Knowledge about the handwriting performance characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is scarce, despite this skill’s importance for their academic and social participation. The objective was to compare the handwriting process and product characteristics of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) to those of typically developing children to determine the best means of differentiation between the groups. Participants were 60 children, aged 9–12 years; 30 of them were diagnosed with HFASD, and 30 were aged and gender-matched typically developed controls. All participants performed three graded writing tasks on an electronic tablet, which is part of a computerized handwriting evaluation system (ComPET). Their paragraph copying product was then evaluated using the Hebrew Handwriting Evaluation (HHE). Significantly inferior handwriting performance among children with HFASD was found in both handwriting process and product measures. Significant correlations between these measures, supplemented with discriminant analysis and regression analysis results, emphasize unique handwriting performance dynamics among children with HFASD. Evaluation of the characteristics of both the handwriting process and product of children with HFASD may provide a more comprehensive picture of individual deficits. Identifying performance features may lead to more focused and adapted intervention and enhancement of school participation among these children.
Published in: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2016, 23, 235-244.