Cherie J. Duval-White, Tracy Jirikowic, Dianne Rios, Jean Deitz, Heather Carmichael Olson; Functional Handwriting Performance in School-Age Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Am J Occup Ther 2013;67(5):534-542. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.008243.
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© 2017 American Occupational Therapy Association
Handwriting is a critical skill for school success. Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) often present with fine motor and visual–motor impairments that can affect handwriting performance, yet handwriting skills have not been systematically investigated in this clinical group. This study aimed to comprehensively describe handwriting skills in 20 school-age children with FASD. Children were tested with the Process Assessment of the Learner, 2nd Edition (PAL–II), and the Visuomotor Precision subtest of NEPSY, a developmental neuropsychological assessment. Participants performed below average on PAL–II measures of handwriting legibility and speed and on NEPSY visual–motor precision tasks. In contrast, PAL–II measures of sensorimotor skills were broadly within the average range. Results provide evidence of functional handwriting challenges for children with FASD and suggest diminished visual–motor skills and increased difficulty as task complexity increases. Future research is needed to further describe the prevalence and nature of handwriting challenges in this population.
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