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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2005 Mar;47(3):163-70.

Handwriting performance in preterm children compared with term peers at age 6 to 7 years.

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  • 1Rehabilitation Science, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. kfeder@cyberus.ca

Abstract

Preterm infants are at high risk for developmental impairments at school age. However, the impact of these impairments on important life skills, such as handwriting, is unknown. Forty-eight first-grade children (27 males, 21 females; mean age 6y 7mo, SD 3.9mo; range 6y 1mo to 7y 3mo) born preterm (birthweight < 1250g; gestational age < 34wks), without major physical or cognitive disabilities, were matched to 69 healthy, term control children (32 males, 37 females; mean age 6y 10mo, SD 3.6mo; range 6y 3mo to 7y 4mo) by sex and school class. All children were assessed using the Evaluation Tool of Children's Handwriting-Manuscript and several sensorimotor measures. Preterm children demonstrated significantly lower legibility and slower speed scores (p < 0.01) compared with control children for most of the handwriting tasks. Factors associated with legibility were visual perception and eye-hand coordination (r < 0.50; p < 0.05) and sex (r < 0.12; p = 0.01). In-hand manipulation and finger identification (r < 0.43; p < 0.01) were significantly correlated with slow handwriting speeds. Behaviour difficulties associated with hyperactivity and poor attention (Connors Abbreviated Symptoms Questionnaire) had a confounding influence on both legibility and speed. These findings may help guide early identification efforts and medical/therapeutic interventions for preterm children.

PMID:
15739720
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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