An exploration of school based occupational therapy in mainstream primary schools, with a focus on handwriting
(2014) An exploration of school based occupational therapy in mainstream primary schools, with a focus on handwriting, no. 75.
Handwriting difficulties are the most frequent reason school-aged children are referred to occupational therapy (OT). A failure to master handwriting proficiency can have far reaching consequences, including impacting on the child's future career prospects and mental health. Currently UK OTs address handwriting difficulties by providing therapy exterior to the child's natural classroom environment, only subsequent to a child exhibiting signs of poor function in this area. The Scottish Government recommends inclusive early intervention in order to provide the best start in life for all children. The literature reviewed has identified a contemporary method of service delivery named Response to Intervention (RtI) which is delivered in schools in American, Australia and Canada in relation to handwriting difficulties. This multi-level, whole school approach incorporates comprehensive early intervention through the delivery of a first rate handwriting programme by both the OT and school teacher. Providing early intervention in the classroom may lessen the need for a child to receive more intensive occupational therapy in the clinical setting, thus reducing the OT's overall case load. The literature review informs a qualitative research proposal which aims to explore OTs', primary school teachers' and parents' perceptions of the implementation and delivery of a RtI handwriting programme in a mainstream primary school in Lothian, Scotland. It is proposed to carry out participatory action research concurrently with piloting of a 15-week handwriting programme.