The Zone'in Child Development Series
Newsletter for Teachers, Parents and Therapists
Zone'in LogoThe Zone'in Child Development Series Newsletter is designed to assist teachers, parents and therapists in understanding how to help children who experience learning difficulties.
To Drug or Unplug -
The Lure of the Elusive Quick Fix

VidoegamesIn the 21st century 21% of elementary children have a mental health diagnosis, with 15% on psychiatric medication (Michael and Crowley 2002). While there are many problems associated with medicating children, the most worrisome fact is that there are no psychiatric medications available that have been tested on children, only medications that have been tested on adults (Fisher and Fisher 1996, Antonuccio et al 2002).

Cris Rowan in the Vancouver Sun

Re: What's best for baby? Feb. 23, 2008
Technology is destroying our children.
A Review of Handwriting Research:
Progress and Prospects from 1980 to 1994

This study documents that in 1993, 70% of teachers indicated that handwriting was "not as good as it should be", and expressed concern regarding the "downward plunge in the standards of handwriting legibility required of elementary school children".  Authors also state that students who have difficulty with automaticity of writing, thus achieving poor quality and quantity of written output, results in avoidance and minimization of the writing process.  Authors state that for beginning writers, both visual and verbal modeling appears to be the most effective means of introducing a letter prior to practice (i.e. the teacher demonstrates how a letter is made while describing how it is formed). 

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Writing Instruction in Kindergarten

This review examines the literature on how to teach kindergarten children with reading and writing difficulties how to write, and reports that text production is critical in writing development.  Text production instruction should include modeling newly introduced letters with numbered arrow cues, practising letters from memory, and asking children to circle letters that represent their best work.  Edwards also points out that handwriting is not just a motor process, but rather draws on the importance of letter recognition (a visual memory skill), which is a skill that can be enhanced by repeated practice with letter production. Edwards also highlights the importance of explicit spelling instruction for kindergarten children.
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Cris Rowan

Cris Rowan is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, author, speaker and champion of easing the job of learning for all children.
Click here for complete bio.
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