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WINTER 2004-2005

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Researcher Develops Computerized Handwriting Evaluation System


Difficulty in handwriting—known as dysgraphia—affects an estimated 10%-34% of all elementary school children around the world.  Youngsters may now stand a better chance of overcoming this disability thanks to a special tool, the first of its kind anywhere, developed by a UH researcher

Dr. Sara Rosenblum of the Dept. of Occupational Therapy constructed software, known as POET, for use with an electronic writing board, known as a digitizer, that can document the writing act even when the child writes in the air, as well as on the special board.  The computerized system enables, for the first time, an objective look into the very complex world of handwriting.

When the system is used together with diagnostic tests, which provide a more subjective evaluation, the dysgraphic child can obtain a more reliable and comprehensive analysis of his or her problem.  The way is then clear to work on overcoming the problem.

Rosenblum, who tried out both her new computerized system and the combination of objective and subjective evaluation on two groups of Israeli third graders.  The 100 children, ages 8-9, were divided into those with and those not having writing difficulties.  The distinction was based on a questionnaire for teachers specially prepared for the study and on a standard diagnostic test for evaluating Hebrew handwriting.

The results, according to Rosenblum, “showed the advantages of combining the computerized system with components of subjective evaluation for understanding the process and the product of the handwriting of children.” 

The computerized system, she continued, documents “air time and length.”  This is the amount of time actual writing is not taking place on paper because the child has the pencil raised or the number of times the writer goes over a letter to write it better.  These elements have never before been documented accurately and objectively.  Dysgraphic children have difficulties with the speed and fluency of handwriting, as well as with reading.

The handwriting specialist is also working with other researchers on more sophisticated ways of analyzing data obtained from the evaluations.  Such computer analyses will then provide further information about a person’s motor and perception functioning, which handwriting is said to reflect.

The occupational therapist then wants to work out handwriting norms for various population and age groups.  The computerized system itself will enable a variety of applications in the fields of evaluation and treatment, such as early identification of writing difficulties in both children and adults

 

In This Issue:

President’s Focus
Continuity, Change, and Social Responsibility

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, a Former Negotiator, Reflects on Israel-Jordan Relations
at a Conference Here Marking a Decade of a Formal Peace
Former Jordanian Minister and Negotiator Heads Delegation from Jordan Here

Unique ‘Open Apartment’ Project Benefits Community and Students

University Obtains Its First Biotech Patent in the U.S.

Prof. Yossi Ben-Artzi Named Rector of the University

Prof. David Faraggi—Deputy Rector

What If a Tsunami Hit? First Program of Its Kind in Israel Dealing with Mass Disaster

Eskesta Success Continues

Student Builds Internet Site of Never-Recorded Israeli Army Songs

University Campus Gradually Becoming Wireless

Honors and Appointments

 

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