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Research Article  |   July 2006
Handwriting Difficulties in Primary School Children: A Search for Underlying Mechanisms
Author Affiliations
  • M. J. M. Volman, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of General and Special Education, Utrecht University, PO Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands; m.volman@fss.uu.nl
  • Brecht M. van Schendel, MSc, is Lecturer, School of Education, Fontys Hogeschool, Den Bosch, the Netherlands
  • Marian J. Jongmans, PhD, is Full Professor, Department of General and Special Education, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / School-Based Practice / Evaluation and Intervention for Children and Adolescents
Research Article   |   July 2006
Handwriting Difficulties in Primary School Children: A Search for Underlying Mechanisms
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006, Vol. 60, 451-460. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.4.451
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006, Vol. 60, 451-460. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.4.451
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study investigated the contribution of perceptual-motor dysfunction and cognitive planning problems to the quality or speed of handwriting in children with handwriting problems (HWP).

METHOD. Twenty-nine children with HWP and 20 classroom peers attending regular schools (grade 2 and grade 3) were tested with regard to visual perception, visual-motor integration, fine motor coordination, and cognitive planning abilities.

RESULTS. The HWP group scored significantly lower on visual perception, visual-motor integration, fine motor coordination, and cognitive planning in comparison with classroom controls. Regression analyses showed that visual-motor integration was the only significant predictor for quality of handwriting in the HWP group, whereas fine motor coordination (i.e., unimanual dexterity) was the only significant predictor of quality of handwriting in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS. Results suggest that two different mechanisms underlie the quality of handwriting in children with and without handwriting problems. Poor quality of handwriting of children with HWP seems particularly related to a deficiency in visual-motor integration.