Evaluating Chinese Handwriting Performance of Primary School Students Using the Smart Handwriting Analysis and Recognition Platform (SHARP) - Abstract
Background: Handwriting is one of the fundamental skills for school-aged children, and it is an intricate and interacting process. An innovative computerized handwriting assessment system, the Smart Handwriting Analysis and Recognition Platform (SHARP) was used to provide a comprehensive and quantitative analysis of Chinese handwriting performance and identify children with handwriting difficulties objectively, accurately, and efficiently. Aims/Objectives: The purpose of this study is to provide quantitative data on children’s Chinese handwriting process and products using SHARP; to investigate the handwriting difficulties in children with neurodevelopmental problems, and to explore the associations between handwriting and sensorimotor performance, including fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, visual-motor integration, and oculomotor proficiency. Material and Methods: Typically developing students and students with neurodevelopmental problems were recruited through teachers and therapists from six primary schools in Hong Kong. SHARP and tests of sensorimotor skills were performed. Results: The quantitative analysis using the SHARP system showed a progressive developmental change in handwriting performance among the typically developing children at their primary education. There were also significant differences between the typically developing students group and those with neurodevelopmental problems, both in handwriting speed and writing errors. Significant associations between the handwriting process parameters and fine motor skills were identified, while handwriting product parameters were closely correlated with visual-perceptual skills of these typical developing students. Conclusions and Significance: SHARP appears to provide a comprehensive, quantitative and objective evaluation of students’ handwriting performances, thus assisting both teachers and parents in comparing students’ performance objectively, thus identifying students with handwriting difficulties as early as P1 level. It was observed that handwriting performance has strong relationships with young children’s visual perceptual skills and fine motor skills. The findings could help to facilitate early intervention for those students with handwriting problems.