Dysgraphia: causes, symptoms and treatment

Dysgraphia is one of the disorders whose effects are noticeable in the development of boys and girls around the world, because it has to do with the difficulty of performing one of the most useful things today: writing.

If this skill is not well internalized in childhood, it can lead to a much lower ability to communicate with other people, to make lists and to write to better organize daily life, or to apply for jobs. high value-added jobs, among other negative consequences.

In this article we will see what features, symptoms and causes are related to dysgraphia, As well as the types of treatments recommended to reduce their effects on the development of the child.

    What is dysgraphia

    Dysgraphia is a phenomenon in which a person (usually a boy or a girl) has serious difficulty writing well, whether due to spelling, calligraphy, or both. These difficulties must cross the line of what is considered pathological, through criteria taken into account by the professional who carries out the diagnosis.

    It is therefore a group of written expression disorders, which in turn can be included in the category of specific learning disabilities.

    In turn, in practice, dysgraphia is often accompanied by other specific learning disabilities, such as dyscalculia or dyslexia. This is because brain alterations that affect any of these functions are usually caused by defects that reach the areas of the brain responsible for performing the others, as they are closed to each other, when they are not closely related. .

    The components of writing that can be affected by dysgraphia are varied, as are the symptoms of this impairment. The most important are the following, always taking into account the age group to which the person belongs.

    • incoherent calligraphy or so strange that it is difficult to read.
    • Problems to be accentuated.
    • Poor management of spaces between words, sentences and lines.
    • bad score.
    • Grammar problems.
    • Letter substitution.
    • Strange word unions.
    • Poor grip of pencil or pen.

    It should be noted that dysgraphia can significantly limit the ability to learn, especially in educational institutions that are not prepared to meet the needs of children with this disorder.

    As a result of a frustrating and emotionally painful schooling, the imprint left by this type of problem can become chronic and affect adult life as well, Given the barriers to formal education.

    It should be remembered that school is both one of the main contexts for the socialization of children and a means of accessing stable professional careers with the capacity to provide all the material resources necessary to live in dignity.

    Types of dysgraphia

    As we have seen, dysgraphia affects various aspects of the ability to write. However, beyond all these variations, cases of dysgraphia can be classified into two main types, Depending on the characteristics of the writing difficulties.

    Of course, as is often the case with psychological disorders, symptoms of each type are usually not presented in a “pure” way. Therefore, it is common for them to partially overlap and for there to be some ambiguity about the type of dysgraphia a patient presents with.


    It consists of the presence of significant problems in learning spelling rules in writing practice. This can greatly complicate academic progress, and if its effects remain significant in adulthood, they also adapt, among other things, to employability. Therefore, it is important to treat dysorthography as early as possible, resorting to psychological therapy at the onset of symptom expression.

    Motor dysgraphia

    This form of dysgraphia has to do with the problems with posture, coordination and integration between movements and visual information in terms of writing.

    In addition to these two types, there are cases in which it is difficult to classify what is happening, since a wide variety of symptoms occur and it is not easy to distinguish those in which there is problems at the psychological level and those in which failure to fail is a little more basic, neurologically.

    Prevalence: what percentage of children suffer from it?

    Although there is currently little data on this subject, it is estimated that about 3% of boys and girls it presents problems with observing the spelling rules which can be considered as cases of dysgraphia, while the other difficulties related to writing would occur with a slightly lower frequency.

    the causes

    The causes of dysgraphia are not yet well known, but it is very likely that behind most cases, several causes are acting at the same time. For example, genetic predispositions can act leading to the production of a brain design in which the neural structures that must be coordinated to produce writing are not as well connected as they should be, or possible perinatal brain damage affecting these groups of neurons.

    Thus, the causes of dysgraphia are not specific, in that different variables may play a genesis role in their onset in the early years of development during childhood. In turn, the longer the writing phase, the more difficult this phenomenon will be to overcome, as pessimistic expectations arise, giving way to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It is possible that several types of deformities and micro-lesions lead to similar results, as there is no easily identifiable region of the brain responsible for making writing possible on its own.

    In addition, dysgraphia can also be caused by a harmful learning dynamic, Or by the effect of anticipatory stress and anxiety related to writing activity.

      Treatment of dysgraphia

      As this is a disorder that occurs in childhood, it is necessary to intervene as early as possible so that its negative effects do not accumulate, leaving the child in a situation of vulnerability in their learning trajectory. The aim of these initiatives will be to compensate for this situation of disadvantage with an additional effort to write well which must be channeled through the appropriate learning and training techniques, so as not to generate exhaustion and frustration.

      The main intervention technique is chaining, that is to say the improvement of specific skills which gradually become a little more sophisticated and can be integrated into previous learning. This procedure makes it possible to optimize the “training” in writing, by maximizing the chances that some learning will give way to the next, and by preventing the person from throwing in the towel.

      On the other hand, this form of training and learning (which must be guided by a specialist) must be accompanied by interventions aimed at dealing with problems with beliefs, expectations and self-esteem which usually go hand in hand with dysgraphia. All of this helps to increase commitment to therapy.

      At the same time, as long as there is no reconciliation between the level of writing available and the minimum level of writing required, it is good to present alternatives in the methods of evaluation of learning, like oral exams.

      In this way, the development of other cognitive skills will not be impeded, thus preventing the emergence of a serious learning bottleneck due to difficulties in a specific area of ​​behavior, in this case writing.

      Bibliographical references:

      • A. Suárez, Learning difficulties: a diagnostic model in education. Editorial Santillana.
      • Center, INSERM collective expertise (2007). Dyslexia Dysorthography Discalculia. National Institute of Health and Medical Research. PMID 21348173
      • Faust, M. (2012). The textbook of neuropsychology of the tongue. Hoboken: Wiley – Blackwell.
      • Helman, AL; Calhoon, MB; Kern, L. (2015). “Improve the scientific vocabulary of high school students with reading disabilities.” Quarterly learning disabilities. 38 (1): 40-52.
      • Rodis, P., Garrod, A. and Boscardin, ML (eds.). (2001). Learning difficulties and life stories. Boston, United States: Allan & Bacon.
      • Rodriguez Silva, LH; Roehr-Brackin, K. (2016). Perceived learning difficulty and actual performance: Explicit and implicit knowledge of L2 English grammar points in educated adult students. Second language acquisition studies. 38 (2): pages 317-340.
      • Roux, FE; Dufor, O .; Giussani, C .; et al. (2009). “Front graphics / engine area revised Exner area”. Annals of Neurology. 66 (4): 537-45.

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