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Handwriting Made Easy

We deal with handwriting problems along with literacy in our core 30 hour programme. Once the literacy work is completed, we can move on to handwriting. We generally see drastic improvement in handwriting within hours of practice. People who have never been able to write in cursive (joined-up), can do so quite easily within hours. These problems are often associated with co-ordination problems (dyspraxia), which are themselves cleared up within hours of learning to focus. Spatial awareness is often also very much improved in general.

Various options for you

There are a number of options available to you, depending on the level of involvement you are prepared to take on, and what you can afford.
We like to think that the Davis programme is actually available to practically anyone, as you are not really restricted by finances. All you need is the book, some plasticine, time and patience. Alternatively, you can sign up for a workshop to give you more confidence in applying the procedures in the book, or book in a professional one-to-one intervention.

For prices, please see the panel on the top left.

Dysgraphia is the label used when a person struggles with handwriting. We deal with this firstly when we clear up confusion regarding each letter of the Alphabet in the reading programme. This allows the client to establish clarity about the essence of each letter’s shape. 

We address several reasons for poor handwriting, which are explained in more detail in Ron Davis’ book The Gift of Learning. These include deliberate poor handwriting to cover up poor spelling, clearing up dyspraxia (hand-eye co-ordination problems), which can cause poor handwriting, and addressing "motion triggers" which is when certain movements are a problem. 

If the handwriting issues are the results of poor handwriting instruction, we obviously give better instruction, and sometimes the problem is caused by what we call "multiple mental pictures" where the client is trying to copy several different types of a letter at the same time - which clearly will be very confusing and result in inconsistent and poor handwriting.

Good handwriting instruction
In achieving good and easy handwriting instruction, we simply ensure consistency in the person’s handwriting.

Consistency needs to be present in the following aspects of handwriting:
  • shape
  • position
  • size
  • angle
  • spacing
Above is a sample of cursive handwriting, which is actually designed for ease of writing and consistency - but w
hatever style or type of handwriting you use, you need to have the shape of each letter consistent (c always looks more or less like c). This gives the reader the chance to read your handwriting even if some of your letters may not be exactly like everybody else’s.

In capital letters there are two imaginary horizontal lines that define the position of a letter; the baseline and the top of the letters.
In lower case there are essentially four imaginary lines defining the position of a letter from bottom to top: 1) The baseline; 2) the top of the short lower case letters, like x; 3) the top of the tall letters like l; and 4) the bottom of the letters that extend below the baseline, like p. This could be a useful time to look at any confusion like the difference in position of P and p.
For horizontal position see “Spacing”.

A letter should appear to remain the same size each time we write it in a sentence (B should always be the same size as B).
Upper case letters should all be the same size within the word or a capitalized sentence (LIKE THIS).
All the smaller lower case letters should be consistent in size, normally just over half the size of an upper case letter (c is just over half the size of C, and the same size as e).
The taller lower case letters are normally equally tall as the upper case letters, (h is equally tall as H) and certain parts of them should be the same height as the smaller lower case letters (the curvy part of h is equally tall as c). The only tall lower case letter which does not have a part that should be equal in size to the small lower case letters is l. Lower case f is sometimes written with a tall part and a part sticking below the baseline as well (like in this f).
The lower case letters that have a part of them going below the baseline of the word, also have a part of them which is equal in size to the small lower case letters (the circle part of p is equally tall as c). Lower case j is an exception.

Whatever angle (or slant) you choose to use, it needs to be consistent for all of your letters.
Handwriting is generally naturally slanted, because it is easier to maintain consistent angle that way. The angle of your arm defines the slant of your writing.

Spacing between letters needs to appear consistent. They need to be close enough together, so you can make a wider space between words.
Spacing between words needs to be consistent as well. This is wider than letter spacing.

The sample below, is another slightly different version of cursive handwriting, which again is designed for ease of writing.

By using the Davis focusing method, all the above issues can be addressed and mastered within hours.

Follow-up at home
Included in the five day programme is the training of a support person of your choice, a three hour review session a couple of months after the initial programme, up to six hours of phone support, and all materials needed for you to follow up the correction at home.
Over the months following the programme, you use the clay at home to master the 219 trigger-words, and when this is completed, the dyslexia is fully corrected. For maths you will need to master the symbols and words used in mathematics, and for dysgraphia, there are some more handwriting exercises to be done at home in order to embed the new handwriting fully.

Cost and commitment:
 Only your time - and your chosen support person’s. 
Duration: Approximately 50 hours, normally spread over several months.

Mastery versus learning
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.   
Mastery goes beyond learning. What we traditionally call learning often happens without truly understanding what you have learnt. When a picture thinker learns this way the learning normally doesn’t stick well in their memory. Mastery on the other hand, is for example what you do when you learn to ride a bicycle. When you have mastered the skill of bicycle riding, it will stay with you for the rest of your life. As literacy is a skill we need to aquire for life, this is obviously an important difference. We clearly need to master the letters of the Alphabet as well as the spelling of the most common words in the language.
About 75% of all we read - whatever we are reading - is made up of what we call trigger-words. These are the most common words in the language and we call them trigger-words because they tend to break the focus of a dyslexic person. The reason is that the dyslexic uses the meaning of the word in their thinking process - and the meaning of the trigger-words does not translate easily into a picture. Mastery of the trigger-words consists essentially of discovering their exact meaning and translating that into an image. We use plasticine for making the image clear and specific and then anchor it into our long-term memory using our unique focusing tool.
Training of your support person
By the end of the 30 hour programme, the client has normally already experienced a significant change in self-esteem and the areas that he/whe decided to focus on, whether it is reading or spelling.

A support person has received a three hour training in supporting with using the Davis-tools. This now needs to be put to use by doing specific follow-up work which normally takes about 50 hours. If the client decides to commit 1 hour weekly to this work it should be finished within a year.

The follow-up work is imperative to the success of the programme, as the learning difficulty has not been permanently conquered until this work is done. If this work is not done there is a risk of the benefits experienced within the 30 hour one-to-one work may start fading away within a year or two.

When a client is in education, we encourage as much involvement from school as possible - even though the success of the programme does not rely on this.