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Developmental aspects of handwriting acquisition

ALLEN, Michael J. (2011) Developmental aspects of handwriting acquisition. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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This research set out to examine the changes in handwriting in children from the earliest learning experiences at about five years old through to the time that they leave education in late adolescence. The aims were to explore the changes that occur in handwriting, both of features used and their variability, to establish when they occur and to determine what the consequences are for the process of individualisation. A coding scheme was devised that was used to establish detailed changes in feature use of particular letters in the handwriting of children. The scheme was tested and then revised to give a practical tool to use in the examination of large numbers of handwriting samples in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies that followed. In the cross-sectional study three handwriting tasks (normal composition, neat copying and fast copying) were completed by 144 participants from six different age groups. Firstly, the results showed that, there are underlying higher order dimensions of handwriting that emerge from some of the individual features. Secondly, across all tasks, the variability of handwriting increased from the younger children and peaked at about 10-11 years old and then decreased. Within this general trend, there was also evidence that writing faster than normal led to increased variability in letter formation for younger children, but reduced variability for older children. Thirdly, some individualisation was present even in the youngest children, but the extent of this increased such that by late adolescence it was nearly almost complete. In the longitudinal study handwriting samples from a smaller number of children were obtained over three years. The findings were similar to those obtained in the cross-sectional study. The implications of this for handwriting acquisition in particular and skill acquisition in general are considered. The research concludes that there is potential to extend the approach used in this research to clarify higher order dimensions of handwriting production, that the variability of handwriting is a good measure for determining handwriting development in children, that this variability increases up to the age of 10-11, and then declines, and that the handwriting of each child progressively develops its own style away from that of his or her peers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Faculty: PhD
Depositing User: Louise YARWOOD
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2014 14:32
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2014 14:32
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1880

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