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Dr Mellissa Prunty

Dr Mellissa Prunty
Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

Mary Seacole 301

Grants

Development of a Wheelchair Basketball Club at Brunel University London
Funder: Sport England
Duration: July 2015 -

This project has three main aims; to raise awareness of inclusive sport; encourage physical activity; promote inclusion across the University; and train future leaders in inclusive sport. The project includes the purchase of wheelchairs and the initial training required for the trainers.

Research project(s) and grant(s)

Handwriting difficulties in children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)

Supervisory team: Prof. Anna Barnett (Director of Studies), Dr. Kate Wilmut and Dr. Mandy Plumb.

Children with DCD are often reported to have handwriting that is slow, difficult to read and sometimes painful to produce. This can lead to problems at school as written work is required in everyday class work and in most examinations. Children who struggle to keep up or whose writing cannot be easily read are at a disadvantage and may fail to reach their full potential. Surprisingly little is known about the nature of handwriting difficulties in DCD, leaving health and educational professionals baffled by how best to support these children in school. Mellissa's research focuses on working to provide a better description of the handwriting difficulties seen in this group, together with an understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

Using carefully selected tools Mellissa assesses handwriting in terms of speed and legibility of performance through the use of digitizing writing tablets, which record the precise movements of the pen, to examine more detailed aspects such as pause times and exactly how letters are formed. She is also interested in evaluating the usefulness of specific clinical tools used to assess handwriting difficulties, particularly in the area of visual-perceptual skill. She incorporates a holistic view of the task, taking into account teacher assessments of handwriting as well as the child’s own views.

PhD Awards

2013: Best Research Student Paper Award at the International Graphonomics Society Conference in Nara, Japan, June 2013.

2013: COT International Travel Award (£1000) to attend and present at DCD-X International conference on Developmental Coordination Disorder in Ouro Preto, Brazil in June 2013.

2013: Ahmed Al-Qahtani / Nigel Groome Award (£400 & academic trip to Saudi Arabia) for best academic poster at Postgraduate Research Symposium for ‘Handwriting Difficulties in children with DCD - Are they really slower?’

2012: Ahmed Al-Qahtani / Nigel Groome Award (£400) for best oral presentation at Postgraduate Research Symposium for ‘Handwriting Difficulties in children with DCD’

2012: Oxford Brookes University graduate school on line conference Award for best academic poster for ‘Handwriting Difficulties in children with DCD’

2011: European COST Training School Travel Award (€500) to attend "Mastering Eye and Pen software for studying handwriting in real time", Poitiers, France