Handwriting Delay in Dyslexia: Children at the End of Primary School Still Make Numerous Short Pauses When Producing Letters
Alamargot D, Morin MF, *Simard-Dupuis E. (2020). Handwriting Delay in Dyslexia: Children at the End of Primary School Still Make Numerous Short Pauses When Producing Letters. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 53(3): 1-13.
Developmental dyslexia is defined as a specific reading disorder but is also thought to be underpinned by a deficit in motor skills that may well affect handwriting performance. However, the results of studies addressing this issue are not consistent. The present study was, therefore, designed to better understand the functioning of handwriting in children with dyslexia, by conducting an analysis of the legibility and fluency of handwritten letters, supplemented by an assessment of motor skills. The performances of 15 children with dyslexia (Mage = 11.4 years) were compared with those of two groups of typically developing children, one matched for chronological age, the other for orthographic level (Mage = 8.7 years) on two handwriting measures (production of the letters of the alphabet and the child’s first name and surname). Results revealed a delay in motor skills, as well as in letter legibility, letter production duration, and the number of short pauses (i.e., lasting between 20 and 199 ms) made during letter production, in the children with dyslexia, with strong negative correlations between motor skills and the number of short pauses. Results are discussed in the context of handwriting control development in children, and perspectives are set out for practitioners.