NURTURE INFORMATION HUB
Handwriting still serves as the most immediate form of graphic communication, despite the expanding use of technology. Skilled handwriting is essential for school-aged children. This skill allows them to write within a reasonable amount of time and to create a readable product through which thoughts and ideas can be communicated
Children typically acquire skillful handwriting performance during the first three years of school. With this skill they are able to automatically write a legible product while keeping in line with the expected time demands of the class schedule. Though, previous research has established that a large number of children do not yet write automatically by this age. These children are either diagnosed with dysgraphia or need to cope with ongoing difficulties with handwriting. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5) dysgraphia is coded as a "Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in written expression" . However, no specific diagnosis criteria are provided. The current study followed Hamstra-Bletz and Blote's definition that describes dysgraphia as a disturbance or difficulty in the production of written language related to the mechanics of writing. The inadequate handwriting performance is seen among children who have at least an average intelligence level and who have not been diagnosed with any apparent neurological or perceptual-motor difficulties.
There are a number of learning challenges that often co-occur with Dyslexia. Many will have symptoms that can look like dyslexia symptoms. Dyslexia should be part of a full evaluation that looks at all areas of learning.
Dysgraphia is caused by a language disorder and may be characterised by the person having difficulty converting the sounds of language into written form (phonemes into graphemes), or knowing which alternate spelling to use for each sound. A person with dysgraphia may write their letters in reverse, have trouble recalling how letters are formed, or when to use lower- or upper-case letters. A person with dysgraphia may struggle to form written sentences with correct grammar and punctuation, with common problems including omitting words, words ordered incorrectly, incorrect verb and pronoun usage and word ending errors. People with dysgraphia may speak more easily and fluently than they write.
Age of Diagnosis
Dysgraphia is not typically diagnosed until a child is school-aged. While letter formation and other types of motoric dysgraphia can be diagnosed at the age of five or six years old, some diagnostic tools, such as the norm-referenced Test of Written Language (TOWL-4), are only appropriate for students nine years of age or older, since they will have had more experience with writing instruction and the complexities of written language.
Although dysgraphia introduces learning difficulties, these can be mitigated, and there are also positives to accompany the challenges, including the following:
For concerns we recommend speaking with your Paediatrician or for further information please visit: https://dyslexiaassociation.org.au/
Special thanks to Australian Dyslexia Association for content sharing and linking to provide further information and direction for families with any concerns.