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Work Station, Positioning and Keyboarding Skills


Young children and students continue to spend more and more time keyboarding for written expression.  Whether it be at home before children are school aged or sitting long hours typing away throughout a child’s educational career or even as adults, the work station must be set up efficiently to allow for proper positioning while keyboarding.

Prior to evaluating keyboarding positioning skills, check to ensure the work station is set up properly.  You want to check the following:

1. The top of the monitor screen is at or below eye level.
2. The monitor and the keyboard are directly in front of the head and body.
3. The viewing distance from the individual to the computer monitor is somewhere between 18 and 30 inches (about arm’s length).
4. There is no glare (i.e. from windows or lights) reflecting on the monitor screen.
5. The seat provides support for the lower back.
6. The seat width and depth are suitable.
7. The work surface is at the proper height (i.e. forearms are horizontal or angled slightly downward).
8. Legs and feet have enough space under the work surface.
9. Any accessories (i.e. computer mouse) are within reach.

Once the work station has been assessed, observe to make sure that the student is positioned properly while typing.  Here are some guidelines:

  • Head position – Head in neutral position (or slightly forward) and head is in line with the torso
  • Back supported by chair – Sitting up straight with back supported, body in front of keyboard
  • Elbow position – Elbows are close to body; angle is open about 90-120 degrees
  • Wrist position – Wrist is neutral and level with forearms
  • Finger position – Fingers on home row and curved
  • Hip position – Hips at about 90 degrees
  • Knee position – Knees at about 90 degrees
  • Legs – Legs are not crossed
  • Feet – Feet are flat on the floor

Proper Positioning for Keyboarding Freebie from Your Therapy Source

You can download a rubric for positioning while keyboarding here.  This rubric is from the Keyboarding Rubrics packet and can be used to:
• assess proper positioning while keyboarding.
• assess changes in performance over time in one individual.
• inform the individual of what is expected for the task.
• increase consistency of scoring.
• promote learning/ education on proper positioning while keyboarding.

Reference: United States Department of Labor OSHA. Computer Workstations eTool. Retrieved on 11/6/2016 at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/checklist_evaluation.html

Functional Skills for Kids - 12 month series by OTs and PTs

This post is part of the Functional Skills for Kids: 12 Month series by Occupational and Physical Therapists. You can read all of the functions on childhood HERE. Read all of my monthly posts in this series HERE.

Looking for more information about the development of the functional skills of keyboarding? Stop by to see what the other occupational therapists and physical therapists in the Functional Skills for Kids series have written.

When is My Child Ready to Learn to Keyboard? | Miss Jaime, O.T.

Fine Motor Skills and Typing  | Therapy Fun Zone

How to Implement a Keyboarding Club | Sugar Aunts

10 Keyboarding Modifications to Help Kids Type Better | Mama OT

Activities to Help Children Learn to Type | Growing Hands-On Kids

Assistive Technology for Kids Who Struggle With Handwriting  |  The Inspired Treehouse

Work Station, Positioning and Keyboarding Skills| Your Therapy Source

Visual Perceptual Considerations When Typing  | Your Kids OT

Keyboarding Rubrics from Your Therapy Source Inc

Keyboarding Rubrics digital download includes 28 rubrics to assess keyboarding skills in PDF and Word format. Also includes 3 references pages on work station area, keyboarding and the common core and fluency chart of handwriting versus keyboarding K-8.  Find out more information.