Does your young child struggle with drawing and writing when other children of the same age don’t seem to have the same difficulty? Does your child often get fatigued because the physical process of writing is so arduous? Dysgraphia is a learning disability (LD) that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information-processing skills.
Writing is a developmental process (meaning that the ability to write doesn’t happen all at once) so a person with dysgraphia may display different challenges at different ages. Dysgraphia generally emerges when children are first introduced to writing, and it may or many not occur with other types of LD. Keep in mind that most children will struggle with learning at times and that learning disabilities such as dysgraphia, do not go away over time. Dysgraphia is most often formally identified in school-age children, but signs of the disorder can often be seen in preschoolers.
If you’re concerned about your child, review the following list of common warning signs of dysgraphia in children in Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 2. Be aware that some of the “symptoms” listed below also apply to other types of learning disabilities and/or to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which often co-exist with learning disabilities, so you may want to look over our more comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist to take a broader approach your child’s struggles.
For at Least the Past Six Months, My Child Has Had Trouble
Writing and Drawing
- Learning to draw and write at the same pace as children the same age.
- Gripping a pencil comfortably when writing or drawing.
- Forming letters and shapes.
- Understanding uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Leaving consistent spacing between letters and words.
- Writing/coloring on a line or within margins.
- Copying letters and numbers neatly and accurately.
- Spelling even familiar words correctly.
- Writing/printing neatly and without a lot of cross-outs and erasing.
- Maintaining energy and easy posture when writing/drawing.
- Being motivated and confident about writing, drawing and learning.
- Taking pride in his artwork and written work.
- If any of these warning signs reflect your child’s struggles, don't hesitate to seek help. Print this article, check off the warning signs that apply to your child, and share it with professional such as your child’s teacher and/or pediatrician. The sooner a child’s LD is identified, the faster your child will be able to receive the support needed to succeed in school and in life. Trust your observations and have the courage to advocate for your child’s special needs.