Anna is a Professor in Psychology at the Centre for Psychological Research, Oxford Brookes University, with expertise in the area of developmental assessment. Much of Anna’s research is in the area of motor development and disorders, particularly Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). She has published widely on the assessment, diagnosis and understanding of DCD. Anna also has a particular interest in writing and handwriting. She is the principal author of the DASH, DASH17+ and Handwriting Legibility Scale and has conducted research to better understand the writing and handwriting difficulties of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, including those with DCD and Dyslexia.
Difficulties in producing legible handwriting at sufficient speed can hamper progress and lead to under achievement. In UK schools, when difficulties are significant, students may be granted accommodations in normal class work and written examinations, such as allowing typing and use of a word processor. However, little is known about how teachers assess and support handwriting and typing in secondary school. Furthermore, there is a lack of research to support decision-making in relation to whether to, how to and/or when to recommend typing as an accommodation. We have surveyed school teachers and school Occupational Therapists to gain their views on current policy and practice in this area, to help inform future decision-making. We also asked students themselves about their experiences of handwriting and typing in school. Findings from our surveys will be reported to indicate the current status of handwriting and typing in secondary schools in England. The frequency and range of responses on aspects of school policy and practice will help to identify future training and support needs for students and teachers. Recommendations for improving aspects of the teaching and assessment for handwriting and typing will be suggested, with a focus on how best to make decisions about the implementation of writing accommodations for those with writing difficulties.