In this blog, we will examine specific traits of dysgraphia and take a deeper look into how to manage your dysgraphia with lifelong skills.
- What Is dysgraphia?
- What are the symptoms of dysgraphia?
- Does dysgraphia affect math?
- Does dysgraphia affect reading?
- What triggers dysgraphia?
- Is dysgraphia linked to ADHD?
- Do kids outgrow dysgraphia?
- What is the best treatment for dysgraphia?
- What are some strategies for children with dysgraphia?
- How do they test for dysgraphia?
- Can you get an IEP for dysgraphia?
What Is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder affecting approximately 5-20% of Americans, according to the Encyclopedia of special education (Reynolds, 2007). Categorized by its effects on a person’s writing abilities, dysgraphia impairs fine motor skills and writing mechanics.
This specific learning disorder affects adults and children and impacts all aspects of the writing process. Typically, dysgraphia can be identified when a person is first introduced to writing. That said, the disorder can be diagnosed at any age.
What Are The Symptoms of Dysgraphia?
As one of the most frequently overlooked learning disorders, dysgraphia often remains under-acknowledged in childhood and underdiagnosed in adulthood.
With a variety of symptoms, dysgraphia includes the following:
- Difficulty in structuring sentences
- Difficulty in following grammar laws
- Awkward pencil grip and hand positioning
- Trouble formatting letters
- Poor drawing and tracing skills
- Difficulty with written expression
Although some dysgraphia symptoms are lifelong, the majority shift over time. Children mainly struggle with fine motor skills and general writing mechanics. Adolescents and adults generally exhibit dysgraphia symptoms through writing and mechanical difficulties, such as comprehension, grammar, syntax, and other aspects of the writing process.
Does Dysgraphia Affect Math?
Although generally seen through writing, dysgraphia can also be present in mathematics. Math-related symptoms include disorganized handwriting, inconsistent spacing, and general line disorganization. As many aspects of mathematics include writing, dysgraphia translates between writing and math subjects.
Does Dysgraphia Affect Reading?
Dysgraphia is a learning impairment that affects people’s general writing abilities; it doesn’t affect their reading skills. The disorder is often confused with dyslexia, which is a reading-centered disorder. Typically, people with dysgraphia can read at a skilled level, leading to a misdiagnosis or overlooking written dysgraphia symptoms.
What Triggers Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is viewed as a hereditary disorder. With symptoms developing throughout childhood, children display signs of dysgraphia, such as spelling and writing difficulties in their early schooling.
While otherwise not externally triggered, dysgraphia symptoms can also occur through brain or head traumas. Damage to the parietal lobe causes difficulty with spatial awareness and mimics dysgraphia through shared symptoms.
Is Dysgraphia Linked to ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is another neurological condition prevalent in childhood and adulthood. ADHD is commonly diagnosed in children under 12, affecting relationships, attention abilities, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Because of similarities in condition symptoms, dysgraphia is frequently linked to ADHD. Both disorders are related to attention and executive function, and they’re often compared. While dysgraphia isn’t a symptom of ADHD and vice versa, the two conditions can occur concurrently.
Although not classified as a learning disorder, ADHD can typically pair with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia or auditory processing disorders. While dysgraphia and ADHD can be present simultaneously, a person doesn’t always have both.
Do Kids Outgrow Dysgraphia?
Similar to other learning disorders, dysgraphia cannot be outgrown. As a lifelong condition, dysgraphia is manageable through accommodations, support, and occupational therapy.
People with dysgraphia can use the following tools:
- Customized writing supplies, including pencil grips to support pencil position or paper with raised lines for increased spatial awareness
- Task exemptions and extra time allotments
- High-tech assistive technology, such as voice-activated software
In addition, people with dysgraphia can work with occupational therapists to:
- Improve hand and wrist strength
- Improve fine motor skills
- Correct writing posture
- Conduct academic exercises that target writing and forming letters
Despite dysgraphia being a lifelong condition, it shouldn’t be considered limiting.
What is the Best Treatment for Dysgraphia?
Many accommodations are available for those living with dysgraphia; occupational therapy is among the most successful and popular aids. Occupational therapists can work with child and adult patients to incorporate physical and academic exercises in treatment.
What Are Some Strategies for Children with Dysgraphia?
Alongside the listed accommodations, there are specific strategies to aid children struggling with dysgraphia. Using modified school supplies and technology will help children thrive academically. Special education environments can also provide strategies specific to dysgraphia, including “speak it first,” “feeling the letters,” clay molding, pinching practice, and more.
How Do They Test for Dysgraphia?
The diagnosis of dysgraphia is conducted through a multitude of professions, including the following:
- Licensed psychologists and educational psychologists
- Education specialists such as special education teachers
- Healthcare providers and occupational therapists
With the aid of these professionals, a person with dysgraphia will undergo specific evaluations such as academic assessments, fine motor skills, IQ tests, and writing assignment samples. Along with evaluations, professionals examine a person’s academic history and writing abilities.
Can You Get an IEP for Dysgraphia?
Both IEPs and 504 plans are available for people with dysgraphia. Like other learning disorders and neurological conditions, teachers and employers alike are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for those with dysgraphia.
An IEP will be received under the “specific learning disability in written expression” following professional evaluation, and appropriate support and accommodations will then be supplied.