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So. Cal. Tri-Counties Branch

About Dysgraphia - Definition


  • Is a processing problem.
  • Causes writing fatigue.
  • Interferes with communication of ideas in writing.
  • Contributes to poor organization on the line and on the page.

Dysgraphia can be seen in:

  • Letter inconsistencies.
  • Mixture of upper/lower case letters or print/cursive letters.
  • Irregular letter sizes and shapes.
  • Unfinished letters.
  • Struggle to use writing as a communications tool.


Dysgraphia is not:

  • Laziness.
  • Not trying.
  • Not caring.
  • Sloppy writing.
  • General sloppiness.
  • Careless writing.
  • Visual-motor delay.

Dysgraphia is defined as a difficulty in automatically remembering and mastering the sequence of muscle motor movements needed in writing letters or numbers. This difficulty is out of harmony with the person's intelligence, regular teaching instruction, and (in most cases) the use of the pencil in non-learning tasks. It is neurologically based and exists in varying degrees, ranging from mild to moderate. It can be diagnosed, and it can be overcome if appropriate remedial strategies are taught well and conscientiously carried out. An adequate remedial program generally works if applied on a daily basis. In many situations, it is relatively easy to plan appropriate compensations to be used as needed.

Dysgraphia is an inefficiency which seldom exists in isolation without other symptoms of learning problems. While it may occasionally exist alone, it is most commonly related to learning problems involved within the sphere of written language. Difficulty in writing is often a major problem for students, especially as they progress into upper elementary and into secondary school. Rosa Hagan has stated, "Inefficiency in handwriting skills provides a barrier to learning, whereas efficiency in basic handwriting skills provides a tool for learning. Once this tool is established, it can help reinforce many other areas kids are having difficulties with."


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