Movement Issues Identified in Movement ABC2 Checklist Parent Ratings for Students with Persisting Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, and OWL LD and Typical Literacy Learners


  • Kathleen Nielsen University of Washington
  • Sheila Henderson University College London UK
  • Anna L. Barnett Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford , UK
  • Robert D. Abbott University of Washington
  • Virginia Berninger University of Washington



Movement, Literacy, ABC2, Parent Ratings, specific learning disabilities in Literacy


Movement, which draws on motor skills and executive functions for managing them, plays an important role in literacy learning (e.g., movement of mouth during oral reading and movement of hand and fingers during writing); but relatively little research has focused on movement skills in students with specific learning disabilities as the current study did. Parents completed normed Movement Assessment Battery for Children Checklist, 2nd edition (ABC-2), ratings and their children in grades 4 to 9 (M = 11 years, 11 months; 94 boys, 61 girls) completed diagnostic assessment used to assign them to diagnostic groups: control typical language learning (N = 42), dysgraphia (impaired handwriting) (N = 29), dyslexia (impaired word decoding/reading and spelling) (N = 65), or oral and written language learning disability (OWL LD) (impaired syntax in oral and written language) (N = 19). The research aims were to (a) correlate the Movement ABC-2 parent ratings for Scale A Static/Predictable Environment (15 items) and Scale B Dynamic/ Unpredictable Environment (15 items) with reading and writing achievement in total sample varying within and across different skills; and (b) compare each specific learning disability group with the control group on Movement ABC-2 parent ratings for Scale A, Scale B, and Scale C Movement-Related (Non-Motor Executive Functions, or Self-Efficacy, or Affect) (13 items). At least one Movement ABC-2 parent rating was correlated with each assessed literacy achievement skill. Each of three specific learning disability groups differed from the control group on two Scale A (static/predictable environment) items (fastens buttons and forms letters with pencil or pen) and on three Scale C items (distractibility, overactive, and underestimates own ability); but only OWL LD differed from control on Scale B (dynamic/unpredictable environment) items. Applications of findings to assessment and instruction for students ascertained for and diagnosed with persisting specific learning disabilities in literacy learning, and future research directions are discussed.

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Author Biographies

Kathleen Nielsen, University of Washington

staff psychologist during grant period for submission


first author

Sheila Henderson, University College London UK

Professor Emeritus Psychology and Human Development UCL Institute of Education University College London UK

second author

Anna L. Barnett, Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford , UK



third author

Robert D. Abbott, University of Washington

Professor Educational Measurement and Statistics


fourth author

Virginia Berninger, University of Washington

Professor Emeritus, Educational Psychology 


Fifth and last author  (the system is not working for moving order of authorship).