Parents as Teachers: Toward Improving the Print Handwriting of Adolescents with Autism



Genarro, Tamara J

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The purpose of this dissertation was to determine if parent-mediated handwriting instruction using behavioral principles and procedures with components of the Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum would increase acquisition of pencil grip, posture, writing position, orientation, placement, size, start, sequence, control, legibility, and spacing for adolescents with autism. Previous research indicates that individuals with autism often demonstrate significant delays in motor control, visual perception, and kinesthesia that may contribute to illegible and inefficient handwriting; parents can be effective teachers to their children after receiving sufficient quality instruction; and handwriting is a functional skill that improves academic achievement for the child and quality of life for both the child and the child’s family. Data were collected on 80-100 sessions across four phases (Baseline, Acquisition, Maintenance and Generalization) within a multiple-baseline design across the behaviors including pencil grip, posture, and paper position, and four letter sets. Three 3 adolescents with autism participated in the instruction and data collection sessions conducted within their homes. A gradual increase in each handwriting dimension was anticipated for the adolescents with autism. The results of this study indicated that legibility increased, the rate of legibility acquisition appeared to increase across all three subjects.



Autism, Writing without tears, Applied behavior analysis, Parent as teacher, Single subject design multiple baseline, Handwriting