What Is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia might be the topic that you wanted to read about when you opened this article. We will try to explain the condition in a simplified manner in this article. So, rest assured that you’ll be taking accurate information from here after reading it. 

A condition associated with writing skills, dysgraphia is derived from the Greek words "dys" for "impaired" and "graphia" for "making letter forms by hand." It is a neurological condition characterized by difficulties in writing. In particular, the disorder results in distorted or flawed writing. The disease typically manifests in children when they are first exposed to writing.

Read further to gain an insight into dysgraphia, its symptoms, diagnosis, and management methodologies. 


Writing is a crucial and challenging skill that normally emerges in the early years of childhood. Dysgraphia is a learning disability in which a person's writing abilities fall short of what would be expected given the age and cognitive ability of the person. Although dysgraphia is typically diagnosed and treated in educational settings, a primary doctor is crucial for counselling and advocacy as well as for monitoring and assessing probable co-morbid illnesses

Causes of dysgraphia

The disorder's origin is uncertain, however in adulthood, parietal lobe injury is frequently a contributing factor. Despite the possibility of other learning challenges, children with the illness typically do not experience social or other academic difficulties. Adult dysgraphia cases typically start after a traumatic event.1

An emerging field is the study of genes and their potential function in the processes or etiology of learning impairments. Spelling ability, orthographic abilities, and verbal executive function tasks may all have a genetic foundation, according to genetic aggregation research. 

Signs and symptoms of dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is classified as a distinct learning problem in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), although it is not specifically mentioned as a separate disorder.2 The criteria states that the following symptoms must persist for at least 6 months while adequate interventions are in place:

  • Inaccurate or laboriously slow word reading
  • Difficulty understanding what is read and what it means to be
  • Having trouble with spelling
  • Having trouble writing clearly
  • Difficulties with calculation, numerical facts, or number sense
  • Reasoning problems in mathematics

Management and treatment for dysgraphia

Some young people with dysgraphia have trouble writing on paper. Occupational therapy may be beneficial, therapists help strengthen the hand and fine motor coodination required for handwriting and typing.  Children may also benefit from them as they learn the proper posture and arm position for writing and also benefit from educational therapy for other parts of writing. They might also learn coping mechanisms from therapists to deal with their weaknesses.

They might aid young people in using empowering self-talk to overcome writing difficulties. The setting of appropriate and pertinent writing goals for children can also be assisted by therapists. Additionally, they might demonstrate how to use visual tools to monitor objective progress. These methods assist young writers in approaching their work in a less frustrating manner.3

Diagnosis of dysgraphia

Frequently a team of occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, special education instructors, and educational psychologists are used to diagnose specific learning disabilities in educational settings. Another method of diagnosing dysgraphia or a learning disorder outside of the educational system is to conduct a psychoeducational evaluation. Slow writing speed, illegible handwriting, inconsistency between spelling ability and verbal IQ, and processing delays in graphomotor planning, orthographic awareness, and/or rapid automatic naming are some expert recommendations for the diagnosis of dysgraphia. Evaluation of the writing posture and pencil grip are secondary tests to take into account. It is possible to evaluate a student's speed and legibility when copying letters, words, phrases, and/or pseudowords using formalized handwriting examinations.4  


Can dysgraphia be prevented?

Dysgraphia doesn’t fall in the category of preventable disorders. But it can be managed well if diagnosed early. Discussing it with your child’s healthcare provider is essential. 

How common is dysgraphia?

The percentage of kids who have writing difficulties range from 10% to 30%, depending on how dysgraphia is defined.5 Dysgraphia is more prevalent in children assigned male at birth than in children assigned female at birth, as is the case with many neurodevelopmental disorders.6 Occupational therapy consultations are frequently requested owing to difficuties faced with handwritting. Dysgraphia and other problems of written expressions can have lifetime effects on people since they may continue to hinder their ability to advance in their careers and carry out daily tasks.

Who are at risks of dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia can occasionally arise from particular illnesses, genetic predisposition, degenerative conditions, or brain trauma. A child or adult may consequently lose the ability to write.

When should I see a doctor?

If an individual thinks they or a child exhibits the symptoms of dysgraphia, they should consult a specialist. It might be required to initially see a general physician who can recommend you to a specialist. Children may also get direct access to an expert through their school.


Although dysgraphia and other disorders of written expression are common in youngsters, the school and family sometimes disregards it as character flaws rather than real disorder. In order to understand the definition and etiology of the illness, more study is required in the area of cognitive mechanisms that may underlie dysgraphia. Due to the common delay in dysgraphia diagnosis, the primary care physician can be crucial in identifying the problem and starting the right work-up and treatments. Another crucial duty of the provider is to screen for co-occurring medical, neurodevelopmental, psychiatric, and learning issues. To ensure dysgraphia is properly addressed, child health care specialists must collaborate closely with educational and mental health professionals. The doctor can advise the child's carers to ensure that proper steps are followed towards diagnosis and management because they are the child's primary point of contact with the school. Children with impairment of written expression may require additional assistance in higher-order writing tasks, such as planning, organizing, reviewing, and editing, in addition to gaining automaticity. Randomized-control experiments have shown that "writing clubs" geared towards kids who are having trouble with these skills can boost performance.7


  1. Dysgraphia [Internet]. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. [cited 2023 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/dysgraphia
  2. Personality disorders and the five-factor model of personality [Internet]. American Psychological Association; 2013 [cited 2023 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv1chs8rh
  3. Dysgraphia treatment for children [Internet]. Understood. 2019 [cited 2023 Apr 10]. Available from: https://www.understood.org/en/articles/treatment-options-for-dysgraphia
  4. Chung PJ, Patel DR, Nizami I. Disorder of written expression and dysgraphia: definition, diagnosis, and management. Transl Pediatr [Internet]. 2020 Feb [cited 2023 Apr 10];9(Suppl 1):S46–54. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082241/
  5. Kushki A, Schwellnus H, Ilyas F, Chau T. Changes in kinetics and kinematics of handwriting during a prolonged writing task in children with and without dysgraphia. Research in Developmental Disabilities [Internet]. 2011 May 1 [cited 2023 Apr 10];32(3):1058–64. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891422211000278
  6. Berninger VW, O’Malley May M. Evidence-based diagnosis and treatment for specific learning disabilities involving impairments in written and/or oral language. J Learn Disabil [Internet]. 2011 Mar [cited 2023 Apr 10];44(2):167–83. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022219410391189
  7. Berninger VW, Rutberg JE, Abbott RD, Garcia N, Anderson-Youngstrom M, Brooks A, et al. Tier 1 and Tier 2 early intervention for handwriting and composing. Journal of School Psychology [Internet]. 2006 Feb 1 [cited 2023 Apr 10];44(1):3–30. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022440505001044
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Vridhi Sachdeva

Master of Pharmacy- MPharm, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India

Vridhi is a Formulation Scientist with experience in the Research & Development sector of the pharmaceutical industry. She works on novel drug delivery systems to enhance active pharmaceutical ingredients' therapeutic potential and reduce the associated side effects. Her collective passion for improving the health of people and writing has led her to write and edit science and health-related articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818