Understanding Developmental Handwriting Challenges

Foundation skills for handwriting, assessment to inform intervention, and fun, engaging ways to develop the skills needed for those aged 5-13 yrs.

This workshop is suitable for those in or working with Primary and Intermediate Schools

One or two-day interactive workshops

Please contact us to register your interest

Workshops run 9.00am - 3.45pm

If you are waiting on funding approval - we strongly recommend you contact us to pencil book a place as these workshops do sell out.

Attendees can book either the day one workshop or both days.
It is also possible to do the Day One training and complete the 2nd day of training at a later stage - contact faye@grow.co.nz for more details.

The aim of this workshop is to provide an understanding of the foundational skills required for handwriting to develop, how to perform and interpret assessment data to inform interventions, and to explore a range of fun, engaging ways to develop the skills needed for our tamariki to thrive.

Handwriting is a complex task, involving much more than just fine motor skills and a tripod grasp. Many learners are entering school without the foundational skills needed for handwriting, such as gross motor stability, visual skills, and visual memory, resulting in frustrated learners who just need a bit more time, and the right approach for a few more developmental steps to unfold before starting handwriting. Some learners can take years to develop the skills and may need some extra individualised help along the way. With limited access to occupational therapists in the classroom, this training will provide participants all they need to know to provide a robust assessment of handwriting readiness and foundational skills, as well as interventions which can be used to support development of the skills for primary and intermediate aged learners. 

This workshop will suit educational professionals such as teachers, RTLB, and teacher aids, as well as therapists such as occupational therapists or speech and language therapists.

Delivered by Elen Nathan, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Sensory Integration Practitioner from The Playful Place, Elen has specialised in neurodiversity, autism, sensory processing differences, dyspraxia, and behaviour support planning, and has a deep understanding of child development, particularly social-emotional and sensory motor development. 

With practical knowledge of the classroom environment working in and alongside schools for over a decade to support diverse learners access the curriculum, Elen is also a Mum to 2 wonderful boys with 2 very different sensory-motor systems. Elen has a passion for practical, family friendly and classroom friendly strategies that are simple to implement and fun & engaging for the learners and also presents GROWs workshops on Understanding Sensory Needs in the Classroom and LEGO-Based Therapy Facilitator Training.

Intended Learning Outcomes 

This training will cover:

Day 1: Foundational Skills for Handwriting

  • Prewriting skills needed before holding a pencil, including sensory awareness and body awareness.

  • Gross motor, fine motor, visual and cognitive skills needed for handwriting.

  • Pencil grasps and stages of development.

Day 2: Screening Tools & Intervention.

  • An in depth look at 1 screening tool and 1 standardised assessment to be used to inform intervention or when referral on may be needed.

  • Developing assessment skills for participants including when to screen and when to assess, observation skills, and mini screens such as screening visual-motor skills, muscle strength and sensory processing.


  • Creative activities to develop pre-writing skills

  • Creative activities to develop handwriting skills

  • Strategies to work with the reluctant writer.

  • When to move away from handwriting and towards technology supports.

As stated above, attendees can book either the day one workshop or, both day one and day two, and it is possible to do the Day One training and complete the 2nd day of training at a later stage - contact faye@grow.co.nz for more details.

What others have said about Elen's presentations

"I had no idea handwriting was this complex for kids, I wish I knew this years ago"  Rachel, RTLB

"Elen is a fantastic speaker who kept me interested and engaged the whole time" Kim, Psychologist

"Elen was a down to earth presenter who had a large amount of knowledge, but also got the intricacies of working with students who have learning difficulties." Tania, Teacher

"I enjoyed the content and Elen is an engaging person whose delivery of the course content is easy to understand and grasp, ie relatable and not too "jargonised ! "  Hazel, Speech Language Therapist

"Very well organised, very experienced, and honest about what she had tried herself that had worked and not worked." Sharon, Special Education Advisor

Who Should Attend

This workshop is suitable for Primary and Intermediate School Teachers, Teacher Aides, Speech and Language Therapists (to support communication assessments), RTLB’s, SENCO’s, Occupational Therapists, Psychologists and Counsellors. Also, possibly those working in the ECE sector.

The course is hands-on and practical and will give participants direct skills and tools to use straight away.

NOTE - If your organisation is interested in having Elen present face-face as a private workshop to your team, please contact Faye Johnson for more information.

Elen's Other Workshops

Understanding Sensory Needs in the Classroom

An Introduction to sensory processing, and how to support individuals effectively.

Sensory processing difficulties are very real, though often hidden or confusing. As a teacher, teacher aide, RTLB, Speech and Language Therapist,  SENCO, OT, Psychologist or counsellor, if you feel like typical strategies are not enough, or feel there is a bit more to the concerns you are seeing at school, this day will help you to explore those concerns further and respond to sensory needs in an appropriate and meaningful way.

Click Here for more information

LEGO-Therapy Facilitator Training

LEGO-Based therapy is an evidence based social skills program developed for people on the Autism Spectrum. It is an excellent therapy model for clinicians and professionals with existing skills and knowledge in group theory, clinical reasoning and Autism. 

 This workshop is ideal for people working with individuals on the autism spectrum who want to set up and facilitate LEGO-Based Therapy groups: Psychologists, Counsellors, Teachers, Teacher Aides, RTLB's, Speech and Language Therapists, clinical and allied staff, key workers, SENCOs and occupational therapists.

Click Here for more information

The following peak bodies and organisations recognise that the training we offer is of a high quality, evidence based and relevant for their members CPD.

About the Presenter: Elen Nathan

Elen is a NZ registered Occupational Therapist in Napier and is a qualified Sensory Integration Practitioner (Ayres Sensory Integration). With 20 years’ experience in NZ and abroad working with children and adults who have diverse needs, she has specialised in supporting autistic people which has led her to work in peak body organisations including Autism New Zealand, The National Autistic Society (UK) and Autism Victoria (AUS).

Elen is passionate about working with neuro-diverse children to build their self-esteem and self- worth through understanding themselves better, the intrinsic strengths they have, and the gifts they have to offer the world.

As the Mum of 2 busy young boys, they have taught her that often children come with their own plan and need an understanding team in their corner coaching them through life's challenges.

Zoom Meeting Dates & Time

Next Dates TBC

9.00am - 3.45pm

You will be sent the details to access ZOOM after you have registered. 

This is an interactive workshop with breakout room activities and we therefore ask all participants to have their own computer / laptop with a working camera and mic as this makes interaction with the breakout room activities and discussions easier and enhances the learning for all.

We also encourage participants to email their questions to us prior to the workshop, or via the chat at the meeting - email faye@grow.co.nz

Please note these webinars will not be recorded.


Online 1 Day Workshop:

$305.00 inc GST

Online 2 Day Workshop:

$610.00 inc GST

Note: The price stated is per person.

Attendees can do the Day One training, then attend the 2nd day of training at a later stage - contact faye@grow.co.nz for more details.
If you are sending 5 or more delegates, please email us for a discounted rate.


Registration process

Payment online is by VISA, Mastercard or American Express only and there are 3 easy steps to complete the online booking process.

Our registration platform is hosted by Lil Regie, our NZ based booking agent. Upon completing your registration by hitting the blue 'Confirm Booking' button, you will receive an automated email confirming the booking and amount paid by credit card. A GST Tax Invoice showing your payment in full will also be emailed to you.

If you have any issues or questions about your booking, please contact Faye Johnson on 027 607 3000 or email: faye@grow.co.nz

Invoicing Information

We work hard to ensure that all workshops are cost effective by automating our systems. If your organisation is unable to use our automated booking system and pay by credit/debit card and therefore require an invoice instead to pay by direct bank credit, there will be a $25.00 inc GST surcharge for this, and you will need to supply the following please:

  1. The full organisation name and postal address required to appear on the invoice.

  2. The contact name and email of the person(s) responsible for authorising this expense and approving payment.

  3. Any purchase order references required on vendor invoices.

Please email this information to Brian - accounts@grow.co.nz and faye@grow.co.nz , and along with the Invoice we will also send you a special booking link which will come up as free of charge. Through this link you will need to complete your registration. 

Our workshops fill quickly so if you would like to reserve a place, please contact faye@grow.co.nz

What happens if you have to cancel?

We know that sometimes your plans can change for many different reasons. Should you be unable to attend, a substitute delegate is welcome to attend at no extra cost. If a substitute delegate is not available and you need to cancel your registration, please be aware of the following:

Face-Face Events - Up to 7 days prior to the event you will be provided a refund of your registration cost, less a $60.00 inc GST per attendee service charge.

Online Events - Up to 7 days prior to the event you will be provided a refund of your registration cost, less a $20.00 inc GST per attendee service charge.

If you cancel within 7 days of the event, you are not eligible to receive a refund. 

Please note: should your registration not be paid by the time of the event, you are still liable to make the payment.

Unpaid accounts may be passed over to our debt collection agency and additional costs may be incurred. 

All cancellations must be received in writing (email). 

Training is cancellable by GROW with 3 days’ notice if a minimum number of attendees is not met and full refunds will be provided

Please note: GROW Ltd reserves the right to make any amendments that we may deem to be in the best interest of the forum – it is however very unlikely and we will notify you as soon as possible should this occur.

For more information see our full Terms of Trade.

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For further details, please contact:
e: faye@grow.co.nz
p: 027 607 3000