Sheryl Eckberg Zylstra, Beth Pfeiffer; Effectiveness of a Handwriting Intervention With At-Risk Kindergarteners. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(3):7003220020. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.018820
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OBJECTIVE. We examined the effectiveness of an occupational therapist–led handwriting intervention for special education and at-risk kindergarteners.
METHOD. We incorporated a two-group, pretest–posttest design. Both groups consisted of kindergarteners receiving individualized education program (IEP) or Response to Intervention (RtI) support. An occupational therapist provided biweekly group handwriting instruction using the Size Matters Handwriting Program to students in the intervention group (n = 23). The control group (n = 12) received the standard handwriting instruction.
RESULTS. Students in the intervention group demonstrated significantly greater gains in handwriting legibility than students in the control group. Students in the intervention group also demonstrated significantly greater gains in the prereading skills of uppercase letter recognition, lowercase letter recognition, and letter sound recognition.
CONCLUSION. This study provides preliminary support for an occupational therapist–led handwriting intervention to improve writing legibility and letter recognition in kindergarteners receiving RtI and IEP supports.
Will at-risk kindergarteners (those children receiving IEP or RtI support) participating in a 16-wk, occupational therapy–led handwriting SMHP intervention group demonstrate considerably greater improvements in handwriting legibility than children who do not receive the intervention?
Will at-risk kindergarteners participating in an SMHP handwriting intervention make considerably greater gains in the prereading skills of letter name recognition and letter sound recall than students who do not receive the intervention?
Kindergarten students with IEPs and in the at-risk population can make substantial progress when given direct instruction in handwriting.
This study demonstrates support for the use of the SMHP when used in addition to the standard handwriting intervention for improving handwriting legibility provided in a special education and RtI setting.
This study lends support to recent evidence that handwriting interventions can improve early reading skills. Occupational therapists need to approach administrators with this evidence in support of continuing direct handwriting instruction in schools.
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