Dysgraphia is a condition that makes writing difficult and  is referred to as disorder of written expression that is unrelated to a person’s intelligence.

What is Dysgraphia? Video link

Signs of Dysgraphia

The following is list symptoms of that can be observed in dysgraphia.  The list begins with young children’s signs and ends with symptoms you would see in teens.  These can often cross over.  Every person is different and most won’t have all of the following signs:

  • Awkward grip when holding a pencil/pen,
  • Avoidance of pre-writing activities,
  • Difficulty cutting,
  • Mix of upper and lower case letter (mix of cursive and manuscript),
  • General illegibility,
  • Hand fatigue when writing,
  • Poor use of the space on the paper  (larger margins or no margins),
  • Having a hard time choosing a dominate hand (a young student may switch from one hand to the other while they are writing with in the middle of a word),
  • Letters can be significantly varying in size and proportion in relation to one another,
  • Many misspelling in words,
  • Unfinished letters or words,
  • Omit words in a sentences,
  • Talks to self while writing,
  • Sometimes struggles with buttons and use of silverware,
  • Forms letters in an unconventional way,
  • Often has to “think” about what a letter looks like before they write it (after you would expect this developmental),
  • Writing fluency may be extremely compromised or they may write extremely fast (“so I don’t forget what I wanted to write”),
  • Takes a long time to do homework,
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech,
  • Trouble organizing thoughts on paper,
  • Can’t keep up taking notes in a lecture or writing down assignments,
  • Trouble keeping track of thoughts already written down,
  • Notes are often illegible and therefore useless for studing,
  • Unfinished words, letters, ending, omitted words,
  • Math problems are not in-line sometimes geometry (visual) is especially difficult,
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar.

Types of Dysgraphia

Susan Hutchinson in Handwriting Problem Solutions outlines various types of dysgraphia In children and young adults.  Types of dysgraphia include:

  • Dyslexic Dysgraphia a person’s spontaneously written work is illegible, copied work is pretty good, and spelling is bad. Finger tapping speed (a method for identifying fine motor problems) is normal. A Dyslexic Dysgraphic does not necessarily have Dyslexia. Dyslexia and Dysgraphia appear to be unrelated but often can occur together.
  • Motor Dysgraphia is due to deficient fine motor skills, poor dexterity, poor muscle tone, and/or unspecified motor clumsiness. Generally, written work is poor to illegible, even if copied by sight from another document. Letter formation may be acceptable in very short samples of writing, but this requires extreme effort, an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish and cannot be sustained for a significant length of time. Writing is often slanted due to holding a pen or pencil incorrectly. Spelling skills are not impaired. Finger tapping speed results are below normal.
  • Spatial Dysgraphia is due to a defect in the understanding of space. This person has illegible spontaneously written work, illegible copied work, but normal spelling and normal finger tapping speed. Students with Spatial Dysgraphia often have trouble keeping their writing on the lines and difficulty with spacing between words.
  • Phonological Dysgraphia is characterized by writing and spelling disturbances in which the spelling of unfamiliar words, non-words, and phonetically irregular words is impaired. Individuals with Phonological Dysgraphia are also unable to hold phonemes in memory and blend them in their appropriate sequence to produce the target word.


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