Dysgraphia means poor writing skills. This can mean sloppy, illegible writing; very skimpy, limited writing; and/or disorganized writing that doesn’t make sense or “flow” like it should. It can be caused by a number of conditions. Dyslexia is one cause. If spelling is hard, a student will “dumb down” her writing and use only words she thinks she can spell. Spelling might be hard because of a deficit in phonological and/or orthographic processing. She might also make spelling errors that have a negative impact on the meaning of what she’s written. Underdeveloped visual-motor processing is another common cause of dysgraphia. A student with this disorder will have a hard time writing neatly and legibly. Another cause of dysgraphia involves language comprehension. A student who struggles to organize her thoughts will have a hard time putting those thoughts down on paper in a way that makes sense to the reader.

When we have a student come to us with a diagnosis of dysgraphia, our first job is to figure out what is causing the symptoms. Our evaluation will pinpoint the cause or causes and give us the specific information we need in order to plan a course of treatment that targets the specific needs of the student.

One of our recent students with dysgraphia had severe deficits in both phonological and visual-motor processing. He came to us as a 1st grader and received treatment 2 hours per day, Monday through Friday through the summer and into second grade. When he started, he couldn’t form the letters in his first name or put them in the correct order. When he left, he was able to write whole sentences legibly and correctly.

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