Handwriting: A perceptual-motor disturbance in children with myelomeningocele

J. Ziviani, A. Hayes, D. Chant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


An explanation for the handwriting difficulties experienced by children with spina bifida myelomeningocele was sought within the framework of a closed-loop theory of motor skill acquisition. The handwriting performance of 34 children (16 boys and 18 girls) aged 6.16 to 13.42 years was detailed with available norms. Regression analyses were then performed for the five handwriting components of speed, alignment, letter formation, spacing, and size. The regressions for speed, alignment, and letter formation reached statistical significance. For speed, age provided the greatest explanation of performance (R2 = .62, p = .008). Alignment was explained substantially by age, handedness, scholastic aptitude, and kinesthesia (R2 = .55, p = .03). Letter formation was determined primarily by age and kinesthesia (R2 = .71, p = .001,). The overall regression was not significant for spacing (R2 = .39, p = .30), or size (R2 = .35, p = .43), although a significant single degree of freedom was detected for the effect of age. These findings are discussed in terms of skill acquisition theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-26
Number of pages15
JournalOccupational Therapy Journal of Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


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