View Full Version : What is Dysgraphia?

03-22-03, 03:35 PM
Here's an excellent article describing dysgraphia, along with some strategies.

06-17-06, 08:09 PM
thanks for the info ive looked aT IT DORM

10-19-07, 09:49 PM
would you mind reposting it the link will not go through gor me :(

10-19-07, 10:03 PM
Sorry, but that article has since been removed.

Here's a good description from Wikipedia:

Dysgraphia (or agraphia) is a deficiency in the ability to write, regardless of the ability to read, not due to intellectual impairment. People with dysgraphia often can write on some level, but often lack co-ordination, and may find other fine motor tasks such as tying shoes difficult. It often does not affect all fine motor skills. They can also lack basic spelling skills (having difficulties with p,q,b,d), and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate thoughts (on paper). In childhood, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words despite thorough instruction. Children with the disorder may have other learning disabilities; however, they usually have no social or other academic problems. Cases of dysgraphia in adults generally occur after some neurological trauma or it might be diagnosed in a person with Tourette syndrome, ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder such as Asperger's. The DSM IV identifies dysgraphia as a "Disorder of Written Expression" as "writing skills (that) ...are substantially below those expected given the person's ...age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education."

The Cause

The cause of dysgraphia is unknown but whenever it occurs in an adult, it is usually caused by head trauma, some types of diseases or brain damage. When it is found in children there is a tendency for there to be multiple dysgraphics in his or her family. A parent or close relative of the child tend to also show signs of dysgraphia.

There have been few studies on Dysgraphia.

Types of dysgraphia

Dyslexic dysgraphia

With dyslexic dysgraphia, spontaneously written work is illegible, copied work is fairly good, and spelling is bad. Finger tapping speed (a method for identifying fine motor problems) is normal, indicating the deficit does not likely stem from cerebellar damage. A dyslexic dysgraphic does not necessarily have dyslexia. (Dyslexia and dysgraphia appear to be unrelated but are often comorbid.)[citation needed]

Motor dysgraphia

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 and 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

Dysgraphia due to a defect in the understanding of space has illegible spontaneously written work, illegible copied work, but normal spelling and normal tapping speed.

Some children may have a combination of any two or all three of these. Symptoms in actuality may vary in presentation from what is listed here.

Symptoms of dysgraphia

A mixture of upper/lower case letters, irregular letter sizes and shapes, unfinished letters, struggle to use writing as a communications tool, odd writing grip, many spelling mistakes (sometimes), pain when writing, decreased or increased speed of writing and copying, talks to self while writing, muscle spasms in the arm and shoulder(sometimes in the rest of the body), inability to flex(sometimes move) the arm (creating an L like shape), and general illegibility. Reluctance or refusal to complete writing tasks.

Lesser known symptoms of dysgraphia

Pain while writing

Many people who are dysgraphic will experience pain while writing. The pain usually starts in the center of the forearm and then spreads along the nervous system to the entire body. This pain can get worse or even appear when a dysgraphic is stressed. Few people who do not have dysgraphia know about this, because many with dysgraphia will not mention it to anyone. There are a few reasons why pain while writing is rarely mentioned:

* Sufferers do not know that it is unusual to experience this type of pain with writing.
* If they know that it is different from how others experience writing, they know that few will believe them.
* Those that do believe that the pain while writing is real will often not understand it. It will usually be attributed to muscle ache or cramping, and it will often be considered only a minor inconvenience.

Common problems that are often associated with dysgraphia


There are some common problems not related to dysgraphia but often associated with dysgraphia, the most common of which is stress. Often children (and adults) with dysgraphia will become extremely frustrated with the task of writing (and spelling); younger children may cry or refuse to complete written assignments. This frustration can cause the child (or adult) a great deal of stress and can lead to stress related illnesses. Other common environmental sources of stress in the classroom setting are (a) high levels of environmental noise, and (b) over-illumination. This can be a result of any symptom of dysgraphia.


Treatment for dysgraphia varies and may include treatment for motor disorders to help control writing movements. Other treatments may address impaired memory or other neurological problems. Some physicians recommend that individuals with dysgraphia use computers to avoid the problems of handwriting.

Occupational therapy could be considered to strengthen muscle tone, improve dexterity, and evaluate eye-hand coordination. Dysgraphic children should also be evaluated for ambidexterity, which can delay fine motor skills in early childhood.

Often small things can help a student with dysgraphia, such as allowing them to use a preferred writing utensil or allowing them to submit typed work instead of hand written documents.

Suggestions for teachers and parents:

1. Use jumbo pencils (and grips for new writers)
2. Use pre-lined paper that has yellow highlighting where the words are supposed to go
3. Allow students extra time to complete in-class assignments; otherwise they won't get the benefit of the instructional practice
4. Get students keyboarding early on; they can start on an Alphasmart word processor
5. Allow children to dictate to an adult; they can then recopy if necessary
6. Allow children to dictate into a tape recorder; they or an adult can transcribe later. This allows the creative output process to occur without being stopped by the execution problem.
7. Have compassion and know that this issue has nothing to do with intelligence or behavior.


10-20-07, 07:23 AM
I am dysgraphia :-)
I have learnt to love it :-)
My kids HATE it though LOL..

I have learnt to love a lot of stuff about myself since I joined here :-)

Matt S.
10-20-07, 11:39 AM
I didn't know what it was thanks Andrew, I am a novelty seeker with information, I have to learn new things constantly.

10-20-07, 01:49 PM
I am dysgraphic as well. My folks had the derndest time teaching me to tie my shoes, they finally had me do bunny ears, which I got after a while, and still do. They were so patient with this awkward clumsy child........
Mom sent me over to the next door lady who patiently taught me to knit and crochet, which helped my fine-motor skills. They also sent me to dance classes (ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics) and never did very well, but I learned about my body and the space around it, got better muscular strength and control. I have gained this amazing skill of recovering from tipping and not falling. :p

10-20-07, 02:03 PM
Dr. Levine talks about Grapho-Motor problems.

That means issues with "Writing-Movement", basicallly.

It can be a problem in "fine motor coordination". (e.g. 'tiny movements' with fingers in order to make Letters, are hard to do, or sustain making, for long.)

PENCIL GRIP is also a big issue. People grab it awkwardly, they hold the pencil too HARD and tire/cramp, etc.

I love those pencil grip foams or rubbers that go over the finger holding area on a pencil.

11-12-07, 09:04 PM
It took me forever to learn how to tie my shoes, and I can't even rollerblade anymore X_X My balance is terrible and I can't work fast with my hands. Also my handing writing is terrible, worse then my 8 year old cousin's. I also hold my pencil wrong (inbetween the middle and ring finger, not index and middle) XP

But I'm also left handed, which most left-handed people's writing sucks anyway xD I can draw very well, but just not write =/ Are these signs of this condition, or do I just suck? XD

11-27-07, 09:32 AM
I don't know if I'm truly dysgraphic. I suspect not, though I did have some fine motor and visual-spatial difficulties. But when I was a kid, I always had a huge callus on my middle finger from pressing so hard with the pencil. It's funny because I don't have it anymore due to my not having to write very much of anything long-hand anymore. Anything longer than a page or so is typed, which helps me greatly. Long live the computer! :soapbox:

11-27-07, 10:03 AM
Have never been diagnosed with this (had never heard of it before) but so much of seems very reminiscent to me. I still have the callus on my middle finger even though I rarely write since getting a computer, and adding a printer six years ago. My right arm would get so tired when writing something, and the stress and tightness would extend up into my neck and head and even through my shoulder and down my back.

I start out writing rather pretty but by the middle of the page the letters are different sizes and look very sloppy. By the bottom of the page the words are very poorly spaced and aren't sitting neatly on the lines anymore.

I have always been rather a clutz, poor balance, poor depth perception, and yeah, poor muscle tone overall.

Andrew, thank you for sharing this information.

11-29-07, 02:19 AM
A boy in highschool on the debate team with me had this. Trying to share notes in a debate was awful. I would "flow" the arguements down for him. In class, he had a laptop and typed everything. When we had art class together (a requirement for graduation), he was able to research art history and type it up. I thought that was nice.