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Possible Dysgraphia

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D


Q: My 9 year old son who is in 3rd grade has always scored in the high average in school tests (80 - 90 percentile) in both Maths & English & his teacher has referred to his as being bright, he has always been fluent reader & reads books above his age level.
The problem is his written work is appalling both his handwriting & grammar
ie: (no use of full stops, capital letters etc.. basic spelling mistakes). When I call back the words to him he can spell them no problem. Is this just laziness on his behave or a boy thing, he absolutely would do anything to get out of written work, his current and past teachers have commented that his written work & presentation need considerable attention.
Is it possible that some children who appear to be bright can struggle with written work??

Any advice would be appreciated.

A: Your description is not very clear and detailed, so I am assuming that your son may possibly have dysgraphia. Briefly, dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. This condition makes the act of writing difficult lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting, and putting thoughts on paper. Individuals with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers, and words on a line or page.

Some of the symptoms may include tight, awkward pencil grip and body position; avoidance of writing or drawing tasks; trouble forming letter shapes; inconsistent spacing between letters or words; poor understanding of uppercase and lowercase letters; inability to write or draw in a line or within margins and getting tired quickly while writing. Due to these, they may avoid writing. Your son is not lazy; he is struggling and needs help.

However, your description alone is not sufficient for a diagnosis. I suggest you get a professional opinion with all the necessary details and samples of his handwriting. Some articles that may be of help:

http://www.resourceroom.net/readspell/dysgraphia.asp
http://www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dysgraphia.html
http://www.margaretkay.com/Dysgraphia.htm

Hope this helps. Wishing you all the best!


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