What is Handwriting Without Tears?

The developmentally based, flexible, and engaging Handwriting Without Tears™ program is an easy and effective way for children to develop good handwriting skills. It has been used successfully by more than 10 million children. Combine that with enthusiastic therapists with extensive knowledge in all aspects of handwriting, and you have a winning combination.

Handwriting Without Tears™ uses fun, entertaining, and educationally sound instructional methods to teach handwriting to all students. The intuitive workbooks, engaging hands-on materials and lively music inspire active learning. Handwriting Without Tears™ is a proven success in making legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill for all students.

Therapy Tree is pleased to provide the Handwriting Without Tears™ program in groups or as part of our occupational therapy individual sessions. Groups are run by our occupational therapy staff and typically include 2-5 students. Children are placed in our groups as determined by age and writing level. Groups are available for children with special needs as well as typical children.



What is Sensory Integration?

All day, every day, we receive information from our senses: touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell, body position, movement and balance. Our brains must organize this information so that we can successfully function in all aspects of daily life: at home, at school, at play, at work, and during social interactions.


The Senses

Touch: The tactile system provides information about the shape, size, and texture of objects. This information helps us to understand our surroundings, manipulate objects, and use tools proficiently. When you put your hand in your pocket and select a quarter from an assortment of change, you are using tactile discrimination.

Hearing: We use our auditory system to identify the quality and directionality of sound. Our auditory sense tells us to turn our heads and look when we hear cars approaching. It also helps us to understand speech.

Sight: Our visual system interprets what we see. It is critical to recognizing shapes, colors, letters, words, and numbers. It is also important in reading body language and other non-verbal cues during social interactions. Vision guides our movements, and we continually monitor our actions with our eyes in order to move safely and effectively.

Taste and Smell: The gustatory and olfactory systems are closely linked. They allow us to enjoy tastes and smells of foods and cause us to react negatively to unpleasant or dangerous sensations.

Body Awareness: Proprioception, or information from the muscles and joints, contributes to the understanding of body position. This system also tells us how much force is needed for a particular task, such as picking up a heavy object, throwing a ball, or using a tool correctly.

Movement and Balance: Located in the inner ear, the vestibular system is the foundation for the development of balance reactions. It provides information about the position and movement of the head in relation to gravity and, therefore, about the speed and direction of movement. The vestibular system is also closely related to postural control. For example, when the brain receives a signal that the body is falling to the side, it, in turn, sends signals that activate muscle groups to maintain balance.


Integrating Information from the Senses

Considering all of the sensory modalities involved, it is truly amazing that one brain can organize all of the information flooding in simultaneously and respond to the demands of the environment. The complex nature of this interaction is illustrated in the following example:

Michael receives the instruction "Please put on your coat." In order to comply, he must focus his attention on the speaker and hear what that person says; screen out incoming information about other things going on around him; see the coat and adequately make a plan for how to begin; see the armholes and sense muscle and joint positions in order to put his arms into the openings; feel, with touch awareness, that the coat is on his body correctly; and use motor planning, touch awareness, and fine motor skills to zip or button the coat.

In order to accomplish this seemingly simple task, the nervous system must integrate (focus, screen, sort, and respond to) sensory information from many different sources. Imagine the amount of sensory integration needed to ride a bicycle, participate in a soccer game, or pay attention in an active classroom.

Individuals who have difficulties with all or part of this process face significant challenges when engaging in daily functional activities.


Therapeutic Listening

Therapeutic Listening (TL) is an expansion of Sensory Integration. It is an auditory intervention that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system. Auditory information from Therapeutic Listening CDs provides direct input to both the vestibular and auditory portions of the vestibulo-proprioceptive, core development, and breath activities so as to sustain grounding and centering of the body and mind in space and time. Providing these postural, movement, and respiratory activities as part of the TL program is critical.

Therapeutic Listening utilizes numerous CDs that vary in musical style, types of filtering, and level of complexity. The music on Therapeutic Listening CDs is electronically altered to elicit the orienting response which sets up the body for sustained attention and active listening.





pediatric occupational therapy new jersey

pediatric speech therapy tree


contact pediatric therapy