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Dysgraphia

What is dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects a person's fine motor skills and their ability to handwrite. Dysgraphia is classified as a neurological disorder that ranges from poor handwriting to large problems with completing a letter of a word or even omitting a word from a sentence all together. When someone has dysgraphia the structural alignment of their brain is different. The disorder occurs in people of normal or above-normal intelligence and could occur in people that have the same eagerness to learn. It could also be a result of head trauma. When someone with dysgraphia writes, their handwriting is sloppy, not spaced properly, and shows inconsistency in upper and lower case letters, or cursive and print letters, although having the same amount of time and attention given to the task.

 

What are the different types of dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is often, but not always, accompanied by other learning differences such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, and this can impact the type of dysgraphia a person might have. There are three principal subtypes of dysgraphia that are recognized. There is little information available about different types of dysgraphia and there are likely more subtypes than the ones listed below. Some children may have a combination of two or more of these, and individual symptoms may vary in presentation from what is described here. Most common presentation is a motor dysgraphia/agraphia resulting from damage to some part of the motor cortex in the parietal lobes.

 

  • Dyslexic dysgraphia involves illegible spontaneously written work. The copied work of those afflicted is fairly good, but their spelling is usually poor. Their finger tapping speed (a method for identifying fine motor problems) is normal, indicating that the deficit does not likely stem from cerebellar damage.
     

  • Motor dysgraphia is due to deficient fine motor skills, poor dexterity, poor muscle tone, or unspecified motor clumsiness. Letter formation may be acceptable in very short samples of writing, but this requires extreme effort and an unreasonable amount of time to accomplish, and it cannot be sustained for a significant length of time, as it can cause arthritis-like tensing of the hand. Overall, their written work is poor to illegible even if copied by sight from another document, and drawing is difficult. Oral spelling for these individuals is normal, and their finger tapping speed is below normal. This shows that there are problems within the fine motor skills of these individuals. People with developmental coordination disorder may be dysgraphic. Writing is often slanted due to holding a pen or pencil incorrectly.
     

  • Spatial dysgraphia creates a defect in the understanding of space. Those afflicted will have illegible spontaneously written work, illegible copied work, and problems with drawing abilities. They have normal spelling and normal finger tapping speed, suggesting that this subtype is not fine motor based.

 

Who is affected by dysgraphia?

There is not much known about how many people have dysgraphia or where dysgraphia is most popular, however dysgraphia is mostly populated in the impoverished community.

 

What causes dysgraphia? 

Dysgraphia is a biologically based disorder with genetic and brain bases. More specifically, it is a working memory problem. In dysgraphia, individuals fail to develop normal connections among different brain regions needed for writing. People with dysgraphia have difficulty in automatically remembering and mastering the sequence of motor movements required to write letters or numbers. Dysgraphia is also in part due to underlying problems in orthographic coding, the orthographic loop, and graphmotor output (the movements that result in writing) by one’s hands, fingers and executive functions involved in letter writing. The orthographic loop is when written words are stored in the mind’s eye, connected through sequential finger movement for motor output through the hand with feedback from the eye.

 

What learning aids help those with dysgraphia?

There are many learning aids that help one communicate and learn without having to write what they are thinking. For example, instead of sitting in a classroom and taking notes about how to master a certain trade, you could do the trade in the field and get more interactive because while taking notes is effective, doing the actual job in the field will also teach you without having you take notes. Another aid to learning with dysgraphia is with speech-to-text which, when you speak into it, translates the words that you are speaking into written language.

 

How do we help those with dysgraphia rise from poverty?

The Elevator Project can help those with dysgraphia because through our customized and tailored floor plan that specifically addresses the needs of those with dysgraphia. Learn more about out special needs floor plan and how it can support you here.