, no standardized handwriting assessments exist with standard scores for students under age 6 yr, which limits the ability to collect standard scores from the beginning of the kindergarten year. Because the use of standard scores is ideal for data analysis, students younger than age 6 yr (72 mo) at the time of data collection (end of the school year) were excluded from data analysis.


Throughout the kindergarten year, the control group received teacher-developed instruction using the D’Nealian style of writing, and HWT 1 and 2 learned printing through the use of kindergarten HWT. At the end of the kindergarten year, the students completed the THS–R to determine the quality of their handwriting skills. The end-of-year scores for the control group were compared with the end-of-year scores for HWT 1 and 2 and with both experimental groups combined (HWT combined).

Intervention Description.

HWT 1 and 2 were instructed by their classroom teachers, who followed the lesson plans in the HWT Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide ( Olsen & Knapton, 2008 ). The kindergarten HWT curriculum included the following materials: wood pieces for capital letters with mat; slate chalkboards (one classroom used the stamp-and-see screens with similar teaching techniques as the slates because of the teacher’s aversion to chalk); Roll a Dough set; Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn CD; and Letters and Numbers for Me student workbook ( Olsen, 2008 ).

The lesson plans ( Olsen & Knapton, 2008 ) required approximately 15 min per day of teacher instructional time, which was typically adhered to throughout the 2 yr. Each lesson was taught to the full class and typically began with a gross motor activity coordinated with a handwriting-related song on the Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn CD. Next, the teaching guidelines ( Olsen & Knapton, 2008 ) were followed to implement a learning activity, which was either forming specific letters with multisensory manipulatives or writing in the Letters and Numbers for Me workbook ( Olsen, 2008 ). In addition to the formal handwriting instruction time, an occasional review activity, often using the manipulatives, was used as an independent morning work activity. A classroom assistant helped with materials in all classrooms throughout the 2 yr.

As part of the consultative role for this intervention, a registered occupational therapist (the author) or two occupational therapy graduate students were present in the classrooms during the handwriting lesson one time per week. This presence allowed the occupational therapy personnel to answer questions about the implementation of the curriculum and to provide occasional assistance to struggling writers. Lessons were implemented similarly for both HWT 1 and 2. Consultation by an occupational therapy practitioner with the teachers did not occur with the control group.


Three kindergarten teachers were involved in the study. Two teachers with 17 yr and 4 yr of teaching experience at the beginning of HWT 1 intervention participated in all three cohorts. The same two teachers who taught HWT 1 also taught the control group. After the control year, these two teachers attended a full-day printing and cursive training workshop on the HWT curriculum, which is recommended but not required of the program. The teachers worked together to develop their lesson plans based on the HWT Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide ( Olsen & Knapton, 2008 ).

After HWT 1 completed kindergarten, an additional kindergarten teacher with approximately 6 yr of experience was added. The new teacher attended the same HWT training as the other two teachers, but this training occurred after HWT 2's school year had started. She collaborated with the former teachers to create her lesson plans and understand the materials.

Intervention Fidelity.

To address fidelity to instruction, approximately one lesson per week of HWT 1 was observed by the author. The author consulted with the teachers and provided feedback on the teaching strategies, checked for proper use of handwriting activities and verbal cuing, and assisted as needed to address handwriting needs of specific students. This process helped establish consistency in instruction for both HWT 1 and 2. Weekly visits from the occupational therapist were unnecessary during the second year because the teachers indicated they understood how to implement the program, but the author did periodically check in with the teachers to answer questions if they arose.

Data Collection

The THS–R assessments were coded and scored semiblindly. Handwriting assessments for the three cohorts (control, HWT 1, and HWT 2) were scored by trained occupational therapy graduate students at different times, so the scorers were not blind to the cohort. However, this kindergarten study was part of a larger study that included first-grade THS–R assessments and two additional administrations of the THS–R throughout the year (approximately 4 mo apart) for the experimental groups. Therefore, even though the scorers were aware of which cohort assessments they were scoring, they were blind to the grade level and when during the academic year the assessment occurred. Scorers were trained by the author and by the DVD included in the THS–R assessment. They scored four sample handwriting assessments and discussed their differences in scoring for consistency before scoring the participants’ assessments, and they were randomly assigned assessments to score. However, interrater reliability was not established formally.

Data Analysis

The scaled scores, standard scores, and percentile scores of the THS–R were used for data analysis. Data analysis was completed using IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 22; IBM Corp., Armonk, NY). Descriptive statistics were calculated to determine the M scores and SD for each group on each of the subtests to identify specific skills and on the overall standard score for legibility. In addition, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to make statistical comparisons, controlling for age and gender because of documented differences in handwriting skills between boys and girls ( Graham, Berninger, Weintraub, & Schafer, 1998 ). Using ANCOVA, we compared the control group with HWT 1, HWT 2, and HWT combined. Treatment effect (Cohen’s d ) was calculated for each subtest comparison and for the overall score of the THS–R. This calculation serves as a frame of reference for the effect of the intervention on the outcomes and is valuable because of the small sample size. The effect size is considered small if 0.20 ≤ d ≤ 0.49, medium if 0.50 ≤ d ≤ 0.79, and large if d ≥ 0.80 ( Cohen, 1992 ; Thalheimer & Cook, 2002 ).

This study sought to determine whether students who completed kindergarten having learned handwriting skills from the HWT kindergarten printing curriculum would outperform students who learned printing from teacher-developed methods in D’Nealian-style writing in handwriting legibility skills. Table 2 includes the mean end-of-year THS–R scores for the control group compared with such scores for HWT 1, HWT 2, and HWT combined.

The experimental groups outscored the control group in all THS–R subtests and on overall score. ANCOVA showed that in 6 of the 10 subtests, both HWT 1 and HWT 2 scored significantly higher than the control group ( p < .05). In addition, ANCOVA showed that in 7 of the 10 subtests, HWT combined scored significantly higher than the control group ( p < .05). Figure 1 illustrates that the control group scored below the mean in 9 of the 10 subtests while almost all of the subtests for the experimental groups were above the mean (28 of 30). The control group performed at mean 36.63 percentile, whereas HWT 1 performed at mean 61.85 percentile and HWT 2 at mean 68.10 percentile. Refer to Table 2 for the specific results for scaled and standard scores.

Treatment effect (Cohen’s d) was calculated for each comparison. For all experimental groups (i.e., HWT 1, HWT 2, and HWT combined), a large treatment effect was found for 5–7 subtests and a medium treatment effect was found for 1–2 subtests. For HWT 2 and HWT combined, a small treatment effect was found for 2 subtests. In addition, for all experimental groups, a very large treatment effect was found for the overall standard score ( d = 0.81 for HWT 1, 1.03 for HWT 2, and 1.00 for HWT combined). The treatment effects for each subtest and overall standard scores are included in Table 2 .

The results from this pilot study show that the students who received handwriting instruction with HWT outperformed the control group consistently and across all skill areas. For uppercase letters, students in the HWT groups demonstrated a large treatment effect for printing the uppercase alphabet from memory (airplane), uppercase from dictation (butterfly), and copying selected uppercase letters (tree). These results are not surprising because the HWT curriculum begins with the students learning all uppercase letters before lowercase ones. The curriculum is diligent in instructing each uppercase letter individually in a developmental sequence through multiple multisensory mediums and in the workbook Letters and Numbers for Me ( Olsen, 2008 ).

Lowercase letters are taught in the HWT curriculum after all of the uppercase letters because of their complexity in line placement, stroke, and sequence. Each letter is instructed through multisensory techniques in a developmental sequence. The students in the HWT groups showed the largest treatment effects for printing lowercase from memory (bus). The experimental groups also demonstrated small to medium treatment effects for copying selected lowercase letters (horse) and medium to large treatment effects for copying words from a model (truck). Printing lowercase letters from dictation (frog) was not statistically significant but did demonstrate small treatment effects with the HWT 2 and HWT combined groups.

The formation of numbers from memory was also included in the THS–R (bicycle). Although the experimental groups demonstrated higher scores, differences were not statistically significant. The students began learning number formation early in the year through their math curriculum, which varied somewhat from the HWT number formations. Therefore, their introduction to this skill was not initially through the HWT curriculum.

The results for the skill level comparisons between individual upper- and lowercase letters were expected. However, large treatment effects were consistently seen for copying two sentences (book), and medium to large treatment effects were seen for writing words from dictation (lion). These effects were higher than expected because these skills are more complex than printing individual letters and are typically not well established at the end of kindergarten. Anecdotal teacher feedback supported these results, and teachers were pleased with the skills of the experimental groups.

Research supports the effectiveness of HWT in a full-class general education classroom ( Hape et al., 2014 ; LeBrun et al., 2012 ; Roberts et al., 2014 ; Salls et al., 2013 ); however, there is a gap in the literature for HWT use in kindergarten classrooms. This study was done in an effort to help bridge that gap while demonstrating how occupational therapy practitioners may serve as consultants to teachers in general education as supported by the current legislation.

  • Limitations and Future Research

Although this study has produced some important results, it has limitations that must be considered when interpreting its usefulness in evidence-based practice. First, because of the way the school administration chose to implement the curriculum, it was impossible to do a pretest–posttest comparison for each of the groups. However, pretests were done on each of the HWT groups to ensure that their scores at the beginning of the treatment year were not higher than those of the control group at the end of kindergarten. In addition, a confounding variable is that the THS–R was completed 3 times by each experimental group but only one time by the control group. However, approximately 4 mo passed between administrations to minimize learning effects.

Limitations also exist because interrater reliability was not formally established, and although some level of blinding occurred, it was not complete across all three data collection points. Lack of formal intervention fidelity monitoring is somewhat of a limitation. However, this study was designed to see whether the curriculum instructed by a teacher with collaboration from occupational therapy was effective. Therefore, it was important to let the teachers implement the curriculum as they saw fit using the guidelines provided by the curriculum as a guide.

Further research should include more involvement of occupational therapy practitioners, not only with individual students but also at the classroom and system level. To establish more evidence regarding best practices in handwriting instruction, further research should be done at the kindergarten level. However, before that research, the development of a psychometrically sound tool to measure handwriting legibility skills for the kindergarten population should be considered.

  • Implications for Occupational Therapy Practice

This study supports collaborative efforts between teachers and occupational therapy practitioners in teaching handwriting skills and gives occupational therapy practitioners more evidence on which to base recommendations in school problem-based teams and curriculum committees. The results have the following implications for occupational therapy practice:

Occupational therapy practitioners must continue to advocate for their involvement in general education problem-solving teams at the school level, which may include providing recommendations for handwriting curriculum.

Occupational therapy practitioner consultation with teachers can be successful in implementing handwriting curricula.

HWT is an evidence-based curriculum that can be recommended by occupational therapy practitioners for effective printing instruction at the classroom or institutional level.

  • Acknowledgments

The author thanks the students and teachers who were involved in this study and the East Carolina University master of science in occupational therapy graduates who assisted with data collection: Simone Barnes, Kristen Gibbs, Anne Thomas, and Caitlin Zawistowicz. In addition, Suzanne Hudson, associate professor at East Carolina University, consulted on the statistical analysis. The author also thanks HWT, which provided discounted trainings for the teachers and graduate students involved in the study.

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Data & Figures

Figure 1. Mean scaled scores on end-of-year Test of Handwriting Skills–Revised subtests. / Note. Dark horizontal line indicates mean scaled score of 10. HWT = Handwriting Without Tears.

Mean scaled scores on end-of-year Test of Handwriting Skills–Revised subtests.

Note . Dark horizontal line indicates mean scaled score of 10. HWT = Handwriting Without Tears.

Participant Demographic Characteristics ( N = 59)

Note. HWT = Handwriting Without Tears; M = mean; SD = standard deviation.

Comparison of THS–R Mean Scaled Scores Between Control and Experimental Groups

Note. For all results, p < .05 is significant. p values were calculated while controlling for age and gender. HWT = Handwriting Without Tears; LC = lowercase; M = mean; SD = standard deviation; THS–R = Test of Handwriting Skills–Revised; UC = uppercase.


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Handwriting Without Tears Online Workshop October 2021

Friday October 15 2021

If you are not able to attend for the live training on this date, you can still book and watch online for up to 30 days afterwards

Get top tips and simple strategies, to immediately implement in your classroom for teaching handwriting

Thousands of teachers, occupational therapists, educational specialists, and parents rely on our Handwriting Without Tears Workshops for the strategies and tools they need to help students succeed. Now it’s your turn.

Providing you with the knowledge, skills and materials needed to effectively teach handwriting,  our comprehensive, easy-to-use curriculum uses engaging multisensory techniques and research-based methods to make handwriting a natural and automatic skill for children of all ages and abilities. We use a fun hands-on approach to develop good skills and teach correct letter formation.

This Handwriting Virtual Workshop provides dynamic instruction in the teaching methodology from writing readiness and foundations at preschool stages through to writing in print.

By attending this workshop you will learn to: 

  • Plan your instruction based on the stages of writing readiness
  • Model essential foundation skills prior to pencil and paper
  • Use Hands-On Letter Play to build beginning habits for letter & number formations
  • Learn the developmental progression from colouring, tracing, to writing letters, words, and sentences
  • Implement, teach and remediate handwriting
  • Navigate the PreK and Handwriting Interactive Teaching Tool™
  • Promote independent writing skills beyond workbook instruction

Presented By

handwriting without tears training 2021

Licensed Occupational Therapist, International Presenter & Content Specialist with Handwriting Without Tears

Tania Ferrandino received her diploma in Occupational therapy from St. Loye’s school of Occupational Therapy in Exeter, England. She has over 15 years of experience providing services in psychiatry, rehabilitation, home health and the school setting.

For the past 10 years Tania has worked extensively with children. She has successfully written three educational grants for district handwriting curriculum comparison. Tania is currently a Workshop Presenter for Handwriting Without Tears® throughout the USA and internationally.

Workshop Schedule

10.30 – 13:00 Writing & Readiness Virtual Learning Session

13:00 – 14:00 Break

14:00 – 16:30 Print Virtual Learning Session

We will also provide regular 5 minute “stretch” breaks  to help keep you focused!

Morning Readiness & Writing Session

Readiness & Writing Objectives:

Learn new ways to enhance children’s well-being and school readiness.

  • Plan your instruction based on developmental stages for writing readiness
  • Explore activities that develop important social-emotional skills, including body awareness, taking turns and sharing
  • Learn to teach size, shape, and position concepts for pre-writing, and sensory motor skills
  • Learn our unique approach to effectively teach coloring skills
  • Develop alphabet knowledge with music and hands-on play
  • Use Hands-On Letter Play to build beginning habits for letter and number formation
  • Understand how to use developmental strategies to help children progress from tracing their letters and numbers to writing their names

Afternoon Print Virtual Session

Printing Objectives:

Provide the knowledge, skills and materials needed to effectively teach print.

  • Understand the handwriting process
  • Incorporate foundation skills prior to paper and pencil
  • Combine developmental and multisensory teaching strategies to teach print
  • Identify handwriting assessments
  • Apply simple, yet effective remediation strategies
  • Share importance of handwriting with research

Who Should Attend?

This workshop is suitable for education professionals, allied health professionals and parents. The Handwriting Without Tears Workshop will be of interest to

  • Occupational Therapists
  • School Principals
  • Resource Teachers
  • Special Needs Assistants
  • Educational Psychologists
  • Anybody interested in learning how to teach handwriting to children of all abilities

Online Course Delivery

This online Handwriting Without Tears Workshop will be delivered LIVE from 10.30am – 4.30pm on Friday, 15th October 2021. 

  • Prior to the workshop, you will receive your workshop pack containing Handwriting Without Tears materials worth €190+ by courier delivery. Please have these with you when you are doing  the online workshop.
  • We use the On24 platform for virtual training. It is very user-friendly and has nice reporting capabilities. We are able to track attendee usage which will provide necessary documentation for those who want to become Level 1 certified.
  • Prior to the training date, we will send you a test link for testing purposes. We do this to ensure everyone is able to access On24 and feels comfortable with joining the training ahead of time.
  • Google Chrome is the recommended browser for On24.
  • Tania, as the presenter, will be on video periodically throughout the presentation for activity demonstration. The attendees audio and video will default to mute; however, you will have the opportunity to share ideas and comments through a Group Chat feature. You will also be able to submit questions through the Q&A feature and Tania will answer/talk through those with the entire group.
  • Attendance Certificates will be provided for the hours of the presentation.
  • Following the training session, attendees will receive:
  • one-year access to the Virtual Professional Development Hub (VPDH) and
  • 90-day access to our Interactive Teaching Tools for Pre-K and Handwriting.
  • If you are unable to attend the Live Training on the day, you will receive a link to the recording that will be available for 30 days after the actual session date.

Workshop System Requirements:

(It is HIGHLY recommended that you test your device prior to joining the workshop.)

  • Test ON24. Conduct an ON24  system test .
  • If you have issues joining the webinar, review the  Webinar Help Guide .
  • The login link will be sent on the day of the workshop.  Log in to the ON24 link at least 15 minutes prior to start time to test the workshop link and your audio connection.

This is a virtual, instructor-led workshop. Use your own laptop or desktop to participate in this online workshop through the internet.

Handwriting Without Tears Online Workshop Rates

All rates include the items listed below:

  • Early Bird booking Rate €225 for bookings made before 20th August 2021
  • Regular Booking Rate €249
  • Late Booking Rate from 24th September 2021 €275

Places on this this live workshop are LIMITED so please book early to secure your place

*Please note that you should register by 24th September 2021 at the latest, to allow time for your workshop pack to be ordered and delivered to you. We cannot guarantee delivery of the workshop pack before the course date for bookings made after 24th September 2021.

International Attendees

The prices above are for Ireland only. In order to cover extra shipping costs for international attendees (those outside of Ireland a fee of €35 will be added to your cart.

Included In The Course Cost:

  • Attendance Certificate
  • High Quality Online Training
  • One-year access to the Virtual Professional Development Hub (VPDH)
  • You will also receive a Workshop Pack containing over €190 worth of Handwriting Without Tears Materials, which will be delivered to you by courier before the workshop. 

Your Workshop Materials Pack Contains:

handwriting without tears training 2021

  • 1 x Wood Pieces Set for Capital Letters
  • 2 x Mat for Wood Pieces
  • 2 x Slate Chalkboard
  • 1 x Blackboard with Double Lines
  • 1 x Magnetic Lowercase & Blackboard Set
  • 1 x Little Chalk Bits
  • 1 x Little Sponge Cubes
  • 1 x Get Set for School Sing Along music album CD
  • 1 x Rock, Rap, Tap & Learn music album CD
  • 2 x Workshop Participation Manuals
  • Delivery of workshop packs to locations outside of the Republic of Ireland will incur an additional delivery charge of €35. .

What Others Say about our Handwriting Without Tears Workshops in Ireland

“Excellent content, excellent teacher, everything broken down and easy to understand. Have learned so much today”  L. Gleeson “Very happy with the workshop, and I’m looking forward to implementing it with my son” M. Siewierska “Excellent Course. Lots of very good information” A. Hughes “It was very worthwhile. A lot of information delivered in a very explanatory manner – also very practical” H.O’Connor “Very enjoyable and lots of learning” S.Hallahan “Very informative and enjoyable, and plenty of resources, Thank you” B. Belton “Presenter was excellent!”  W O’Donoghue “Doing this course helps me to see it’s possible for anyone to learn to write easily” M. Caulfield “Workshop, really, really worthwhile. Tania has super presentation/teaching skills and has experience” A. Donagher “I thought the speaker explained things well, kept everyone engaged and taught you how to teach. It was very practical as a teacher”  Anon “Excellent speaker and workshop. I know so much going home after this wonderful workshop with Tania” O. Kilcane “Very practical workshop, Looking forward to putting it into practice. Great resource packs. Wonderful facilitator” E Ni Chatasaigh

Please note:  Register no later than 24th September to ensure delivery of your materials before the workshop.  The workshop materials will be shipped directly to you by courier.


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Lumiere Children's Therapy

March 9, 2022

Handwriting Without Tears: The “Write” Way to Learn Handwriting

handwriting without tears training 2021

A primer on the Handwriting Without Tears ® program

Key takeaways:

  • Handwriting Without Tears® helps children learn to write letters.
  • The program addresses all types of learners, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners.
  • It helps improve fine motor skills, letter formation, spatial awareness and body awareness.
  • It uses fun, engaging activities that help kids to learn how to form letters.
  • It teaches letter formation in a progression that makes the most sense to learners.

Occupational therapy uses various methods to help children who struggle with handwriting due to cognitive, developmental, or motor differences. The multi-sensory teaching curriculum, Handwriting without Tears® , is one method that works very well with students. This program is developmentally-based and addresses all learning styles, including visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic.

At Lumiere Children’s Therapy, our Occupational Therapists use Handwriting without Tears® to help kids improve their handwriting skills. This program helps improve fine motor skills, body awareness and letter formation.

In this article, we talk about common challenges that can lead to handwriting issues and how Handwriting without Tears® can help!

5 reasons kids struggle to master handwriting

There are many reasons your child might be having trouble with handwriting. Rather than become frustrated at his or her lack of progress, remember that there could be an unidentified root cause. Some causes have to do with writing mechanics, while others could point to an underlying cognitive or physical condition. Let’s take a look at five common causes.

1. Holding the pencil wrong

Poor handwriting might just come down to mechanics. Simply holding a pencil at the wrong angle or using the wrong grip can make a child’s writing sloppy or hard to read. It can also lead to pain in the wrist, hand, or fingers. If your child is uncomfortable, they might try to avoid writing.

Most children learn to write using the “ tripod grasp ,” which is the most functional grasp. In this grasp, a person holds the pencil about an inch from the tip, balanced between the thumb and index finger. The middle finger should be used as a resting/balance point.

2. Left-handed writers

Left-handed writers are often at a bigger disadvantage when learning to write than their right-handed classmates. The mechanics of writing left-handed are different and require a modified teaching method. Rather than pull a pencil across a piece of paper, for example, left-handed students must push it away from their hand, which can cause skipping or breaks in letters and lines.

3. Using too much pressure

If your child holds a pencil/pen too tightly or pushes down on a piece of paper too much, it can result in hand cramping, pain, and poor penmanship. They need to apply some pressure, but too much will cause problems or fatigue. Relaxing the grip can help.

4. Dyslexia 

Dyslexia has nothing to do with holding the pencil wrong. It is a language-based learning disability that affects how the brain processes and interprets language, including letters, words, and numbers. While reading and spelling can be significant challenges for kids with dyslexia, dyslexia can also affect a child’s ability to write.

5. Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a condition that impacts handwriting. Children with dysgraphia have trouble with transcription. They tend to have messy handwriting and may have challenges forming letters.

Signs of dyslexia and dysgraphia

What are some common signs of dyslexia and dysgraphia? Several signs point to a child possibly having one of these learning differences. They include:

Signs of dyslexia :

  • Delayed speech
  • Issues forming words correctly
  • Difficulty playing games or learning nursery rhymes
  • Reading well below the expected reading level for their age
  • Trouble spelling
  • Avoiding reading activities
  • Many of these signs affect reading, but they can also impact handwriting

Signs of dysgraphia :

  • Trouble forming letters
  • Tight or awkward pencil grip
  • Messy or illegible handwriting
  • Trouble staying in the margins on paper
  • Struggles with sentence structure and grammar rules

Some children with dyslexia also have dysgraphia. Children with ADHD often struggle with dysgraphia, as well. It’s important to have your child checked by a medical professional or licensed educational psychologist if you notice signs.

How the Handwriting without Tears® program works

Handwriting without Tears® is a multi-sensory approach designed to help children develop essential handwriting skills. The program uses fun and engaging activities that improve fine motor function. It also focuses on teaching kids how to form letters using tools like tracing paper or their fingers to master different aspects of handwriting.

The program includes specialized programs for students at every stage of learning, taking kids through the beginning stages of writing, including pre-handwriting strokes, and forming upper case letters and lowercase letters. It successfully combines teaching with interactive activities to address each student’s unique needs and struggles. Physical approaches are also used, including grip and posture adjustments for better writing performances.

Get help with handwriting

If your child is struggling to develop handwriting skills because of a mechanical issue or a condition like dyslexia, dysgraphia, or ADHD, Lumiere Children’s Therapy can help. Our trained Occupational Therapists incorporate the Handwriting without Tears® program to help teach students the writing skills they need to succeed in school and life. We work with you and your child’s teachers to develop a comprehensive plan to meet their physical, cognitive, and developmental needs.

Our Occupational Therapy program offers a wide range of services to help children learn a variety of skills, including:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Daily self-care
  • Visual-motor integration
  • Visual perceptual skills
  • Social and peer interaction skills
  • Self-regulation and attention
  • Sensory processing
  • Strength and coordination
  • Motor planning
  • Early development for infants

Aside from Occupational Therapy, we provide other comprehensive therapy services , including:

  • Physical Therapy
  • ABA Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Developmental Therapy
  • Early intervention
  • Social Work
  • Teletherapy

Lumiere Children’s Therapy is a full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice located in Chicago that serves the developmental needs of children from birth to 18 years of age. Learn more about how our team of clinicians works to improve the lives of children and their families.

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ABA Therapy Child Occupational Therapy Child Physical Therapy Child Social Work Child Speech Therapy Child Therapy Enrichment Classes Parent Child Interactions Uncategorized

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  1. Handwriting Without Tears®

    Handwriting Without Tears® Direct Instruction Multiple Modalities Cross-Curricular Instruction Intuitive, Effective Design HWT Delivers Success Shop now! Get started with our literacy solutions Start off your handwriting literacy journey today! Browse our shop and find our classroom kits and materials-designed for Pre-K-5 students. Shop Now

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    Available Now! Through 40 years of experience, Handwriting Without Tears has evolved to meet educator needs and to always provide the best possible student outcomes. Explore new and improved features and benefits. Learn More! Phonics, Reading, and Me Phonics instruction with the right blend of print and digital materials.

  3. Handwriting Specialist Certification

    Requirement 1) Must have a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) or be a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) 2) Attend all four of the handwriting workshops (in their entirety) • Readiness & Writing for Pre-K • Handwriting Without Tears Print (K-2) • Handwriting Without Tears Cursive (2-5) • Handwriting Assessment

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    Inspire. Empower. Thrive. Learning Without Tears provides interactive professional learning opportunities that incorporate a hands-on, minds-on approach to motivate, educate, and support Pre-K-5 success. View Brochure.

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    Webinars | Learning Without Tears Get ready for Summer learning with a new catalog, resources, and more. Start Today Explore Free Webinars Our ongoing series of free webinars bring together educators from around the world to provide tips and tricks for making learning fun and easy while creating confident communicators.

  6. Category: Workshops

    Category: Workshops Home Grade-Level Workshops Catalog & Order Forms Interested in school based pricing? Please request a quote. Home Workshops 1 - 17 of 17 Items Sort By Sort By Best Sellers (High-Low) Filters Category Workshops Handwriting (11) Keyboarding (2) Special Education (2) Early Literacy (1) Early Learning (3) Grade Level

  7. Bringing Handwriting Professional Development to a City Near You!

    Handwriting Without Tears is bringing expert-led workshops to you! Learn to build the foundational writing skills your students need to succeed. Learning Without Tears is an approved provider of continuing education by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA). Join us for a powerful new learning experience, and you'll:

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    A-Z for Mat Man® and Me. You can seamlessly bring the ABCs to life while building foundational literacy skills with this new early literacy program. Now accepting your pre-orders! Uses connected text to help teach the alphabet. Diverse stories promote social-emotional learning. Supports early to developing readers.

  10. Handwriting Without Tears 2025

    Handwriting Without Tears 2025 embraces the science of reading and of handwriting with a dynamic offering that is intuitive and customizable to student and classroom needs. Our print and digital solution saves you time and cost in producing better student outcomes and success in school. Student Editions Play Video

  11. Handwriting Without Tears: Proven K-5 Handwriting Program

    Handwriting Without Tears' pedagogy guides students to success with: Developmentally appropriate sequence of instruction. Consistent guided practice to develop automaticity and fluency. Multisensory components engage visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners. Hands-on manipulatives for developing fine motor and phonics skills.

  12. Learning Without Tears Fall 2021 Catalog

    Product & Professional Development Fall 2021 Catalog. NAVIGATE a n e w w a y. Your Back to School journey starts now and we're here to help you every step of the way.

  13. Handwriting specialist certification

    Learning Without Tears (HWT) Level 1 Certified handwriting specialists are occupational therapists, teachers, and educators who have specialized skills and experience using HWT's award-winning curriculum. They are passionate about educating others about handwriting and seek to promote good handwriting habits for all children.

  14. Screener of Handwriting Proficiency

    This self-paced on-demand workshop is designed to instruct you on how to administer and score the Screener of Handwriting Proficiency. The Screener is a free, "easy to administer" whole class assessment. The Screener will show how your students are progressing from the beginning, middle, and end of the school year, and will identify areas ...

  15. Handwriting Without Tears

    The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA; Pub. L. 108-446) broadened the scope of the original legislation ( Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 1990; Pub. L. 101-476) to focus on improving student outcomes, preventing problems, and setting expectations for students with disabilities to achieve high st...

  16. Building the Foundation for Literacy Success by Learning Without Tears

    A strong handwriting foundation creates literacy success! | 888.983.8409. 1. Handwriting (Pre-K-5) Handwriting W From emergent writing in Pre-K to cursive mastery in fifth grade ...

  17. Handwriting Without Tears Online Workshop

    Handwriting Without Tears Online Workshop October 2021 Friday October 15 2021 If you are not able to attend for the live training on this date, you can still book and watch online for up to 30 days afterwards Get top tips and simple strategies, to immediately implement in your classroom for teaching handwriting

  18. Handwriting Without Tears: The "Write" Way to Learn Handwriting

    1. Holding the pencil wrong Poor handwriting might just come down to mechanics. Simply holding a pencil at the wrong angle or using the wrong grip can make a child's writing sloppy or hard to read. It can also lead to pain in the wrist, hand, or fingers. If your child is uncomfortable, they might try to avoid writing.

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    Abstract This essay contributes new insights to current debates about the construction and meaning of queer space by considering how city space is appropriated by an informal 'lesbian' network in Ul'yanovsk, Russia. The group routinely occupied very public locations, meeting and socialising on the street or in mainstream cafés in central Ul'yanovsk, although claims to these spaces as ...

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  22. The Politics of In/Visibility: Carving Out Queer Space ...

    For example, with the readily available images of 'Western' Prides, one can ask whose visibility does Pride in other places create: that of the local LGBT people or a 'global (yet Western) gay'?