Open Access Capstone
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Background: Formal handwriting instruction, using evidence-based, developmentally appropriate handwriting programming, in school based occupational therapy is necessary to support the role of a student. Handwriting is an occupation of children in the school environment. Without formal handwriting instruction in place there is evidence to support occupational therapy intervention providing a handwriting program can improve handwriting success.
Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to determine the clinical efficacy of a hybrid approach to handwriting instruction pairing the Handwriting Without Tears and Orton-Gillingham instructional programming for prewriting and handwriting skills in the kindergarten population. The research question addressed is: Will a hybrid intervention approach and collaborative efforts of the occupational therapist with the classroom teacher be effective in producing better handwriting outcomes vs. the traditional approach in the classroom setting?
Theoretical Framework. The Model of Human Occupation guided this research to understand volition and environmental factors of teachers, students, and parents to determine the extent in which these factors influence the occupational change.
Methods. A quantitative pretest/posttest design was utilized for this study. The Screener of Handwriting Proficiency-Kindergarten was administered pre and post, to a convenience sampling of kindergarten students to establish a baseline of prewriting and handwriting skills, followed by direct intervention each week and home reinforcement ideas for the parents to utilize. Several times weekly, the occupational therapist collaborated with the classroom teacher regarding needs and progress of students.
Results. The results revealed an extra-large effect size noted for both groups in the area of letter memory. For students with IEPs there was an extra-large effect size for letter memory and medium effect size for letter placement and size. Based on the data analysis of the pretest and posttest screeners it was determined that statically significant changes were not seen overall in this study. Despite not achieving statically significance there were clinically relevant changes noted via clinical observation in students writing outcomes.
Conclusions: Positive clinical outcomes were seen as a result of this study for children with IEPs within the intervention group, as well as positive teacher and student interactions with the OT. This study has opened the door for more open communication and changes for the school districts attention to handwriting instruction. Teachers across the district have also begun to inquire about handwriting instruction strategies; based on such a high request the district has asked the OT department to develop and present a professional development for our teachers at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
Julie Duckart, Ph.D., OTR/L
Jennifer Hight, OTD, OTR/L
2021 Merry Grace Harper
Harper, Merry G., "EFFECTIVENESS OF COLLABORATIVE HANDWRITING CURRICULUM: HANDWRITING WITHOUT TEARS AND ORTON-GILLINGHAM, IN KINDERGARTEN CLASSROOM SETTING." (2021). Occupational Therapy Doctorate Capstone Projects. 84.
IRB Approval Number (if applicable)
Research Protocol Number #4221
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Elementary Education and Teaching Commons, Occupational Therapy Commons, Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education Commons, Special Education and Teaching Commons