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Research Article  |   March 2003
Effect of an Occupational Intervention on Printing in Children With Economic Disadvantages
Author Affiliations
  • Cindee Q. Peterson, PhD, OTR, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, Western Michigan University, 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5333
  • David L. Nelson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio
Article Information
Health and Wellness / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / School-Based Practice / Handwriting and Computer Skills in Children
Research Article   |   March 2003
Effect of an Occupational Intervention on Printing in Children With Economic Disadvantages
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2003, Vol. 57, 152-160. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.2.152
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2003, Vol. 57, 152-160. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.2.152
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether an occupational therapy intervention improved an academic outcome (D’Nealian printing) in a school setting. The study specifically examined improvement in printing skills in economically disadvantaged first graders who were at risk academically and socially. The intervention was based on an occupational framework including biomechanical, sensorimotor, and teaching–learning strategies.

METHOD. The final sample consisted of 59 first-grade children from a low socioeconomic urban elementary school-based health center who were randomly assigned to an occupational therapy intervention or a control condition. In addition to regular academic instruction, the intervention group received 10 weeks of training twice a week for 30-minute sessions. The control group received only regular academic instruction. Subjects were pretested and posttested on the Minnesota Handwriting Test, which assesses legibility, space, line, size, and form (the main variables in this study) as well as speed.

RESULTS. Multivariate analysis of variance confirmed that the gain scores in the occupational therapy intervention group were significantly greater than those in the control group. The Hotelling-Lawley Trace value was 0.606, with F (5, 53) = 6.43, p < .0001). The estimated effect size (η2) was .378, with an observed power of .994. Largest gains for the intervention group were in the areas of space, line, and size.

CONCLUSION. The intervention group demonstrated a significant increase in scores on the posttest of the Minnesota Handwriting Test when compared to the scores of the control group. Occupational intervention was effective in improving the academic outcome of printing in children who are economically disadvantaged.