What Is Dysgraphia?
• Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects handwriting and fine motor skills.
• It interferes with spelling, word spacing, and the general ability to put thoughts on paper.
• It makes the process of writing laboriously slow, with a product that is often impossible to read.
• When the act of forming letters requires so much effort that a child forgets what he wanted to say in the first place, it’s not surprising that children with dysgraphia often hate to write, and resist doing so.
• Dysgraphia Symptoms Test for Children
• Dysgraphia Symptoms Test for Adults
Why Dysgraphia Diagnosis Is So Critical
The act of writing something down helps most of us to remember, organize, and process information, but children who struggle with the mechanics of writing learn less from assignments than do their peers. On top of that, when the physical act of writing is incredibly challenging, a child can’t effectively “show what he knows.” He may fail an exam simply because he can’t translate his thoughts and answers to paper. When a child encounters such classroom defeat frequently, especially in the early years of schooling, it doesn’t take long for academic discouragement to develop into a sense of inferiority that undermines all attempts to learn — and that often persists to adulthood if the dysgraphia is not caught and treated. This is just one reason why early evaluation and diagnosis is so critical — though a diagnosis can bring relief and progress at any age.
Dysgraphia is usually identified when a child learns to write, but it can remain hidden until adulthood, particularly in mild cases. Those with dysgraphia occasionally have trouble with other fine motor skills, like tying their shoes — but not always. In elementary school settings, it’s estimated that approximately 4 percent of children suffer from dysgraphia. By middle school — when the complexity of written assignments starts to increase dramatically — estimates can get as high as 20 percent. Common indicators of dysgraphia, at any age, include:
• Trouble forming letters or spacing words consistently
• Awkward or painful grip on a pencil
• Difficulty following a line or staying within margins
• Trouble with sentence structure or following rules of grammar when writing, but not when speaking
• Difficulty organizing or articulating thoughts on paper
• Pronounced difference between spoken and written understanding of a topic