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Handwriting Size and Children with Autism

handwritingsize[Source:  Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders via Your Therapy Source]
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders published a study of  26 boys with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and 17 typically developing children and their ability to regulate the size and consistency of fundamental handwriting movements when using writing guides.    Each participant wrote a series of four cursive letter l’s using 10 mm and 40 mm writing guides, using a graphics tablet and stylus. The results showed the following:

  1. movement size and consistency was comparable between groups when the writing guides were set at 10 mm
  2. handwriting movements of children with ASD were significantly faster and more fluent than typically developing children when writing guides were set at 40 mm.
  3. neuromotor noise was comparable to that of typically developing children across both writing sizes.

The researchers concluded that children with ASD have a well-automated motor plan for simple handwriting movements when writing guides are present.  They surmise that problems of handwriting legibility in ASD may be due to other factors, such as complex motor chaining (i.e. writing whole words and sentences), or attentional, working memory and linguistic demands when writing.
Reference: Johnson, P. et al. Do children with autism and Asperger’s disorder have difficulty controlling handwriting size? A kinematic evaluation. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume 11, March 2015, Pages 20–26
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