1. Introduction

Now we do more repetition on the word, adding spelling to make a deeper cognitive impression. The arm-tapping motions stimulate the kinesthetic sense and provide tactile feedback.

↑ Top

2. Procedure

Video: Technique Three: Arm Tapping

Be sure to hold the flash card at arm’s length from your body, and at arm’s length from the child. The flash card also needs to be held at the child’s eye level. We want to make sure that the child is simultaneously focused on tapping out the word and looking at the written word on the card.

The first step of arm-tapping a word is to say the word while slapping your left shoulder with your right hand. Then, as you say each letter, you use two fingers (index and middle finger of right hand) to tap your left arm, gradually progressing down the arm from shoulder to wrist. Then say the word again while sweeping the two fingers along the left arm, from shoulder to wrist, a variation on the “underlining” motion of previous exercises. The child will copy your motions exactly, using their right hand to tap out the word on their left arm.

Here is a sample script for you to follow:

Adult: Let’s arm-tap the word.
            My turn. Ready? SAID. S-A-I-D. SAID.
            Again: SAID. S-A-I-D. SAID.
            Your turn. Ready?

Child: SAID. S-A-I-D. SAID.
Adult: Again.
Child: SAID. S-A-I-D. SAID.
Adult: One more time.
Child: SAID. S-A-I-D. SAID.
Adult: Good job!

↑ Top

3. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My child is left-handed, and she keeps using her left hand to tap out the word on her right arm. Is that OK?

A: No, it is not! Except for the Air Writing and Table Writing exercises, left-handed students should do all of these lesson activities with the right hand. Particularly with the arm-tapping exercise, a child who does it with their left hand will be tapping out the letters backwards, going from right to left instead of from left to right. This can create unnecessary confusion in a child who is in the process of learning to read and write.

↑ Top

One Response to “Technique Three: Arm Tapping”

  1. Judy

    I am going to be working with a child that is at an intermediate level in using an AAC. Is there anyway she can use her AAC to say the letters and the word and still do the Arm Tapping procedure. She needs to use her hand to “say” the letters and the word. I don’t know how to have her do the arm tapping and still activate her devise in a timely manner. Any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Judy,

    For a child that is using an AAC device, they are already getting some kinesthetic feedback from their fingers tapping the device. As such, they don’t need to do the arm tapping exercise – they are already getting the benefit from using the AAC.

    For readers wondering, an AAC (Augmentation and Alternative Communication) device is used by people with speech pathologies to help them communicate. They press a button (or series of buttons) on the AAC and the AAC says a word.


Leave a Reply