From 10 to 30% of elementary school-aged children have handwriting difficulties. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the Alphabet Task performed on a computerized digitizer system may be used as a screening tool in order to differentiate between nonproficient and proficient writers. Performance on the Alphabet Task was compared for 50 third grade students defined by their teachers as nonproficient writers (M age = 8.7 yr., SD = 0.3) and 50 age- and sex-matched classmates defined as proficient writers (M age = 8.6 yr., SD = 0.4). Analysis indicated significant differences between the two groups in temporal and spatial measures of the Alphabet Task performance, supporting its use in screening for handwriting difficulties. Possible implications of the results for intervention with children with handwriting difficulties are discussed.

Published in: Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2005, 100, 629-639