What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability that affects written expression.
Dysgraphia can appear as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Dysgraphia can be a language based, and/or non-language based disorder.
Many people have poor handwriting, but dysgraphia is more serious. Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder that generally appears when children are first learning to write. Experts are not sure what causes it, but early treatment can help prevent or reduce problems.
Writing requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Not only does it require the ability to organize and express ideas in the mind. It also requires the ability to get the muscles in the hands and fingers to form those ideas, letter by letter, on paper.
Dysgraphia that is caused by a language disorder may be characterised by the person having difficulty converting the sounds of language into written form (phonemes into graphemes), or knowing which alternate spelling to use for each sound. A person with dysgraphia may write their letters in reverse, have trouble recalling how letters are formed, or when to use lower or upper case letters. A person with dysgraphia may struggle to form written sentences with correct grammar and punctuation, with common problems including ommitting words, words ordered incorrectly, incorrect verb and pronoun usage and word ending errors. People with dysgraphia may speak more easily and fluently than they write.
Non-language based dysgraphias are those caused by difficulties performing the controlled fine motor skills required to write. The generic term apraxia refers to a wide variety of motor skill deficits in which the voluntary execution of a skilled motor movement is impaired. Apraxia can involve a single controlled movement, or a sequence of movements, such as writing a single letter or entire words.