Liat Hen

liathenBOT, MSc, Doctoral Student in The department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Social
Welfare & Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel.

Occupational therapist, manager of the Department of Clinical Affiliation, B.A Coordinator
and Lecturer in the Department of Occupational therapy in Haifa
University.

Development of Theoretical Evaluation Model for Adolescents with Handwriting Difficulties (Dysgraphia): Body Function, Activity, Leisure participation, Quality of Life and the relationships between them

 

Abstract

Background
and Rationale

Writing is a complex
human skill that is a central and vital human occupation. Studies show that
during approximately half of the time spent by children and adolescents in
school, they are required to engage in tasks that involve writing. Since
writing is a complex skill whose success requires many basic, unimpaired
skills, difficulty in writing may stem from one or more deficits in these
abilities, which include executive functions, fine motor control, visuomotor integration,
bilateral integration, motor planning, in-hand manipulation,
kinesthesia, visual perception, memory, prolonged
attentional capacity, sensory arousal and so forth (Feder & Majnemer, 2007 ). As
aforesaid, the difficulty in writing may stem from a basic difficulty in any of these functions or from a difficulty in their integration and
therefore, treatment and intervention require a
customized program.

Literature has
shown that difficulties in writing have a long-term effect throughout and
beyond adolescence and the school years. Various models that deal with the
individual, his work and surroundings and the connection
between them enhance the view that writing difficulties could adversely affect the
adolescent's participation, his involvement and choice of leisure activities
and quality of life. Moreover, they may also affect his ability to set goals
both for higher education and employment options. Despite the obvious need to
collect data about the developmental and functional characteristics of
adolescents with writing difficulties and to characterize their difficulties,
focused research for gathering such data has not been found in published
studies.

The current research goals:
The goal of this study is to contribute to the composition of a well based,
comprehensive corpus of knowledge about the adolescent population with
handwriting difficulties and the characteristics of their participation in
leisure activities. Developmental and
functional characteristics applying to this group (developmental history,
demographic data, human factors and writing functions), to their occupations,
environs and measures connected to their participation and quality of life will
be examined through a wide collection of information, in terms taken from the
ICF model of personal characteristics (kinesthesia, visual perception capabilities,
in-hand manipulation, cognitive skills,
visual-motor organization and executive functions) and features of the activity of writing
(process, product and content).

One hundred and
twenty adolescents, male and female, aged 13-18 will participate in the study.
They will be sampled randomly in a convenience sample, while taking into
consideration age and gender representation. All participants will be Israeli
citizens who study in regular educational institutions, Hebrew speakers,
healthy (emotionally and physically), with normal sight and hearing.

The research
group will include 60
adolescents aged 13-18 who have studied in the Israeli school system from the
first grade, with handwriting difficulties according to self-reports, and whose
handwriting difficulties are reflected through their results in the Handwriting
Proficiency Screening Questionnaire [HPSQ]) (parents and adolescents), the
legibility of a page from a notebook, who have not been treated for handwriting
difficulties in the past and whose parents have given written consent for their
child's participation in the process. The control group will
include 60 adolescents aged 13-18 who have studied in the Israeli school system
from the first grade, without handwriting difficulties according to
self-reports, the HPSQ (parents and
adolescents) and based on a legibility test from a page in a notebook and
compared to the reading norms of the Israeli Handwriting Quality Diagnostics
for Junior High Schools, who have not been treated for handwriting difficulties
in the past, and whom, together with their parents, have given written consent
for participating in the process.