Dysgraphia is a deficiency in the ability to write, primarily handwriting, but also coherence.
Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability as well as a transcription disability, meaning that it is a writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting, orthographic coding and finger sequencing (the movement of muscles required to write).
It often overlaps with other learning disabilities such as speech impairment, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or developmental coordination disorder.
There are at least two stages in the act of writing: the linguistic stage and the motor-expressive-praxic stage.
The linguistic stage involves the encoding of auditory and visual information into symbols for letters and written words.This is mediated through the angular gyrus, which provides the linguistic rules which guide writing.
The motor stage is where the expression of written words or graphemes is articulated. This stage is mediated by Exner’s writing area of the frontal lobe.
The condition can cause individuals to struggle with feedback & anticipating and exercising control over rhythm & timing throughout the writing process.
People with dysgraphia can often write on some level and may experience difficulty with other activities requiring reciprocal movement of their fingers and other fine motor skills, such as; tying shoes, fastening buttons or playing certain musical instruments.
However, dysgraphia does not affect all fine motor skills. People with dysgraphia often have unusual difficulty with handwriting and spelling which in turn can cause writing fatigue. Unlike people without transcription disabilities, they tend to fail to preserve the size and shape of the letters they produce if they can’t look at what they are writing.
They may lack basic grammar and spelling skills (for example, having difficulties with the letters p, q, b, and d), and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate their thoughts on paper. The disorder generally emerges when the child is first introduced to writing.
There is accumulating evidence that individuals with SLDs and DCD do not outgrow their disorders. Accordingly, it’s been found that adults, teenagers, and children alike are all subject to dysgraphia.
Studies have shown that higher education students with developmental dysgraphia still experience significant difficulty with hand writing, fine motor skills and motor-related daily functions when compared to their peers without neurodevelopmental disorders.
Dysgraphia should be distinguished from agraphia, which is an acquired loss of the ability to write resulting from brain injury, stroke, or progressive illness.