Handwriting skill in children with specific language impairment

Report
Children challenged by writing:
The handwriting execution speed of
children with specific language
impairment (SLI)
Vince Connelly, Julie Dockrell
Sarah Critten & Kirsty Walter
Supported by the Leverhulme Trust and ESRC
Specific Language Impairment
• Occurs in the absence of any organic, social or
cognitive causes.
 Specific problems or disorders in comprehending or producing
speech and a delayed learning of language
 Problems associated with limited processing, grammar,
phonology & the lexicon
• Criteria for diagnosis focuses on: Performance on a language test which is below the child’s
chronological age
 Discrepancy between the child’s language skills and their nonverbal abilities
SLI and writing
•
Children with SLI produce shorter, less interesting and poorly
organized text at the sentence, paragraph and text level (Connelly,
Dockrell & Barnett, 2011; Hooper et al, 2002).
•
Texts marred by inordinate numbers of spelling and grammatical
errors (Dockrell, Lindsay & Connelly, 2009; Puranik, Lombardino &
Altmann, 2007; MacArthur and Graham,1987).
•
An important early indication of writing difficulties is the low amount of
written text produced under timed conditions, and this correlates with
the quality of written expression in the primary years (Dockrell,
Lindsay & Connelly, 2009; Dockrell & Mackie, 2004; Connelly,
Dockrell & Barnett, 2011).
Simple developmental
model of writing
Modification of the simple view of writing in Berninger and Amtmann (2003).
Participants
Specific language impairment (SLI)
N = 33 with a specific language impairment
Primary/elementary school 10.1 years old
Significant gap between language and non-verbal ability
Literacy difficulties – including reading, spelling and text production
Age Match - matched on chronological age (CA)
N = 33 Typically Developing
Primary school 10.1 years old
Language Ability Match - matched on CELF (LA)
N = 33 Typically Developing
No significant differences in non-verbal ability standard score
Significantly younger, Primary school 8.2 years old
5 minute writing task (CBM) SLI
Writing Task – Recorded on a digital writing tablet using “Eye & Pen”
“One day I had the best weekend ever…”
‘Execution speed’ = the distance covered by the pen /
by the time spent writing on the paper (excluding pausing)
Composition Measures
SLI Study
SLI (n=33)
Age Match
(n=33)
Language Match
(n=33)
Time taken (mins)
4.71 (0.73)
5.00 (0.34)
4.95 (0.31)
CA=LA>SLI
Number of words
52.0 (25.7)
76.4 (20.2)
51.7 (19.2)
CA>SLI=LA
Compositions Quality
Rating (0-6)
2.42 (1.03)
4.23 (1.1)
2.73 (1.07)
CA>SLI=LA
5.1 (3.9)
2.4 (1.9)
5.7 (3.9)
CA<SLI=LA
10%
3%
11%
Spelling errors
• SLI are writing less and for a slightly shorter amount of time than CA.
• SLI and LA matched for composition quality rating
• SLI more misspellings than CA; no significant difference between SLI & LA
Connelly, Dockrell, Walter & Critten (2012) Written Communication.
5 minute writing task (CBM) SLI
Writing Task – Recorded on a digital writing tablet using “Eye & Pen”
“One day I had the best weekend ever…”
‘Execution speed’ = the distance covered by the pen /
by the time spent writing on the paper (excluding pausing)
Temporal Measures
Composition Task
SLI Study
SLI
Age-matched
Language-match
Words per min
11.0
15.2
10.4
Execution speed (cm/s)
2.37
2.57
1.93
Pause %
60%
49%
56%
Writing %
40%
51%
44%
Of total time:
• No significant difference between the handwriting execution of SLI and CA
• More pausing associated with misspelling in SLI and LA match groups.
Handwriting and composition
Dockrell et al. (2007)
WOLD composition task Z Scores over time
Age 11 to Age 16 in children with SLI
Handwriting fluency
scores on the alphabet
task at age 16
predicted the decrease
in WOLD composition
scores.
The less fluent the
handwriter then the
more likely to show a
decrease in
composition over time.
Alphabet Writing Task
• Common measure of handwriting speed.
• Are the children with SLI slow handwriters?
• Write out the letters of the alphabet, in sequence, as
quickly as possible in one minute.
• Measure of number of letters associated with quality
of compositions in many reported studies.
11
Temporal Measures
DASH -Alphabet Task
SLI Study
SLI
Age-matched
Language-match
Letters per min
26.3
46.5
28.9
Execution speed (cm/s)
3.1
3.0
2.3
Pause %
37%
26%
40%
Writing %
63%
74%
60%
Of total time:
• No significant difference between the handwriting execution of SLI and CA
Connelly, Dockrell, Critten & Walter (2012) In preparation
Summary
• No difference in handwriting execution speed between SLI
Group and Age Match peers suggests that motor skills are
not hindering handwriting execution in SLI at age 10.
• Pausing is the key difference even in the alphabet task.
• Pausing patterns are related to misspelling words in text
• Quality and quantity of composition is linked with spelling
ability levels.
• Similar proportions of pause time between SLI Group and
Language Match group suggest Language/Spelling skills
hindering writing proficiency.
Summary
Thus, though SLI group and language ability match
produce the same amount of written output the
causes are different….
• Language Ability matched (but typically
developing) children are actually slower at
handwriting execution.
• SLI group are faster at handwriting execution but
pause for longer and so write less overall than
children of the same age.
Simple developmental
model of writing
Modification of the simple view of writing in Berninger and Amtmann (2003).

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