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Dysgraphic Handwriting Development and Inclusive Education: The Role of Interdisciplinary Counseling

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DOI: 10.4236/jss.2015.38003    3,162 Downloads   3,966 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

With “inclusive education” in the Dutch school system in mind, a new interdisciplinary counseling was conceptualized. Failing handwriting development in Grade 1 was scrutinized to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary counseling. The development of two children with dysgraphic handwriting was followed in Grade 1, 2 and 3, and contrasted with the general results of their classmates. Teachers, pediatric physical therapists and psychologist used a combination of hand-writing, literacy and kinematic measures for assessment and interdisciplinary counseling for diagnosis and decisions on treatment for the two children with dysgraphic handwriting development. For handwriting speed and quality, standardized test scores were used, for spelling and reading, measures from the school following system were extracted. A motoric loop-writing task was used to explore non-linguistic motor development. For the two dysgraphic boys, a combination of handwriting assessment, kinematic assessment, and reading and writing capacities seems to be a sound foundation for interdisciplinary counseling. Dyslectic development proved to be easier to differentiate than visual motor learning disorders. The handwriting test we used (BHK), can distinguish dysgraphia in general by low scores on quality, whereas the handwriting speed might be informative for developmental dyslexia. Speed and spelling combinations are distinctive for developmental dyslexia, but not so for visuo-spatial learning disorders (VSLD). Spatial accuracy in a non-linguistic task is also distinctive for dyslexia, especially in first and second grade, while VSLD cannot be distinguished by spatial accuracy in a non-linguistic task. Our conclusion is that, if obvious measures for remediation of dysgraphic development are insufficient, psychological assessment is imperative for defining underlying disorders. Tacit knowledge and practical experience in teachers as well as theoretical and practical knowledge of the pediatric physical therapist, together with solid diagnosis to define constraints for treatment procedures, are needed to start the process of inclusive education in elementary schools.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Bosga-Stork, I. , Bosga, J. and Meulenbroek, R. (2015) Dysgraphic Handwriting Development and Inclusive Education: The Role of Interdisciplinary Counseling. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 35-47. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.38003.

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