I am a occupational therapist in South Africa. Last year (2009) in my final year of studying, a patient was assigned to me who lost their dominant arm. It was the first time i was faced with having to do dominance training. i was able to teach the person how to tie his shoe, prepare food, dress, etc. using one handed techniques and assistive devices. The dilemma however was that the hospital where i did my practical had no resources to teach a patient how to write again… i searched the internet endlessly for exercises and guideline on how to teach an adult how to write again.
Finally i found the answer and was blessed by being sponsored with “Handwriting For Heroes”. This book is really a wonderful resource and so easy to use. The author was able to compile a book that is even easy to use for people who are not therapeutically trained. the exercises are simply arranged into weekly exercise sections that is further divided into daily exercises. these exercises are easy to follow and takes up little time to complete. I have also found it easy to use in outpatient situations where i can only see a patient once a week. i would do the first day’s exercises with the patient to make sure that he understands what to do in each exercise and that he is using the correct movements and flow of his hand. down falls to the product is that they mainly focus on cursive writing and not block writing as well as that some patients find the example and writing space to be a little small. in regards to the first down fall: the cursive writing does teach the client how to let his/her writing flow. With regards to the second down fall: what I do is enlarging the exercises to make it easier for the person to read and copy. otherwise i give the patient a book where i copied the exercises in. in all and all i would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!!!
Handwriting for Heroes: Learn to Write with Your Non-Dominant Hand in Six Weeks
Kathleen Yancosek and Kristin Gulick
Loving Healing Press (2009)
Reviewed by Randy A Lakin for RebeccasReads (11/09)
When I first received this book, or should I say workbook, “Handwriting for Heroes”, I was pleasantly surprised by its content. I was expecting a lot of reading to be involved as with so many books on the market. This workbook is different, it is filled with writing exercise after exercise, and that is great. This workbook is for any individual that has lost full or partial use of their dominant hand and wants to re-learn how to write. When you stop to think about it, if you want to learn how to write with your non-dominant hand you have to write. The old saying, “Practice Makes Perfect”, is what this book is based on. No matter what your injury is, amputation, stroke, or extensive soft tissue trauma, this workbook is for you.
“Handwriting for Heroes”, targets adults and helps preserves the dignity of those who must “re-learn” the basics of handwriting. Each chapter is filled with repetitive exercises that will increase one’s fine-motor skills. There are six chapters as well as a Certificate of Completion at the end of the book. In each chapter there are also tips for therapist, which include exercises and information about proper posture and lighting. The authors have provided homework assignments that are easily done in the convenience of one’s own home while watching TV or relaxing. The tasks are oriented to the adult learner no matter what your education level may be. Learning to write with the previously non-dominant hand can be a rewarding accomplishment along the path to recovery. It is an accomplishment that leads to improved self-esteem, increased work opportunities, or occupations.
This workbook is designed to help those individuals with dominant-hand problems or injuries regain their writing skills and self respect. The authors did a wonderful job with this workbook. If you have a non-dominant-hand injury or just want to learn to write with you opposite hand, look no further. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn how to write with their non-dominant hand.
Its always interesting to hear what people outside the OT community think about the H4H method:
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (12/08)
The authors have written a very exceptional workbook to help those individuals with dominant-hand problems regain their writing skills. Both authors state that this gives adults the opportunity to make positive changes in their life by utilizing well-designed, adult material and not children’s coloring books.
Each chapter is filled with repetitive exercises that will increase one’s fine-motor control and wrist stabilization. There are six chapters as well as a Certificate of Completion. In each chapter there are therapist tips, which include exercises, information about posture, utilizing scissors and the necessity of having good lighting. The authors have provided homework assignments that are easily done in the convenience of one’s home while watching TV, reading or visiting.
I believe as the authors do, it is important that individuals utilizing this workbook experience positive outcomes. Each chapter is built off the previous one. If a person doesn’t understand something, or needs additional help, it is suggested that they go to the website and speak to a therapist. I found the exercises and lessons interesting, easy to understand and use. There are many people who cannot afford therapy for extended periods of time or are embarrassed about the limited use of their dominant hand. This excellent workbook, “Handwriting for Heroes, by Yancosek and Gulick, is for them.