This article examines the relationship between writing and attention problems and hypothesizes that homophone spelling errors coincide with attention deficits. We analyze specific types of attention deficits, which may contribute to Attention Deficits Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); rather than studying ADHD, however, we focus on the inattention dimension of behavior. Our methodology was to develop a survey study for exploring the coincidence of homophone errors and attention problems in schoolchildren. Two sets of parent-questionnaires characterizing individually types of Chinese handwriting errors and behavioral problems in schoolchildren were developed by the research team. Our participants were 491 Taiwanese children from the first to fifth grades in an elementary school in Taipei; they all used traditional Chinese as their primary written language of communication. Based on the ratings of the parent-questionnaires, two groups with proficient and non-proficient homophonic writing were formed. One consisted of children known to have made heterographic homophone errors (words with correct pronunciation but different spellings). The other (control group) consisted of children known to be proficient in Chinese homophone spellings. In each group, there were 54 boy and girl pupils, matched by gender, age, school and grade. A significant correlation was found between attention deficits and homophone errors. This survey study confirms our hypothesis and strengthens a currently underdeveloped theory in the literature of handwriting that attention impairments play an important role in the production of homophone errors.
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