Clarification of Answer by
11 Nov 2003 05:14 PST
With respect to writing, the following problems can occur, as listed
in ?Effects of learning disability on study? ( NSW Disabilities
Co-Operative Project and the University of Western Sydney)
Reversal or rotation of letters, so that the child gets confused
between p and q or between b and d, for example. The same can happen
with numbers, eg between 5 and 2, 9 and 6.
Whole words can also be reversed, so that the child sometimes produces
Also, words that look similar can be confused and used in place of each other.
The child will also have problems recognising spacing between words
and so jumble all the words together. The second illustration on the
following web page from TherapyWorks shows one such example from a
With respect to drawing, there will be problems in copying or in
producing a defined pattern. For example, here is part of an exchange
in an open Yahoo Group:
?When students are using graphic organizers they should always draw
their own. That is part of the critical thinking we are making
And the reply:
?I agree to a point. Generally my students draw their own, however I
have some students that get caught up in the idea of drawing the boxes
and spend that much less time on content. At these times I like to use
a premade organizer. I also have a student that has great difficulty
with visual/spatial perception. It is virtually impossible for him to
draw his own, though he does try.?
There is a genetic condition known as Williams Syndrome, in which
linguistic ability is preserved but visual spatial abilities are
deficient. I have found the following article published in
Developmental Neuropsychology, 2000 Vol 18(2), pp. 213?235
?Drawing Abilities in Williams Syndrome: A Case Study? by Joan Stiles
of the Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San
Diego and Letizia Sabbadini, Olga Capirci,, Virginia Volterra of the
Institute of Psychology, Italian National Research Council, Rome.
Here are some relevant extracts from the article, but it might be
useful to look at the article itself since this includes samples of
drawing by a WS child and by children of normal development:
?Drawings by subjects withWS often seem to lack in cohesion or gestalt
organization. That is, a drawing of a house might include windows, a
door and a roof, but these parts would not be in the correct
relationship to each other.?
?Despite the extreme delay in drawing skill evidenced by the 9-and
10-year-olds with WS, the developmental course of drawing was the same
for children with WS and normally developing children. In addition,
results of their study reveal substantial variability in drawing
ability for WS children. Some children were able to produce integrated
geometric figures and organized, recognizabledrawings. Other children
were unable to complete simple geometric shapes
and to draw any recognizable objects.?
?At the age of 5 years, 11 months, Elisa was again tested on the VMI.
Her circle was somewhat distorted but qualified as an accurate circle.
Her square was irregularly shaped and not clearly composed of four
distinct sides. . . . . By the age of 4 years, 6 months, 50%
of normally developingchildren produce squares with four clearly
defined sides . . . . Elisa also had difficulty accurately reproducing
the lines in their correct orientation.For both the plus sign and the
X, she produced a plus sign. For her triangle, she drew an ?A,? which
was one of the letters she had worked on during training.?
The main conclusions were:
?First, Elisa was clearly delayed in the development of copying and
drawing.These delays were evident throughout copies and drawings in
the corpus data, but they were much more pronounced in her form and
house drawings than in her drawings of humans. Elisa showed
consistent, indeed increasing deficits, on the VMI. At the age of 4
years, 9 months, she was 22 months behind her CA, and by 6 years, 7
months, she was 33 months delayed.?
The second major finding is related to the rate of improvement . . . .
One notable feature of the drawing corpus was the slow rate of change
in Elisa?s drawings. This protracted pattern of development was
observed across the set of drawing tasks available from the corpus
including spontaneous drawing of houses and, to a lesser extent,
people and the copying data collected on the VMI. On the VMI, Elisa?s
mastery of individual forms typically lagged months behind the
normative estimates.In the drawing data, specific features introduced
during therapy often took
months to be fully incorporated into the drawing routine. Thus, the
observed profileof delay is related to rate as well as onset of
?When asked to draw possible and impossible houses, Elisa produced
very similar drawings, and
then she provided a verbal description of why the second house was
impossible. This suggests that she did understand the task, but had
difficulty altering the configural composition of the house to produce
something impossible. This result suggests that Elisa was reliant on a
particular graphic formula for drawing houses.?