Hamburg resident Cheri Dotterer releases her book “Handwriting Brain-Body DisConnect” on adaptive teaching techniques to unlock a child’s dysgraphia for the classroom and at home on March 12.
Dotterer invites teachers, occupational therapists and parents to a Book Launch Party at Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown from 7 to 8 p.m. on March 11. The event is free and open to public. Refreshments will be served.
The book has been nominated in the General Non-Fiction category of the Author Academy Awards, an honor bestowed to authors around the world for literary merit and publishing excellence in the writing and publishing industry.
“The recognition by the publishing community would be humbling and celebrate the significance of dysgraphia in today's society,” said Dotterer.
A red carpet event, the Author Academy Awards was created by Kary Oberbrunner of Redeem the Day, a company that coaches authors and publishes books. Judging is based on popular vote, social contribution, cover design and book content, flow and originality. This is the second year of the awards. The top 10 finalists were announced in August. The awards will be held Oct. 25 in Columbus, Ohio.
“I was honored to be nominated.” Of the 40 books nominated in her category, her book is the only one supporting the educational system. “The uniqueness of my book will help me stand out.”
Dotterer said this award supports her mission to have the term dysgraphia known around the world.
“I want this specific learning disability to be recognized so we, parents, teachers, and related service providers can change the lives of children and improve the educational system. Winning in the Author Academy Awards will provide a jump start to this mission.”
Dotterer hopes to open a dysgraphia clinic and virtual research institute in 2020 to develop curriculum through research-based projects with several universities. She also plans on donating this book to underprivileged school districts throughout the United States.
Her book was inspired from her own personal writing challenges as a child and as a professional in occupational therapy with a specialty in dysgraphia. She discovered a powerful process that reduces anxiety and frustration while building confidence and competence.
An occupational therapist for more than 20 years, she started working as a school-based therapist in 2009 with no direction from other therapists. Many referrals are for handwriting problems.
“I ‘crammed’ in as much learning as possible. Still, there was a gap in the information to be shared.”
In addition, there was one question she heard often but could not answer, “How can my child read above grade level and not be able to write? Why is their spelling so bad?"
“It was the lack of evidenced-based practice and questions that I could not answer that inspired my research,” she said.
Her initial plan was to get her advanced degree.
“After one class, I realized that I was catering to their agenda and mine would be put on the back burner. I began my project independently.”
Dotterer hopes her book achieves her mission to instruct 100,000 teachers; therefore 2,000,000 students, in one year.
“Once we can begin the education process of the professionals, it will have a profound impact on the education system.”
She aims to raise awareness about is dysgraphia (#DysgraphiaAwarenss).
“This book defines dysgraphia and gives professionals simple strategies to work with it.”
Her book also shares a personal message of courage to speak up when no one else was doing so.
“Through this project, I took an insecure, unconfident person, myself, and found my voice and passion. I call it #flawlesscourage.”
Her company Therapy Services, LLC, in Hamburg, has been providing direct occupational therapy services to school districts, mostly cyber schools, since 2009. Therapy Services travels to the student's home and delivers the services where the child goes to school. The consultation services are being added to the current program.
Dotterer is currently the only employee, but she hopes that by niching down to solely focus on dysgraphia that Therapy Services can build an even stronger workforce in the future and add the research institute as a non-profit portion of the business.
As a consultant, Dotterer instructs professionals about this specific learning disability and provides them with foundation strategies to help their students.
An online course that coincides with the book is being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the American Occupational Therapy Association for continuing education credits.
“Ultimately, I would love this program to meet the requirements for the U.S. Department of Education, too.”
The in-person version of the course includes a full-day workshop.
Via video conference calls, Dotterer coaches parents and their children to help them better understand and manage it at home.
This is Dotterer’s first published book for the community. Her thesis is in the library at Alvernia University.
“That research project was written to fulfill the requirements of my degree and was written more as a technical paper. This book was written for teachers and parents. It is written as an information resource with stories woven throughout it.”
Dotterer is a member of the Northeast Berks Chamber. She received the 2017 Small Business Shining Star Award.