By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’d like to preface this post to reminding non-OT readers that, while we are sometimes known as “handwriting experts”, OTs are so much more than that!

Handwriting is the functional outcome that’s impacted in the student’s daily life, but handwriting itself is made up of a variety of underlying sensory-motor skills. 

Let’s break it down.

How sensory processing impacts handwriting

Many people don’t realize how impactful an integrated sensory system can be on the development and refinement of handwriting. 

For the purpose of this blog (and your time– I could seriously talk about this stuff ALL DAY), let’s just consider the simple activity of  writing your name. 

Here are just some of the needed sensory related skills to write your name:

How gross motor skills impact handwriting

Handwriting is typically thought of as a fine motor skill, and many don’t realize what gross motor skills are needed as a prerequisite to handwriting. 

How fine motor skills impact handwriting

These are the skills that most people think of when considering what kinds of underlying skills are required for handwriting. Take a look and see if there are any I left out, or if there are any skills you hadn’t considered before!

Higher level skills needed for handwriting

As you can see, there are many foundational underlying pre-requisite skills and abilities that are required to be able to appropriately participate in a school-aged activity such as writing your name.

These sensory and motor skills, when well integrated, come together to allow for refinement of some higher level skills that are directly related to handwriting. Some of these skills include: 



Developmental Motor Skills & Activities


Free Instant access to my Members Only Vault with Resources & Activities


Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *