Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects written expression. People with dysgraphia have severe problems with writing, regardless of the ability to read. However, people with dysgraphia may develop writing skills but only to the certain level. Moreover, they usually have difficulties with some of the other fine motor skills. For example, simple tasks such as tying shoes may be very difficult for individuals with dysgraphia. This is a serious learning disability that usually makes a great impact on sufferer’s life. Children and adults with dysgraphia are heavily frustrated with the tasks of writing or spelling, which results in a great stress and adds to problems for school children.
Causes of dysgraphia
The name dysgraphia is derived from the Greek language. The base word “graph” refers both to the hand’s function in writing and to the letters formed by the hand, while the prefix “dys” indicates that there is impairment. Research has shown that impairment results from the problems in orthographic coding in work memory, related to handwriting. Orthographic coding is the ability to store unfamiliar written words in working memory while the letters in the word are analyzed. This process takes place during word learning or the ability to generate permanent memory of written words, normally linked to their articulation and connotation. People with dysgraphia may have difficulty planning sequential finger movements, which results in poor handwriting.
Symptoms of dysgraphia
The earliest symptoms of dysgraphia are noticeable long before the child starts learning how to read and write. At this stage, dysgraphia is characterized by delayed motor development and problems with simple tasks such as pulling up zippers or buttons. Children may also refuse to play coloring games, which is normally enjoyable for their peers.
Dysgraphia becomes more obvious during the school years when students affected by this learning disability express problems with writing. These problems are usually characterized by inappropriately sized and spaced letters, writing wrong or misspelled words, or using both printed and cursive letters while writing.
Another prominent symptom of dysgraphia is the irregularity in the size of the letters. This symptom is often accompanied with confusing the letters that look similar. For example, student with dysgraphia may often write “b” instead of “d”. Spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences are also very usual.
Persons affected with dysgraphia will usually avoid writing, as writing tasks cause them extreme frustration. They will usually hold a pencil in a completely unusual way and some of them may even report feeling pain while writing.