The objective of this study was to analyze the process and product of handwriting among children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) in comparison to those of Typically Developing (TD) children. Children with NF1 are at risk for some cognitive deficits, a wide range of deficits in perceptual skills and, motor and visual-motor integration skills which may interfere with handwriting competency, which is an essential ingredient for success at school. Participants were 30 NF1 children and 30 age and gender matched TD children, between the ages 8 and 16.08. The handwriting performance of children with NF1 was evaluated with the Beery–Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI), for copying text and free style writing tasks, using: (1) Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool (ComPET) to assess mechanical aspects of the writing process. (2) The Hebrew Handwriting Evaluation (HHE) to examine product legibility. (3) The Six-Trait Writing Model to judge the quality of the written product. Significant differences between the NF1 children and the control group were found in the process and product measures. Significant correlations were found between the VMI, the ComPET, the HHE and the Six-Trait Writing Model variables for both groups. We suggest a possible relationship between executive dysfunction and poor performance in handwriting.
Published in: Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2010, 31, 929-935.