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What is Dysgraphia?

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Dysgraphia is a deficiency in the ability to write primarily in terms of handwriting, but also in terms of coherence. Dysgraphia is a transcription disability, meaning that it is a writing disorder associated with impaired handwriting, orthographic coding (orthography, the storing process of written words and processing the letters in those words), and finger sequencing (the movement of muscles required to write). It often overlaps with other learning disabilities such as speech impairment, attention deficit disorder, or developmental coordination disorder. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), dysgraphia is characterized as a learning disability in the category of written expression when one’s writing skills are below those expected given a person’s age measured through intelligence and age appropriate education. The DSM is not clear in whether or not writing refers only to the motor skills involved in writing, or if it also includes orthographic skills and spelling.The word dysgraphia comes from the Greek words dys meaning "impaired" and graphia meaning "making letter forms by hand".

 

There are two stages, at least, in the act of writing; a linguistic stage and a 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. The angular gyrus 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.

 

People with dysgraphia can often write on some level and may lack other fine motor skills, for example they may find tasks such as tying shoes difficult, but it 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. 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. Adults, teenagers, and children alike are all subject to dysgraphia.

Treating Dysgraphia

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