Occupational Therapist to Offer Cutting-Edge Multi-Sensory Handwriting Tutoring for Kids at Farmingdale Public Library


Handwriting Without Tears is a curriculum for teaching handwriting, and has lessons that can accommodate children in Pre-K all the way through to fifth grade.

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Michelle Malon, OTR/L, has an extensive background in working with kids.

Photo by: Michelle Malon

When it comes to early childhood education, every advantage a kid can get offers them an additional foothold when attempting to gain the skills that spell success in the classroom and beyond. A Farmingdale Occupational Therapist is looking to provide that opportunity to children with an exciting new multi-sensory handwriting program – called Handwriting Without Tears – that parents should be paying close attention to.
Michelle Malon, OTR/L, has an extensive background in working with kids; she graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia with a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy in 2015, and she's been working in pediatrics ever since.
“I've worked in sensory gyms, which are basically outpatient clinics for kids,” she said. “I've also worked in homecare, and I've worked in a couple of different school settings. I have a pretty diverse background in regards to Occupational Therapy and working with kids with special needs, especially on their fine motor skills and their writing/pre-writing skills.”
Handwriting Without Tears is a curriculum for teaching handwriting, and has lessons that can accommodate children in Pre-K all the way through to fifth grade. Michelle is going to be offering a new after-school program based on Learning Without Tears at the Farmingdale Public Library, starting in the 2021-2022 school year. 
Sessions are one-on-one, which allow Michelle to adapt her lessons to address each student's individual learning style.
“Handwriting Without Tears is the best handwriting course out there because it's research-based, it's developmentally appropriate, it breaks down difficult concepts into simple tasks, and the most important part is that It's playful and fun, and the kids really enjoy doing it,” Michelle said. “It's also accessible and inclusive, so I can teach kids both with and without special needs. It's just really good at meeting children with where they are developmentally, and it helps them build the skills that are necessary to succeed in school.”
Studies show that children with better handwriting skills show improvements in literacy, reading comprehension, note-taking, and study skills, and because of this they also show improvements in all of their other subject areas in school.
Michelle said she got involved with Handwriting Without Tears because she noticed that there weren't any programs of this nature in the Farmingdale area.
“There really aren’t any handwriting services like this in this area of Long Island,” she said. “So I really saw a need for it here, and I was really interested in starting my own business, so I feel like this program can both help kids and fit with my personal goals as well.
Michelle has taken all of the courses required by Handwriting Without Tears and is currently in the process of gaining her certification with the program, which she hopes to have obtained by October of this year. In the meantime, she's getting a head start on things by offering free handwriting assessments to any interested parties until such time as she is able to begin teaching the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum in earnest. 
Parents interested in signing their kids up for assessments can use the coupon code "LONG ISLAND" in order to get them free of charge, by calling, texting or e-mailing Michelle directly.
For those who may not be familiar with teaching methods that take a multi-sensory approach like Handwriting Without Tears, Michelle has taken the time to explain this very effective method
“Multi-sensory teaching just means that you're engaging multiple senses,” she said. “There's visual, which means demonstrations, pictures, letters, and so on. Then there's auditory, which means language and music, and touch, which means different types of textures like Play-Doh, chalk, crayons, and more. There are also your senses of movement and body awareness that are included. It's very comprehensive.”
By engaging more senses than is normally done in a traditional classroom setting, Michelle says that the learning experience proves to be far more encompassing and effective.
“Multi-sensory teaching engages more areas of the brain, and that helps with better long-term memory. Also, every type of child learns in a different way, so this basically ensures that all learning styles are covered,” she said. “Some kids are better visual learners. Some are better auditory learners, such as when they're listening to something or reading out loud. Some kids really need to move in order to pay attention and feel their body moving in different ways, making shapes out of different body movements. Every child learnsin a different way, and Handwriting Without Tears covers all of the bases.”
For those parents who may have concerns regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle is quick to point out that she has been fully vaccinated – although she does not require her students to be – and that the Farmingdale Public Library, where the program takes place, currently requires all patrons who enter the facility to wear masks at all times.
Also, for parents concerned about the price point of the program, Michelle notes that for in-depth occupational therapy, it is actually quite affordable. Students can attend lessons as often as they wish – once or twice a week, every other week, and so on – although the initial assessment that Michelle provides can give her a good idea of how much attendance would be optimal, and regular e-mail updates are provided to parents so that they can track their child’s progress.
This summer Michelle is considering holding handwriting camps at the library, where groups of children can participate in multi-sensory activities that focus on their handwriting ability and improving it. As for the future, Michelle said that she intends to be a regular fixture at the library, offering the Hanriting Without Tears program for many years to come.
Michelle said that it's actually a great feeling to be able to offer a very interesting, unique, and important service like this that helps to set children on paths to achieve academic success in the classroom, no matter what their ability level may be.
“I'm really excited to get the ball rolling and get started with this and help kids learn skills and make improvements in school and build their confidence,” she said. “It's really exciting, and it's also fun for me because it's my job to make learning fun for the kids, and when the kids are having fun, I'm having fun. So it's fun and exciting for everyone involved.”
If you wish to contact Michelle Malon and find out more about Handwriting Without Tears or set up a free handwriting assessment for your child, she can be reached via phone at 516-554-4006, via email at Michelle.k.malon@gmail.com, or through her website at https://michellemalonotr.com.