OBJECTIVE. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two interventions (sensorimotor and therapeutic practice) on handwriting and selected sensorimotor components in elementary-age children.
METHOD. Thirty-eight children 6 to 11 years of age with handwriting dysfunction but no identified educational need were randomly assigned to one of the two intervention groups or a control group. Intervention groups met four times per week over 5 weeks. Handwriting was measured pre- and postintervention using the Test of Handwriting Skills. Visual perception (motor-reduced), visual-motor integration, proprioception, and in-hand manipulation were also measured.
RESULTS. Children receiving therapeutic practice moderately improved handwriting whereas children receiving sensorimotor intervention declined in handwriting performance. The control group did not change significantly. Sensorimotor impairment was noted at pretest in three or four components and selected sensorimotor component function improved with intervention.
CONCLUSION. Therapeutic practice was more effective than sensorimotor-based intervention at improving handwriting performance. Children who received sensorimotor intervention improved in some sensorimotor components but also experienced a clinically meaningful decline in handwriting performance.