Dysgraphia is one of the disorders whose effects are felt in the development of children around the world, as it has to do with the difficulties in performing one of the most useful actions today: writing.

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

In this article we will see what characteristics, symptoms and causes are related to dysgraphia , as well as the types of treatments recommended to mitigate its effects on childhood development.

What is dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is the phenomenon whereby a person (usually a boy or a girl) has serious difficulty writing well, either because of spelling, handwriting or both. It is, therefore, a group of writing disorders, which in turn can be included in the category of specific learning disorders .

In practice, in turn, dysgraphia is often accompanied by other specific learning disorders, such as dyscalculia or dyslexia.

The components of writing that can be affected by dysgraphia are varied, so the symptoms of this disorder are also varied. Among the most prominent are the following, always taking into account the age range to which the person belongs.

  • Inconsistent calligraphy or so strange that it is difficult to read.
  • Accentuation problems.
  • Poor management of spaces between words, phrases and lines.
  • Bad score .
  • Grammatical problems.
  • Letter replacement .
  • Strange word combinations.
  • Improper pen or pencil grip .

Types of dysgraphia

Cases of dysgraphia can be classified into two main types , according to the characteristics of the writing difficulties.


It consists of the presence of significant problems in the learning of spelling rules in writing practice . This can greatly complicate school progress, and if its effects remain significantly in adulthood, they also affect, among other things, employability.

Motor dysgraphia

This form of dysgraphia has to do with the problems of posture, coordination and integration between movements and visual information as far as writing is concerned.

In addition to these two types, there are cases in which it is difficult to classify what is happening, given that there is a wide variety of symptoms and it is not easy to distinguish those in which there are problems at the psychological level and those in which what is failing is something more basic, at the neurological level.

Prevalence: what percentage of children have it?

Although there are currently few data on this subject, it is estimated that around 3% of children have problems meeting spelling rules that can be considered cases of dysgraphia, while the remaining difficulties associated with writing would occur somewhat less frequently.


What causes dysgraphia is not yet well known, but it is likely that behind most cases there are several causes acting at once. For example, may be acting on genetic predispositions that lead to a brain design in which the neuronal structures that must be coordinated to produce writing are not as well connected as they should be, or perinatal brain injuries may occur that affect these groups of neurons.

Thus, the causes of dysgraphia are unspecific, in the sense that different variables may be acting as genesis in its appearance in the early years of development during childhood. In turn, the longer the stage in which there are serious problems in writing, the more difficult this phenomenon will be to overcome, as pessimistic expectations appear, giving way to self-fulfilling prophecy.

Several types of malformations and microinjuries are likely to lead to similar results, since there is no easily identifiable brain region that makes writing possible on its own.

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

Treatment for dysgraphia

Since it is a disorder that occurs in childhood, it is necessary to intervene in it as soon as possible so that its negative effects do not accumulate, leaving the child in a situation of vulnerability in his or her learning path . The objective of these initiatives will be to compensate this disadvantageous situation through an extra effort to write well that should be channelled through the appropriate learning and training techniques, so as not to produce exhaustion and frustration.

The main intervention technique is chaining, that is, the improvement of specific skills that gradually become more sophisticated and can be integrated into previous learning. This procedure allows to optimize the “training” in writing, maximizing the probabilities that some learnings give way to the following ones, and avoiding that the person throws 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 the problems of beliefs, expectations and self-esteem that often go hand in hand with dysgraphia. All this helps to increase the commitment to therapy.

At the same time, as long as there is no rapprochement between the level of writing one has and the minimum level of writing required, it is good to present alternatives in learning assessment methods, such as oral exams. In this way, the development of other cognitive skills will not be impeded, thus avoiding the appearance of a serious learning bottleneck due to difficulties in a specific area of behaviour, in this case writing.

Bibliographic references:

  • A. Suárez, Dificultades en el aprendizaje: un modelo de diagnóstico en educación. Editorial Santillana.
  • Centre, INSERM Collective Expertise (2007). Dyslexia Dysorthography Dyscalculia. Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale. PMID 21348173
  • Helman, A. L.; Calhoon, M.B.; Kern, L. (2015). “Improving science vocabulary of high school English language learners with reading disabilities”. Learning Disability Quarterly. 38 (1): 40 – 52.
  • Rodis, P., Garrod, A., & Boscardin, M. L. (Eds.). (2001). Learning Disabilities & Life Stories. Boston, USA: Allan & Bacon.