From 10 to 30% of elementary school-aged children have handwriting difficulties. Examination of such difficulties is important given the variety of academic, emotional, and social consequences that they can impose. One such common problem is the tendency of children to pause while writing. Thus the objective of this study was to use a computerized digitizer system to examine the tendency of poor writers to pause while writing. Handwriting samples of varying type and length were collected from Grade 3 students, 50 of whom were proficient writers and 50 of whom were poor writers as judged by a questionnaire completed by the classroom teachers and verified by the Hebrew Handwriting Evaluation. Analysis indicated that the so-called pauses are not stationary breaks between the writing of successive segments because letters and words were usually associated with considerable movement of the pen above the writing surface. This In Air writing occurred with significantly greater frequency for poor writers than for the proficient writers in most handwriting tasks. The results suggest possible underlying perceptual-motor difficulties, which could be considered when planning effective handwriting interventions.
Published in: Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2003, 96 (3), 933-954.