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OTS 110: Common Core left Handwriting Behind!

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 110 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

School-based OT practitioners are not handwriting teachers! However, handwriting is often the most common reason for referral.

In our chat with Debra Collette today, we are discussing a recent article where she surveyed teachers, administrators, and therapists on the missing pieces of handwriting in schools. Ten years ago, common core began to take over school standards, but the standards neglected to include handwriting. Tune in to learn how common core standards have impacted handwriting and how you can support students and teachers in implementing a handwriting curriculum.

Tune in to learn the following objectives:

  • Learners will identify the connects and disconnects between the common core curriculum with handwriting

  • Learners will identify the impact common core has made on children’s written expression

  • Learners will identify how common core and handwriting can impact OTPs

  • Learners will identify what OTPs can do to support curriculum and handwriting on a systems level

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Guest Bio

Debra L. Collette, OTD, OTR/L

Debra Collette is an Associate Professor and Program Director at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY. She was a school-based OT for 18 years with experience in K-12 and Assistive Technology. Debra has presented findings through AOTA and NYSOTA and has published them in AJOT and OTJR. In addition, she is an instructor for the AOTA Fieldwork Educator Certification Program (FWECP).


“Teachers don’t get handwriting instruction in their college or academic programs” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L

“We have this set of common core standards that tells us what we should be doing in education. But because there is nothing specific to handwriting, it's easy to set it aside and not think about it again” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L

“40 minutes in a week is really not enough… we practice for musical instruments, or we practice for a sport, we have to put a lot more time in than just 40 minutes a week. So that foundational component of handwriting would be much more beneficial if it was a greater number of minutes per week” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L

“As we type more and more and as high stakes testing is turning towards a typed response versus a written response… there's also research out there to support the fact that motor skills of learning handwriting, support that overall type response to if you know it, you're going to be quicker at the type response” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L

“The teachers benefit from seeing it, and the child benefits from being able to be successful in that classroom in front of the teacher,” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L

“...pick a few that you're strong at and that you feel good about, representing where a child's strengths and challenges are within. If you don't understand the language behind an assessment, is that worth giving?” Debra Collette, OTD, OTR/L


Handwriting assessments:

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