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Developmental aspects of handwriting acquisition Michael John Allen A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement of Staffordshire University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Submitted March 2010 Resubmitted August 2011

Allen, Michael John (2011) Developmental aspects of handwriting acquisition Michael John Allen A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement of Staffordshire University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Submitted March 2010 Resubmitted August 2011. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

Abstract

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.

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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: Previous Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences > Sciences
Depositing User: Linda FRADLEY
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 13:58
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2015 14:14
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1974

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