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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Health Care Sciences

First Advisor



The purpose of this research was to study the clinical and kinematic characteristics of cursive handwriting in healthy third and fifth grade children. One hundred-nine children participated in this study; 53 were in grade three and 56 were in grade five. Five commonly used clinical assessments were selected addressing strength, sensorimotor and coordination characteristics specific to handwriting. Two handwriting assessments, the Evaluation Tool of Children's Handwriting–Cursive, and the writing subtest of the Jebsen Test of Hand Function, assessed speed and/or legibility of handwriting. A simple cursive writing task was also produced on a digitized tablet and analyzed for kinematic features. Multiple T–Tests were used to determine significant gender differences and the effects of maturation on handwriting. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine if clinical or kinematic characteristics were predictors of legibility in cursive handwriting. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine if clinical or kinematic characteristics of handwriting contributed to handwriting speed and legibility. Results of this study indicate that in all groups, boys had less legible handwriting than girls. With maturation, healthy children in the third and fifth grades improve in their ability to smoothly write in the up and down direction, which is complemented by improved hand steadiness and coordination. The strong association between the grooved pegboard and legibility suggest that improving a child's in-hand manipulation skills may contribute to improvement in handwriting skills. The Jebsen and grooved pegboard contributed to handwriting speed and legibility. The findings of this study will guide Occupational Therapists in improving their understanding of the clinical and kinematic mechanisms underlying handwriting, which are critical to the development of appropriate intervention paradigms.

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