There are many specific disorders that cause learning difficulties. Dysgraphia is a less well-known condition that can impact your child’s ability to learn.
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a neurological condition that affects written expression. Experts aren’t sure what causes it. It may present by itself or with other learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
Writing is a complex process, which requires a number of cognitive functions and motor skills. People with dysgraphia have trouble organising information that is stored in their memory and putting their thoughts into writing, even though they may speak fluently.
Signs of Dysgraphia
There are six categories of symptoms of dysgraphia. These are: visual-spatial, fine motor, language processing, spelling/handwriting, grammar and organisation of language.
Here are just some of the symptoms and signs:
- Unusual or poor pencil grip
- Awkward positioning of body, arm or paper while writing
- Illegible writing
- Reversal of letters
- Inconsistencies in writing such as mix of print and cursive, upper and lower case
- Inconsistent spacing and positioning of letters
- Omission or incomplete formation of words or letters
- Fatigue or pain in hand/arm during or after writing
- Loses train of thought
- Difficulty planning what to write or writing information in logical order
- Written work does not reflect oral ability
- Poor sentence structure, including use of grammar and punctuation.
The Understood website has a comprehensive breakdown of what dysgraphia looks like in children at different ages.
A school-based assessment may pick up learning difficulties in your child. However, a formal diagnosis of dysgraphia can only be given by a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist after specialised assessments.
Treatments and Support for Dysgraphia
There is no cure for dysgraphia but there are interventions and treatments that may assist.
Occupational Therapy can provide treatment and support through therapy approaches and aid devices.
School-based interventions can include additional time to complete assessments and alternatives to writing such as technology or providing verbal responses.
Without intervention and support, a child with dysgraphia may go on to have difficulties with academic performance, fine motor skills and self-esteem.