Effect of pencil grasp on the speed and legibility of handwriting after a 10-minute copy task in Grade 4 children
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AIM: To investigate the impact of common pencil grasp patterns on the speed and legibility of handwriting after a 10-minute copy task, intended to induce muscle fatigue, in typically developing children and in those non-proficient in handwriting. METHODS: A total of 120 Grade 4 students completed a standardised handwriting assessment before and after a 10-minute copy task. The students indicated the perceived difficulty of the handwriting task at baseline and after 10 minutes. The students also completed a self-report questionnaire regarding their handwriting proficiency upon completion. RESULTS: The majority of the students rated higher effort after the 10-minute copy task than at baseline (rank sum: P = 0.00001). The effort ratings were similar for the different grasp patterns (multiple linear regression: F = 0.37, P = 0.895). For both typically developing children and those with handwriting issues, the legibility of the writing samples decreased after the 10-minute copy task but the speed of writing increased. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: The quality of the handwriting decreased after the 10-minute copy task; however, there was no difference in the quality or speed scores among the different pencil grasps before and after the copy task. The dynamic tripod pencil grasp did not offer any advantage over the lateral tripod or the dynamic or lateral quadrupod pencil grasps in terms of quality of handwriting after a 10-minute copy task. These four pencil grasp patterns performed equivalently. Our findings question the practice of having students adopt the dynamic tripod pencil grasp.
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