Size Matters® give teachers language and tool they can incorporate into their day. Simple sound bites and Catchy refrains. The Rules are like a cheer that everyone knows, and everyone can chant. It uses powerful motivators, kid-friendly concepts and meaningful visuals. We have a cast of characters that reappear throughout the posters and workbook, original artwork that is intentionally whimsical and engaging, and incentives that give testament to the OT Practice Framework. (More on that in a minute.) Plus, the Dice Game is an immediate hit… always! It’s designed to maximize the limited available time and resources. That includes instructional time, money and materials. As I said, this is a concept-driven program. Plus, it’s so simple; you don’t need a degree to teach it. Your aides, parents and kids will catch on super quickly and just as quickly, be able to teach each other. It makes best use of the limited manpower we have.
It reinforces language used in the curriculum. In other words, the spelling and vocabulary words from your student’s literacy, SS, science or even math programs are the ones students practice printing. That makes it all the more meaningful. Pluck the language from the children’s textbooks that have the letters they are currently practicing.
At the same time teachers are reinforcing vocabulary, concepts, definitions, even spelling, the children are thinking letter size. In fact, the more they think about the printing within the context of assorted subject matter, the more automatic and naturally becomes their processing of letter size. Bottom line… There is nothing artificial about this program. And most importantly… it stays focused on readability and functionality. We’re not about creating a generation of calligraphers. We’re all about making sure our children are functional printers. In time, you will see that directionality of stroke, combinations of letter lines, starting points and more have a lot less to do with legibility than everyone has been led to believe. To achieve readability, one has to clean up the inconsistencies on the written page. Once you do that, the entire page becomes much clearer and more readable.
It is evidence-based.
Eight studies have already been completed on the Size Matters® Handwriting Program. Four tested its efficacy. Of those, three were empirical. One was qualitative. Three were published. Two are in pre-publication stages awaiting word of acceptance into a peer-reviewed journal. One was a comparison with other handwriting programs from which the conclusion was that SMHP was best for legibility. Several more are in various stages of development, undergoing data collection or analyzing the results. The bottom line is that we are constantly looking to expand our knowledge regarding SMHP.
We want to further test its usefulness with different populations, ages or demographics. Toward that end... we have lots of ideas in mind including:
- Long and short-term studies looking at legibility, # OT referrals, and cognitive scores associated with handwriting intervention
- Pilot studies assessing both qualitative impressions of SMHP by teachers and students and quantitative results
- Single session studies to assess the speed with which SMHP can work.
- Letter Size versus Letter Form. Comparisons of test results and clinical utility with programs that assess other variables in contrast to SMHPs assertion of the primacy or Size (followed by Space) as the main variables to address and thus measure.
- Reliability and validity statistics regarding our screener, assessment, and progress monitoring
- Use of SMHP with different learners, including low incidence, spectrum disorders, sensory impairments, etc.
Use of SMHP with different demographics
In this quest for more and more research, we are partnering with universities across the country and the globe. Requests to bring Size Matters® and to conduct research have come from Canada and Pakistan, the UK and Australia. We are determined to be the most heavily researched program out there. That is how confident we are in how well it works. Allow me to digress….
Interested in advancing our body of knowledge?
Contributing to our profession, especially through research and publishing, is a noble endeavor. Quasi-interested but afraid of the commitment? No worries. There are plenty of ways to participate without feeling totally responsible or without undertaking a study outside your comfort zone. Here are some options:
- Do your own Case Study. This could be a single student for whom you’ve introduced SMHP concepts. The simplest way to pass your success along may be taking Before and After pictures. Date them. Include a diagnosis and age. You may achieve impressive results within one session or over the course of a few weeks. And here’s the collegial part…Post the pictures on social media.
- Do an informal Pilot Study. This option may require more permissions from your administrators and teachers. Pilot Studies can range in duration from a week to a month, a semester or a year. It’s best when there is both a Control and Intervention group and includes pre and posttests. If this option appeals to you but you hesitate for any reason, please know that we can assign a Certified SMHP Instructor/Real OT Solutions® Affiliate to help you.
- Be a Site Manager. OT candidates pursuing research are often interested in expanding the demographics responding to their research question. If you would like to participate in a study but not be responsible for consolidating and analyzing date, literature reviews, or journal writing, this option may be for you. As OT students are ready to launch their study, they could reference the list of volunteer sites. At that point, you could still say Yes or No. Participating in the advancement of our knowledge base is thrilling.
- Be a Site Manager with a willing population! If you are already in a school that supports research, we could work together to partner you with a university. Partnering with a university enables the literature review to be conducted by students. Plus, if it is a research institute, they already have a statistician on board. The research professor would lead the study.
- Be a Facilitating Researcher. This option works best if you are enrolled in a doctoral or master’s program. I am happy to help identify a strong research question and partner you with therapists/schools around the country, if you wish. Someone in the university faculty would be the Lead Investigator and could tap a statistician associated with the department. Your name would go on the published research.
All questions are welcomed. All research is desired.
It starts with you identifying whether you want to do a qualitative or a quantitative study.
Qualitative studies are primarily smaller, exploratory and may include:
- Case Study
- Unstructured Interview
- Open-ended Questionnaires
Quantitative studies generate numerical data that can be transformed into meaningful statistics. They are typically more structured and may include:
- Pre-test/Posttests using standardized or norm-referenced assessments
- Control and Intervention groups
- Institutional Review Board acceptance
- Literature Reviews
- Fidelity Manual
In either case, Real OT Solutions would be happy to partner you. We can assign with a research-experienced Affiliate or Dr. Bev herself to ensure your comfort with the program and to help flesh out a strong research question. We would help identify appropriate materials, including a discount or special privileges for institutions undertaking research.
Sounding do-able? Let’s keep talking!