A Survey to investigate how South African Occupational Therapists in private practice are assessing and treating poor handwriting in foundation phase learners: Part One - Demographics and Assessement Practices

Joanne van der Merwe, Neeltje Smit, Betsie Vlok


Poor handwriting can have a myriad of negative effects on a learner’s academic performance and emotional well-being. Appropriate assessment and early remediation of handwriting difficulties are of paramount importance in minimising these effects.

 This study explored, by means of a telephonic survey, the assessment practices used by South African occupational therapists in the remediation of handwriting difficulties in Foundation Phase learners. The findings show that a wide variety of informal and formal assessment methods are used. With regards to standardised performance component assessments, the Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI) and the Developmental Test of Visual Perception-2nd edition (DTVP-2) were the preferred assessment tools. The limited use of standardised handwriting assessments is an area of concern in the light of the importance attached to providing objective evidence of the benefit of intervention on functional skills. Use of the DTVP-2 for handwriting referrals may need to be reviewed as available research has shown no significant correlation between handwriting ability and Perceptual Quotient scores on the DTVP. 

 KEYWORDS: Assessment, Foundation Phase, Handwriting

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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