Arm trajectories and writing strategy in healthy children

Matteo Chiappedi, Rosella Togni, Elisabetta De Bernardi, Ilaria M C Baschenis, Sara Battezzato, Umberto Balottin, Elena D. Toffola, Maurizio Bejor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Evaluation of elementary writing skills in children is usually obtained with high resolution (and high cost) techniques or with low resolution pen-and-paper tests. In this observational study we tested a quantitative method to obtain normative data to describe arm movement during a writing precursor gesture.Methods: We recruited 226 healthy children (mean age 9,1 years [range: 6.3 - 11.4 years]), attending primary schools belonging to the " Istituto Comprensivo" of Rivanazzano Terme (Pavia). We asked to drive a cursor through a polygonal path (labyrinth) projected in front of them using a wireless mouse. Dartfish™ video analysis software was used to elaborate images and Excel™, MedCalc™ and Statistica 7™ to analyze values of shoulder, elbow and wrist ranges of motion, arm trajectories, execution times and gesture accuracy.Results: Differences seen in motor strategies, when divided according to attended class, suggest a proximal-distal maturation of motor control. Obtained values were not significantly correlated with variables such as gender, ethnicity or cognitive functioning.Conclusions: This type of approach to a study of arm movement during childhood represents a valid alternative to other tests, considering that it can differentiate children who perform similarly in the VMI test and is non-invasive, low-cost and easily reproducible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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