Dysgraphia is a unique learning disability that causes issues with writing. There are three types of dysgraphia, each developing from disorders of working memory. It is possible for a person to have more than one form of dysgraphia. Other conditions such as dyslexia and ADHD often appear along this condition. Many people with dysgraphia experience stress and anxiety while writing. Treatment often focuses on the cause of a person’s dysgraphia and helping them achieve stronger writing skills.
Dysgraphia can cause a variety of individual or collective symptoms such as incorrect spelling or capitalization. A person with dysgraphia often has little control over the size and spacing of their letters. They may take longer to write than the average person and may express discomfort or stress while doing so. People with dysgraphia can also have dyslexia, leading some people to mistake symptoms between the two.
The three types of dysgraphia are outline below.
One of the three types of dysgraphia is dyslexic dysgraphia. People with dyslexic dysgraphia struggle most with spontaneously written text that they haven’t copied or traced from another source. In many cases, the resulting text is illegible. For longer sentences, the text may begin as rough but readable and steadily decrease in legibility as the sentence continues. Dyslexic dysgraphia doesn’t affect the fine motor skills, so drawing and copying are often legible. Spelling, however, is difficult for those with the condition.
Some instances of dysgraphia result from issues with a person’s fine motor skills. Motor dysgraphia affects all finger motions. Spontaneous and traced writings are close to illegible and drawing is difficult. However, because the motor dysgraphia exclusively affects fine motor skills, a person with this condition can recognize letters and words without difficulty. Because individuals with motor dysgraphia usually have poor writing posture, their writing may appear slanted.
The most complex form of dysgraphia is spatial dysgraphia. A person with spatial dysgraphia finds it difficult to understand the spatial relationship between the writing and the medium. This affects many aspects of the person’s life, but in regards to dysgraphia, mostly inhibits writing and drawing. Spelling skills, as well as letter and word recognition, are usually normal. Experts lack an understanding of many of the underlying causes of spatial dysgraphia, and its symptoms are distinct from the other forms of dysgraphia.
Even for experts, diagnosing dysgraphia can be extremely difficult. Several tests exist to make the diagnosis process easier, including the Ajuriaguerra scale, DASH, HHE scale, and BHK for children or teenagers. Dysgraphia tests usually include writing and fine motor components. Modern tests may involve drawing tablets to more accurately measure the tilt, pressure, and position that a person uses while writing. These devices also make it possible for doctors to create more personalized treatment plans.