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Why a Slant Board

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When I first started working in school based OT, it felt like slant boards were recommended for everyone. They weren’t, but it felt like they were. I didn’t really see why, but joined in the slant board party because it was expected. After 12 years of doing school based, and 30 years doing pediatrics, I still don’t see the huge draw to slant boards. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between a slant board and a book holder. A slant board has about 20 degrees of slant and a book holder/easel is between 30 and 80 degrees.

Reasoning behind using a slant board

When a young child learns to write optimally they have a strong shoulder girdle and have been doing preschool tasks like painting and drawing on an easel. Working on an easel helps develop shoulder, arm and wrist strength, and helps develop good wrist extension for writing. A mature writing position includes forearm resting on the table, ulnar side (pinky side) of the hand stabilized on the table, wrist extended, and fingers mobile. One reason to use a slant board is to get the forearm and hand resting and stable with encouraging wrist extension. 

Another reason for a slant board is to bring the work off of the table top and to more of an angle that is better for the eyes to see it.

Now those are all great reasons for using a slant board, but most of the time I have used a slant board with a student, I have not seen the slant board make a difference in their writing abilities. I am still more than willing to try them, but I feel that it is rare that I can see a true difference. The biggest benefit that I have seen of using a slant board is bringing the paper up to a better visual viewing angle. Have you seen a change in a student’s writing by using a slant board?

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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.

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One Comment

  1. In vision therapy, slant boards are used all of the time. Scientific studies have shown that work at a slant reduces visual stress. So, there is more than one good reason to use a slant board!

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