It All Starts at Our Core

Let’s talk about core strength. Why is it so important handwriting and other classroom skills?

Our core includes not only our abs but also our lower back muscles. When a child’s core is not strong, they utilize their forearms to support themselves at a table. This results in inefficient use of their hands as they are not able to move them freely and instead learn to use compensatory movements to complete activities such as handwriting and other fine motor activities.

Signs of poor core strength:

  • Complaining about being tired when writing
  • Laying head on the table or resting on hand
  • Leaning on hands or forearms
  • Slouching on the chair
  • Moving around on the chair…FIDGETING!!!

We can help stabilize the children core by promoting appropriate sitting techniques when working on table tasks.

In therapy we talk about the 90-90-90 rule.

This means that when seated at a desk, we want to ensure the following:

  • Feet flat on the floor 90 degrees at ankles
  • Knees bent at 90 degrees
  • Hips at 90 degrees

The top of the desk should be approximately 2 inches above the elbows when the arms are bent at the student’s side. This will ensure that the child’s neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers are relaxed.

Adjustments you can make to promote 90-90-90 rule:

  • Table legs can be adjusted
  • Height of the chair
  • Wedge
  • Place pillow behind the child back
  • Booster seat
  • Footstools
  • Desktop slant boards (3’ inch Binders)

Next time your child sits at a table for homework or any table-top activity, first ensure that they are grounded and supported properly to ensure greater success with classroom tasks.

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Hi, I 'm Nancy

I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) with more than 18 years of experience and whose greatest passion is working with children of all abilities. 

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