Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Kinesthetics and Handwriting

Pediatric Physical Therapy published interesting research comparing 8 children with proficient handwriting and 8 children with non proficient handwriting. All of the children did not have a history of motor or cognitive issues. Each child was tested for kinesthetic sensitivity, discriminate tactile awareness, diadochokinesia, stereognosis, and graphesthesia. Following statistical analysis, the two groups did show a significant difference in handwriting legibility. The was no differences between the two groups in kinesthetic sensitivity or other measures of sensation.

Do you find this is true based on your experiences? I have found that children with poor kinesthetic awareness usually have motor skill delays include handwriting deficits. The researchers did conclude that a limitation of the study is the small sample size but it still makes you think...

Reference: Brink, Anne O'Leary PT; Jacobs, Anne Burleigh PT, PhD Kinesthetic Sensitivity and Related Measures of Hand Sensitivity in Children With Nonproficient Handwriting Pediatric Physical Therapy: Spring 2011 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 88–94
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e318208cc81

4 comments:

TherExtras said...

I have always loved that word: diadochokinesia - oh, have to admit, the absence of it makes for an even more interesting word - disdiadochokinesia.

Do you use the same measures of kinesthetic awareness as they used in this study? What the results imply to me (and the n is too small to extrapolate from) is that sensory awareness is less of a determinant in handwriting than central control (motor skill or output). As closely knit as the sensory and motor portions of the nervous system are, this study might show a distinction that is overlooked by therapists.

We are even for causing each other to think. ;)
Barbara

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

I agree the sample size is very small. But... let's say the results could be duplicated with a larger sample size. Does that mean that motor skills are the key component? If yes, does that mean we are back to practice, practice, and more practice of rote handwriting skills? Unfortunately, by the time this question gets answered in the research world, kids will only be typing, touching or texting...

TherExtras said...

Some parts of life do not wait for validation by research studies. #notaperfectworld Since we already know that practice is effective for 'most' for improving 'any' motor-skill-based task, the decision on how to address handwriting becomes, uhm, philosophical-? Or, why spend so much time on handwriting when use of computer technology can become functional so much quicker? A decision that is personal and individual and somehow must be agreed upon by parents, teachers and therapists. The lack of research - just one part of the picture.
Barbara

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Agreed - lack of research is one part of the picture. It is sometimes hard for me to swallow that our field is still "philosophical" like you said. I prefer black and white. Never going to happen though in any medical field. Maybe I should have become an engineer instead. haha!