Top Ten Most Popular Baby Names of 2012: How easy will they be to handwrite? :)

According to, the most popular 2012 baby names are:

Male Names, starting at most popular:

Liam, Ethan, Noah, Mason, Jacob, Jack, Aiden, Logan, Jackson, Lucas
Female Names starting at most popular:
Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, Isabella, Mia, Ella, Emily, Lily, Chloe
How does this relate to occupational therapy? Any occupational therapist who has ever had to teach handwriting and teach a young child how to write their name, knows how crucial teaching a name can be. It’s often the first thing the child starts writing, starting in preschool, and has to jot hastily down on every piece of paper for the rest of their lives. 
For ANY child, special needs or not, a short name (or an easy nickname) with primarily vertical lines and at best a few curves will be easiest. Diagonals are the trickiest and require more developmental maturity than vertical and horizontal lines. And some letters are more prone to reversals than others such as b, d, p, q. 

When I look at these top tens from a Handwriting Without Tears standpoint, none of them look too bad for a child with special needs to have to write. For Isabella, I’d vote for shortening it to “Bella” rather than “Izzy” because it is a really challenging one, two z’s and a y! Diagonal city!
If I had to name my child and knew in advance they would have significant special needs, I’d possibly try to find a 3 to four letter name that started with either a capital E, F, T, or L, and then had just a few simple lowercase letters, ideally avoiding b, d, or diagonals. (For example, Ella was a great one! Big line down, little lines across! Little line, little line! Magic c, little line! Even better would just be “Lila”.)
I often come across parents who lament that they would have named their child something differently had they known how much trouble the child would have handwriting! Realistically I’m sure if I truly had a perfect name picked out already then I would just go with the name I want and either give the child a nickname or just work a lot with my child on learning how to handwrite it! I’m not a HUGE fan of nicknames though, because they complicate things a little bit for a child with special needs, having two names to respond to and/or recognize and/or explain.
The most challenging name I ever had to teach (while working as a student occupational therapist in rural Mississippi at a pediatric clinic) was unique enough that I won’t share it, but I’ll give a fake name equivalent instead to explain – Ja-ni’queaL- the child’s name had an uppercase letter both at the beginning and end of the name, plus a dash, plus an apostrophe!
Hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the top most popular baby names of 2012 from a pediatric occupational therapist perspective!
Jan 02, 2013 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1