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Higher Risk for Poor Handwriting in Taiwanese Children Born Late Preterm

  • Yea-Shwu Hwang
    Affiliations
    Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 1 University Road, East District, Tainan City 701401, Taiwan
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  • Chih-Cheng Chen
    Affiliations
    Section of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital Kaohsiung Branch and Chang Gung University, College of Medicine, 123 Dapi Road, Niaosong District, Kaohsiung City 833401, Taiwan
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  • Hui-Ning Shih
    Affiliations
    Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 1 University Road, East District, Tainan City 701401, Taiwan
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  • Wen-Hui Tsai
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. . Division of Neonatology and Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, Chi Mei Medical Center Address: 901, Zhonghua Rd., Yongkang District, Tainan City 71004, Taiwan.
    Affiliations
    Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Chang Jung Christian University, 1 Changda Road, Gueiren District, Tainan City 711301, Taiwan

    Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Chi Mei Medical Center, 901 Zhonghua Rd., Yongkang District, Tainan City 71004, Taiwan
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Open AccessPublished:November 13, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedneo.2022.06.017
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      Abstract

      Background

      Late-preterm and early-term births constitute a significant proportion of live births. However, handwriting skills of these two populations remain unclear. We aimed to investigate their risk for poor Chinese handwriting in grade two.

      Methods

      In this observational study, 185 second graders born late preterm (34+0–36+6 weeks’ gestation, n = 54), early term (37+0–38+6 weeks’ gestation, n = 56), and full term (39+0–41+6 weeks’ gestation, n = 75) without any intervention or diagnosis related to developmental delays were included. Their handwriting performance was rated by class teachers using the Chinese Handwriting Evaluation Form (CHEF), which is a standardized handwriting scale including five handwriting dimensions (construction, accuracy, directionality, speed, and pencil grasp).

      Results

      After controlling for demographic risk factors, the late-preterm born group had a greater risk of having worse performance in the full form (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.93; p = .038) and construction dimension (aOR = 4.77; p = .009) of the CHEF than peers born at full term, whereas the risks were comparable for the early- and full-term born groups (aOR = .14–1.90; p = .073–.453 in the handwriting dimensions).

      Conclusions

      Late-preterm but not early-term born children were found to be at higher risk for poor Chinese handwriting in grade two. They particularly have difficulty with spatial construction including size, spacing, and alignment of Chinese characters and components that may influence handwriting legibility.

      Key Words