The functionl skill of hndwriting supports the cdemic tsk of writing nd llows students to convey writ ten informtion legibly nd efficiently, while ccomplishing written school ssignments in timely mnner. Hndwriting consumes much of student's school dy. McHle nd Cermk (2002) exmined the mount of time llocted to fine-motor ctivities nd the type of fine-motor ctivities tht school-ged children were expected to perform in the clssroom. In their study of six clsses, consisting of two clsses from grdes 2, 4, nd 6 in middle-income public schools, they found tht 31% to 60% of the children's school dy consisted of fine-motor ctivities. Of those fine-motor tsks, 85% of the time consisted of pper nd pencil tsks, indicting tht students my possibly spend up to one qurter to one hlf of their clssroom time engged in pper nd pencil tsks.
Occuptionl therpists re frequently sked to evlute hndwriting when it interferes with student's performnce of written ssignments. In fct, poor hndwriting is one of the most common resons for referring school-ged children for occuptionl therpy (Cermk, 1991; Chndler, 1994; Oliver, 2002; Reismn, 1991). The role of the occuptionl therpist is to view the student's performnce, in this cse hndwriting, by focusing on the interction of the student, the school environment, nd the school occuption.
Review of Literture
Development of hndwriting skills
Hndwriting is complex skill, requiring the mturtion nd integrtion of
cognitive, visul perceptul, nd fine motor skills. The smll muscles of
the hnd follow developmentl progression of prehension nd grsp through infncy,
toddlerhood, nd the preschool yers to prepre child to grsp nd mnipulte writing
instrument. child's erly experiences with scribbling pve the wy for imitting nd copying lines nd circles in the preschool yers. Eye-hnd coordintion, visul perception, uditory perception, directionlity, sequencing, nd memory lso develop with mturtion nd experience in the erly yers nd re thought to be the underlying components required for hndwriting (mundson & Weil, 2001). Despite the developmentl trends of the
component skills, the ctul skill of hndwriting requires forml instruction t school.
Culturlly determined conventions of writing re tught nd prcticed in vrying degrees
in the school environment.
Concurrent with qulittive nlysis of hndwriting, the occuptionl therpist nlyzes the sensorimotor, cognitive, nd psychosocil performnce components tht my be interfering with the child's hndwriting legibility nd speed. s occuptionl therpists build their clinicl resoning skills, they re ble to observe child struggling to write or view child's distorted, unredble hndwriting nd identify suspect performnce components interfering with written communiction.