What is Adaptive Paper for Handwriting?

Messy handwriting is a common reason for pediatric occupational therapist referrals in a primary school setting. In many cases, children haven't mastered or don't have exposure to the basic prewriting skills required to move forward with handwriting development skills such as:

  • Formation
  • Sizing
  • Alignment
  • Spacing
  • Construction

Kids struggling with handwriting can benefit from adaptive paper. This type of paper is ideal for children with handwriting difficulties and who require colored spaces, bold baselines or increased page space. It also benefits kids with visual-motor impairments or visual perceptual deficits.

Children who struggle with handwriting often times benefit from adapted paper. These free printable sheets are perfect for kids with handwriting challenges that need bold baselines, colored spaces, or increased space on a page.

Various factors can impact handwriting development, including:

When children struggle with one or more of these challenges, they might exhibit letter reversals over ages 6 and 7 years old. They might have problems keeping up with their friends and peers with writing assignments.

Any child struggling with letter size, letter formation, margin use, spatial awareness or line use can benefit from adaptive paper.

Types of Adaptive Writing Paper and Surfaces

Common types of adapted writing surfaces and paper include paper with colored areas so kids can define their writing area visually, paper with raised or bold lines and dry erase boards. Children have boundaries in how they write with writing guides. Adapted writing guides and paper help kids:

  • Improve their writing size
  • Enhance legibility
  • Focus writing on the baseline

Your child can view and stay within the guidelines more easily with bold lined paper. They gain sensory feedback for the bottom and top lines with raised lined paper. Other types of adaptive paper can have various colored top, bottom and middle lines to provide children with cues for starting and ending letters. Even more, other adaptive paper has shaded areas from the middle to bottom for helping children maintain the appropriate size with their lower case letters.

Talk with your child's pediatric occupational therapist or teacher about the ways you can have them use adaptive paper to help fine tune their handwriting skills.

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