Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Perceptual Reasoning and Handwriting

Neurology has published research on a small study consisting of 24 adolescents, half with autism and half without autism. Using the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment Test, intelligence test and Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle (Motor) Signs (PANESS), the researchers found that the adolescents with autism showed worse overall scores on handwriting just like younger children with autism exhibit. In addition, it was found that the perceptual reasoning skills were significantly predictive of handwriting skills where motor skills were not. One of the researchers, Dr. Bastian states:

“Our research suggests that adolescents with autism may be able to learn and utilize compensatory strategies that involve reasoning skills to compensate for their motor impairments.”

Perceptual reasoning is the ability to reason and solve problems when non verbal material is presented. Just like OT's offer environmental modifications for handwriting such as pencil grips remember to consider how the material to be written is presented. Try modifying the work to assist a student's perceptual reasoning by changing the font type or size, reorganizing material or reducing visual distraction on the page to name a few.

Kennedy Krieger Institute. New Study Affirms Handwriting Problems Affect Children with Autism into the Teenage Years. Retrieved from the web on 11/17/2010 from

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