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Handwriting Research in the News - featured July 13, 2010

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[Source: Brain Blogger]

by Jennifer Gibson

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have poor penmanship. In turn, poor penmanship leads to decreased success in communication, failed academics, and a lack of self-esteem. Until now, clinicians and autism experts believed that developmental delays were to blame for inferior handwriting skills, but a new study in Neurology reports that weak motor skills may be the cause. And, more importantly, they may be treatable.

The study examined the handwriting of children with and without ASD. The children completed the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment, as well as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV and the Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle (Motor) Signs. The children without ASD performed better on handwriting tasks than age- and intelligence-matched children with ASD. Specifically, children with ASD had trouble forming letters, but were able to correctly size, space, and align their letters. The results of the motor skills assessment accurately predicted handwriting skills within the ASD group. Age, gender, intelligence, and visuospatial abilities were not related to handwriting.

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Tags: Newsletter News of the Week Handwriting 16 July 2010