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Melvin Ibana and Priscila Caçola

Handwriting is a core deficit in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD). Fifty children were tested with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition; Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Short Form; Evaluation Tool of Children's Handwriting (ETCH); McMaster Handwriting Assessment Protocol; and Beery-Buktenica Test of Visual–Motor Integration (Beery–VMI–6). The results showed significant differences in components of the ETCH between groups (p < .05) and significant relationships between handwriting (ETCH and Beery–VMI–6) and motor ability measures (r > .30). We conclude that the ETCH and the Beery–VMI–6 are sensitive measures of handwriting ability for children with probable DCD, but more research is needed to identify a gold-standard assessment for evaluating handwriting in this population.

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Nicholas E. Fears and Jeffrey J. Lockman

Even with the increasing use of technology in the classroom, handwriting is still a foundation of education ( Berninger, Abbott, Augsburger, & Garcia, 2009 ; Feng, Lindner, Ji, & Joshi, 2019 ; Stevenson & Just, 2014 ). Handwriting is a key component of literacy, which allows individuals to

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Alexander W. Hooke, Sohit Karol, Jaebum Park, Yoon Hyuk Kim and Jae Kun Shim

The purpose of this study was to investigate central nervous system (CNS) strategies for controlling multifinger forces during a circle-drawing task. Subjects drew 30 concentric, discontinuous clockwise and counter clockwise circles, at self and experimenter-set paces. The three-dimensional trajectory of the pen’s center of mass and the three-dimensional forces and moments of force at each contact between the hand and the pen were recorded. Uncontrolled Manifold Analysis was used to quantify the synergies between pen-hand contact forces in radial, tangential and vertical directions. Results showed that synergies in the radial and tangential components were significantly stronger than in the vertical component. Synergies in the clockwise direction were significantly stronger than the counterclockwise direction in the radial and vertical components. Pace was found to be insignificant under any condition.

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Denis H. Stott, Sheila E. Henderson and Fred A. Moyes

The lack of a system for the analysis and diagnosis of handwriting incompetence has led to the neglect of this area of learning failure. This article describes a new instrument, the Diagnosis and Remediation of Handwriting Problems (DRHP) (Stott, Moyes, & Henderson, 1984b), that has been designed to fill this hiatus. Handwriting problems are divided into (a) faults of concept and style, which reflect failures of learning or teaching, and (b) faults of motor control, which suggest fine-motor or perceptual dysfunction and may have a neurological origin. Specimens of children’s handwriting illustrate this categorization. The methodology of the remedial programs proposed by the DRHP is based on empirical findings about the nature of handwriting movements. These programs are briefly described. There is a need for handwriting specialists to advise teachers and help in the diagnosis of problems. It is suggested that physical education teachers be trained to develop these skills.

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Oliver Tucha and Klaus W. Lange

Adverse effects of drug therapy on handwriting fluency attributed to increased attentional control have been observed in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The writing performance of 8 children with ADHD was assessed using a digitizing tablet in a double-blind, placebo-controlled test. Participants wrote a phrase in cursive script both on and off stimulant medication writing normally, writing with eyes closed, and writing faster than normal. Medication reduced fluency of normal handwriting movements. When children with ADHD were instructed to write faster than normal or with eyes closed, however, more fluent and even automated movements resulted, even on medication. We also assessed 10 children with ADHD, 10 children without ADHD, 10 adults with ADHD, and 10 adults without ADHD. Participants with ADHD were assessed both on and off medication. Children with ADHD on medication were less fluent than children without ADHD. Without medication, Children with ADHD did not differ from children without ADHD; those on medication showed increased handwriting dysfluency. There was no significant difference between the adults. Both children and adults with ADHD could perform age-appropriate and automated handwriting movements. Children with ADHD on medication, however, gave more attention to the writing process, possibly hampering fluent handwriting movements.

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Anna Barnett

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Jin Bo, Julia Barta, Hilary Ferencak, Sara Comstock, Vanessa Riley and Joni Krueger

The current study evaluated the developmental characteristics of printed and cursive letter writing in early school-age children. We predicted fewer age-related changes on spatial and temporal measures in cursive letter writing due to lower explicit timing demands compared with printed letter writing. Thirty children wrote the letters e and l in cursive and printed forms repetitively. For printed letters, significant age effects were seen in temporal consistency, whereas cursive letters showed age-related improvement in spatial consistency. Children tended to have higher consistency for printed handwriting than they did for cursive writing. Because of an overall advantage for printed handwriting, the explicit timing hypothesis was not fully supported. We argue that experiential factors influence the development of handwriting.

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Isabelle Sallagoïty, Sylvie Athènes, Pier-Giorgio Zanone and Jean-Michel Albaret

Previous studies have shown the existence of preferred stroke directions and shapes in handwriting. Assuming that such a two-dimensional trajectory formation process relies on the nonlinear coordination between two abstract orthogonal oscillators, a recent study (Athènes et al., in press) investigated the relative stability and the temporal accuracy of such coordination patterns in performing various ellipsoids corresponding to different phase and amplitude relationships between the oscillators. Results showed that only a small subset of the patterns was stable and accurate. The present study tested and verified the assumption that more stable coordination patterns deteriorate less under a speed constraint. In addition, differences between the dominant and nondominant hands gave insights into various effects modulating the stability and accuracy of such preferred patterns. Evidence of preferred coordination patterns and the predictability of their deterioration corroborate the existence of dynamics underlying handwriting in terms of nonlinearly coupled oscillators.

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Danilo Bondi, Sergio Di Sano, Vittore Verratti, Giampiero Neri, Tiziana Aureli and Tiziana Pietrangelo

( Meulenbroek & Van Galen, 1988 ). However, the links between specific motor skills and specific handwriting performances have not yet been sufficiently clarified ( El-Dayem, Salem, & El-Hadidy, 2015 ; Sumner, Connelly, & Barnett, 2014 ). Indeed, writing is a high-demanding task for the neuromotor control

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Daniel Bullock

Calligraphic writing presents many challenges for motor control, including: learning and recall of stroke sequences; critical timing of stroke onsets and durations; fine control of grip and contact forces; and letterform invariance under size scaling, which entails fine control of stroke directions and amplitudes during recruitment and derecruitment of musculoskeletal degrees of freedom. Experimental and computational studies in behavioral neuroscience have progressed toward explaining the learning, planning, and control exercised in tasks that share features with calligraphic writing and drawing. This article highlights component operations ranging from parallel sequence representations to fine force control. Treated in succession are: competitive queuing models of sequence representation, performance, learning, and recall; letter size scaling and motor equivalence; cursive handwriting models in which sensory-motor transformations are performed by circuits that learn inverse differential kinematic mappings; and fine-grained control of timing and transient forces by circuit models that learn to solve inverse dynamics problems.