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On the development of a computer-based handwriting assessment tool to objectively quantify handwriting proficiency in children

On the development of a computer-based handwriting assessment tool to objectively quantify handwriting proficiency in children

Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 104(3): E102-E111

Standardized writing assessments such as the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment (MHA) can inform interventions for handwriting difficulties, which are prevalent among school-aged children. However, these tests usually involve the laborious task of subjectively rating the legibility of the written product, precluding their practical use in some clinical and educational settings. This study describes a portable computer-based handwriting assessment tool to objectively measure MHA quality scores and to detect handwriting difficulties in children. Several measures are proposed based on spatial, temporal, and grip force measurements obtained from a custom-built handwriting instrument. Thirty-five first and second grade students participated in the study, nine of whom exhibited handwriting difficulties. Students performed the MHA test and were subjectively scored based on speed and handwriting quality using five primitives: legibility, form, alignment, size, and space. Several spatial parameters are shown to correlate significantly (p<0.001) with subjective scores obtained for alignment, size, space, and form. Grip force and temporal measures, in turn, serve as useful indicators of handwriting legibility and speed, respectively. Using only size and space parameters, promising discrimination between proficient and non-proficient handwriting can be achieved.

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Accession: 054735785

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PMID: 21376418

DOI: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2010.12.010

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