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Title: The relationship between poor handwriting and written composition in children with developmental coordination disorder
Author: Webb, Angela Mary
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2013
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Handwriting difficulties are well documented in children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Whether, and how, these difficulties affect the content of the work such children produce is less clear. The aim of this thesis was to explore the relationship between poor handwriting and the quality of written expression in these children, using different methodologies. Four studies are reported. In the first, a group of 10-11 year-old children whose teachers regarded their writing difficulties as "unexpected" were compared with matched controls. Objective measurement showed that they had at least average intelligence, could read and spell adequately and did not differ from the control group in their ability to produce stories orally. Consequently, the poor hand- and story writing revealed in the study could not be explained in terms of poor intellect or general language or literacy problems. However, all met criteria for the diagnosis of DCD. The second study confirmed that the physical act of handwriting supported the ability to compose a story in typically developing children but conferred no such advantage if handwriting and movement difficulties were present. When children from Study 1 were followed up after five years, those whose handwriting had not improved continued to have difficulty with written composition. Having shown that poor handwriting can affect the conceptual side of writing, the final study set out to determine which particular aspects of handwriting difficulty might constrain the cognitive resources available for composition. To this end, the effect of increasing motor and orthographic complexity on the spatial, temporal and force aspects of handwriting was explored in a series of writing tasks varying in content, length and difficulty. Consistent with the capacity theory tested, results showed that variations in motor and orthographic complexity affected writing performance in all children, but those with DCD and poor handwriting were affected more.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available