3 Considerations When Deciding Between Assistive Technology and Handwriting 

two homeschooled boys write while weightbearing through their arms.

As an Occupational Therapist consulting with homeschool families, one of the top questions asked is, "Do I force my child to write?" The answer depends on the child and is not as simple as a yes or no. Here are the top three considerations when helping families to make this decision.


1. What type of learner is the child? Kinesthetic learners need movement to help encode information. They wiggle frequently, probably benefit from manipulatives in math, and their attention often follows their hands. These kids need to learn to write so they have the added kinesthetic component. Cursive is typically my first recommendation for kinesthetic learners. Visual learners do well with typing because they can see their information on the computer screen. Auditory learners do great with talk to text or even google read and write. The VARK questionnaire can help families determine the specific learning style.


2. What is the environment of the homeschool? The environment considers posture for writing, length of time available for writing assignments, how many kids are present, even positioning of the paper. Often, with decreased distractions and a proper seated position, we can help a child be successful with writing so they can fall back on this skill when needed in the future.

3. For what types of assignments is handwriting needed? Typically, in our culture, the amount of handwriting needed peaks in late elementary school when kids are learning to write papers and need the speed of their writing to keep up with their thoughts. After this, writing is typically only used for note taking and then even less frequently for jotting notes. So, beginning around this time, my recommendations change from building the skills needed for handwriting, to accommodating for learning styles within adaptive strategies.


For more specific information on any of these considerations, please contact Collins Academy Therapy Services for a consultation for your homeschool. Begin the process here.



  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework (4th ed.). American Occupational Therapy. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.74S2001
  • Flemming, N. Mills, C. (1992) Not another Inventory, Rather a Catalyst for Reflection. Improve the Academy. 11.
  • Haswell, Joanna, "A Close Look at Learning Styles" (2017). Honors Senior Capstone Projects. 23. https://scholarworks.merrimack.edu/honors_capstones/23
  • Sarma, S., Yoguinto, L. (2020). Grasp. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
assistive technology vs handwriting

Sarah Collins

Sarah is an OT and home school mama whose zone of genius is bridging the gap between OT's and homeschool parents with resources to help them both thrive.

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