Susan E. Palsbo, Pamela Hood-Szivek; Effect of Robotic-Assisted Three-Dimensional Repetitive Motion to Improve Hand Motor Function and Control in Children With Handwriting Deficits: A Nonrandomized Phase 2 Device Trial. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(6):682–690. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.004556
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OBJECTIVE. We explored the efficacy of robotic technology in improving handwriting in children with impaired motor skills.
METHOD. Eighteen participants had impairments arising from cerebral palsy (CP), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other disorders. The intervention was robotic-guided three-dimensional repetitive motion in 15–20 daily sessions of 25–30 min each over 4–8 wk.
RESULTS. Fine motor control improved for the children with learning disabilities and those ages 9 or older but not for those with CP or under age 9. All children with ASD or ADHD referred for slow writing speed were able to increase speed while maintaining legibility.
CONCLUSION. Three-dimensional, robot-assisted, repetitive motion training improved handwriting fluidity in children with mild to moderate fine motor deficits associated with ASD or ADHD within 10 hr of training. This dosage may not be sufficient for children with CP.
Would the robotic-assisted repetitive motion training improve fine motor control?
Would the robotic-assisted repetitive motion training help children scribe glyphs more consistently?
Would robotic-assisted training increase functional efficacy as measured by handwriting speed and glyph reversals?
Functional improvements in handwriting (increased speed and consistent letter shapes) may be achieved for children with deficits arising from ADD, ADHD, or ASD, through 8–10 hours of repetition motion training.
Fine motor repetitive motion training in three dimensions can be provided by a desktop robot console for sale to the general public.
A practical and objective measure of change in functional handwriting is to measure the standard deviation of difference between actual glyph height:width ratio and normed glyph height:width ratio, over time. This procedure allows comparisons when children have mixed manuscript and cursive lettering.
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