Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities. According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, approximately 20 percent of the American population have some form of dyslexia. Most people know someone with dyslexia, or are at least, familiar with it. A related learning disability that is less commonly known is dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is a lesser-known cousin of dyslexia, that is often co-morbid with dyslexia. However, it is a separate disability. . While dyslexia primarily affects reading and related language-based processing skills (or decoding skills), dysgraphia specifically impacts a person’s ability to write and produce written language (or encoding).

Individuals with dysgraphia may experience difficulties with various aspects of writing, including:

Handwriting: This can involve problems with letter formation, spacing, and overall legibility.

Spelling: Dysgraphia can affect a person’s ability to accurately spell words.

Punctuation and Grammar: Difficulties may arise in using correct punctuation and grammar in written work.

Organizing Thoughts on Paper: Individuals with dysgraphia may struggle to organize their ideas coherently when writing.

Expressive Writing: Generating ideas and expressing them in writing can be challenging for those with dysgraphia.

It’s important to recognize that dysgraphia can coexist with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Additionally, dysgraphia is not solely limited to handwriting issues; it can also manifest as challenges in typing and other forms of written expression.

Like dyslexia, dysgraphia is a lifelong condition, but individuals can learn strategies and techniques to manage and cope with its challenges. Supportive interventions, such as specialized instruction and assistive technology, can be beneficial for individuals with dysgraphia.

Understanding and awareness of dysgraphia are crucial for educators, parents, and individuals themselves to provide appropriate support and accommodations to facilitate learning and success in academic and everyday tasks. If you suspect someone may have dysgraphia, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified professional, such as a neuropsychologist or specialist in learning disabilities, for a comprehensive assessment and tailored intervention plan. Like dyslexia, receiving appropriate supports and services for a child with dysgraphia early can significantly impact their growth as a student both academically as well as emotionally. Struggling writers often face frustration, embarrassment and anxiety which can lead to school avoidance.

While a child study team at your child’s school can conduct testing to identify weaknesses in written expression, they cannot diagnose your child with dysgraphia and typically do not recommend use of explicit, systematic, multisensory writing programs which can be incredibly beneficial for remediating written expression deficits. Some of these programs include Writing Revolution, Hochman Method, and Paragraphology. As such, seeking out a private assessment can enable you to obtain specific recommendations regarding the types of programs, frequency and duration of such programs that are most appropriate for your child. If your child is undergoing evaluations for an individualized education program (“IEP”) or already has an IEP, requesting an assistive technology assessment will help to identify forms of technology that would be beneficial to assist your child with writing.

Our team of specialized and compassionate attorneys and advocates at Manes & Weinberg, LLC., Special Needs Lawyers, are here to guide you through the process should you need any assistance.