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Study: Technology hurting kids' handwriting

Posted at 6:12 PM, Feb 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 19:12:10-05

Today’s technology, even in the classroom, is all about the touchscreen tablets and multi-media devices.

A brand new study, conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, shows students are struggling with handwriting.

Occupational Therapist, Jennifer Kebbekus, sees it first hand. She owns Wauwatosa Therapies on Bluemound Road. She works with a lot of children who are struggling with handwriting.

"Wisconsin is one of over forty states that actually don’t require any handwriting components as part of their core curriculum," she said. 

In a world dominated by technology, some debate handwriting isn't a necessary skill. Kebbekus strongly disagrees.

"It incorporates the right and left side of our brain and that’s important for higher level critical processes," Kebbekus said. 

Buiding brain connections aren't the only benefit. According to Kebbekus, putting a pen or pencil to paper, can boost memory and improve fine motor skills.

Kebbekus uses a popular program called Learning Without Tears. The curriculum focuses on sensory play like using wood pieces to build letters.

It might sound unusual, but if a kid is struggling with handwriting skills, Kebbekus has them crawl on the floor or do other sensory exercises.

"Trying to bring as many sensory components into the writing of letters, play down on the floor where you are incorporating weight bearing on your hands."

Instead of swiping on a tablet, to keep a child's brain developing, parents at home can have their child play a musical instrument or build blocks. Practice handwriting, even a better idea, according to Kebekus.

She explained handwriting uses both hemispheres of the brain. Texting or typing just uses one.