Handwriting difficulties and their assessment in young adults with DCD : Extension of the DASH for 17-to 25-Year-Olds
Handwriting difficulties are common in children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and frequently continue into adulthood. In spite of increased computer use, handwriting remains an essential everyday life skill. The Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH) provides an objective measure of handwriting performance for students aged 9-16 years. No equivalent test for adults exists. The aim of this study is to explore developmental trends beyond the age of 16 on the five tasks included in the DASH and to describe the employment of these data in an extension of the test for 17-to 25-year-olds (DASH 17+). A case study is included to illustrate its use in the assessment of young adults with DCD. Three hundred and ninety-three students between the ages of 17 and 25 completed the test. The sample was selected to represent the population of UK students in post-16 education. Statistically significant, but overall modest developmental trends in handwriting performance were found for all tasks. Depending on the task, the year-on-year average increase in performance followed a linear or non-linear trend. Gender effects were generally small. DASH 17+ will provide useful information on any individual whose handwriting is causing concern, including those with, or suspected of having DCD.