Activity: Talk or presentation › Oral presentation › -
Introduction Handwriting is a skill that children acquire at primary school to show what they are learning in all different school subjects. In this current time of computers, smartphones and tablets handwriting remains important in education because it is more than a means of expressing language. Learning handwriting has impact on cognition and is needed to learn spelling and reading. The time children spent handwriting in school has decreased over the last 20 years as technology has become more important in childhood education. However, primary school children still spend 18%-47% of classroom activities on prewriting and handwriting. In most western countries children of 5-6 years learn prewriting skills in kindergarten and they learn the mastery of handwriting in first grade. However, some children develop handwriting difficulties during their school career with prevalence between 6% and 33% in 6-12 old children. Persistent handwriting difficulties often have negative effects on a child’s self-esteem and school career. Identification of kindergarten children at risk of developing handwriting difficulties enables early intervention in this group to prevent handwriting difficulties and negative secondary effects in later grades.
Ecological assessment Therefore we developed an assessment: the Writing Readiness Inventory Tool In Context (WRITIC) to evaluate handwriting readiness in 5-6.5 years old children. The WRITIC is assessed in the normal school environment of the child and evaluates factors regarding the child, the environment, and the paper-and-pencil tasks. In previous studies is determined that the WRITIC is a valid, reliable, feasible and predictive assessment (1-3). We collected reference data in 374 children and cut-off points were established. The WRITIC is a decision-making tool to clarify, which children are at risk to develop handwriting difficulties. When children are not ready for handwriting according to WRITIC, intervention can be delivered preparing children for the mastery of handwriting and preventing handwriting difficulties in higher grades.