Journal Article

Handwriting production in Spanish children with dyslexia: Spelling or motor difficulties?


Spelling and handwriting are different processes; however, they are learned simultaneously, and numerous studies have shown that they interact. Besides the commonly reported presence of a spelling deficit, previous studies have indicated that handwriting difficulties can also be detected in children with dyslexia. Despite this, this issue has not been sufficiently explored. The goal of the study was to investigate the potential handwriting difficulties met by children with dyslexia and how they might relate to spelling difficulties and to basic graphic skills. Twenty children with dyslexia were compared with a chronological age-matched group and reading level-matched group. Participants completed a spelling-to-dictation task of words and pseudowords, an alphabet writing task, and two graphic tasks. Results showed that children with dyslexia were less accurate and slower in preparing and executing the written response than typically developing peers, but they showed the spelling level expected given their reading ability. Children with dyslexia also performed similarly to children with the same reading level in the alphabet and graphic tasks, with both groups being slower and less fluent than the control age group. Altogether, the results suggest the existence of a delay in the development of handwriting and graphic fluency related to the level of reading and spelling skills rather than the presence of a core deficit affecting fine motor skills in dyslexia. In this sense, it seems that reduced literacy skills can affect the development of other skills that are usually enhanced with handwriting practice, such as fine motor skills.

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Martínez-García, Cristina
Afonso, Olivia
Cuetos, Fernando
Suárez-Coalla, Paz

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-08-03

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