The effectiveness of a multisensory writing program in improving cursive writing ability in children with sensorimotor difficulties
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It is estimated that five to ten percent of children experience sensory motor difficulties that result in various learnlng disabilitiies , among them. inabllity to output Information on paper in the appropriate manner (Ayres ,1985). The relationship between sensorimotorabillty and handwriting is well documented in the literature (Freeman,1917; Townsend , 1951; Nlkola-Ll sa, 1987). While much of the literature is inconclusive, there are findings to suggest that muitisensory handwriting programmes are an effective approach to improvlng writing abIlity in these chlldren. For a number of years, Occupational Therapists have been involved in the remediation of handwriting utllizing , amongst other approaches . multisensory programmes. While subjective assessments of effectiveness have been extremerly positive. scientIfic evaluation has been minimal . If further intervention in this area is to occur, it Is essential that the profession be able to justify the existence of such programmes . The purpose of this study was to examine what effects a multlsensory writing prog~am would have on the curslve writing ability of chlldren with sensorimotor dlfficulties. A single case with multiple baselines across be havlours design was used , with the behavlours being cursive writing abilIty of fIve distInct letter groups. The fIve groups were taught in random order, one group every two weeks , In a one-hour session. Repeated measurements of writing speed and qualIty for each letter group were made. This design was repeated over three other cases . Results of the study yielded statistical signifi cance in trend changes In specIfic letter groups for all of the chlldren following interventlon. One child achieved statistical significance In the overall change In quality , while none of the children achieved overall statistical significance In speed score changes . Teacher reports and an assessment of written language prior to and following the program suggest that Intervention may have had a positive effect on self-confidence in written output, and on the maturlty of written expression in some of the cases . Further research in this field is needed to validate the continual use of multisensory writing programmes by Occupational Theraplsts worklng with this specific population and to provide some directlon with regards to the Integration of multlsensory writing programmes within the regular academic remedial programme .