Dysgraphia is similar to dyslexia which affects writing or written expression. It is a learning disability that makes it difficult for an otherwise bright child to express himself well through writing. The National Institute for Neurological Disorders defines dysgraphia as follows:
"Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities. Specifically, the disorder causes a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect. In children, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite thorough instruction. Children with the disorder may have other learning disabilities, however, they usually have no social or other academic problems. In addition to poor handwriting, dysgraphia is characterized by wrong or odd spelling, and production of words that are not correct (i.e., using "boy" for "child"). The cause of the disorder is unknown."
Dysgraphia is a 'sister' disability to dyslexia. Whereas dyslexia is 'difficulty with language', dysgraphia is 'difficulty with writing'. Dysgraphia causes difficulty with processing information, organizing thoughts, and going through the process of putting the words down onto paper. Often a child with dysgraphia hates writing, will have writing that is variable in size and spacing, and will sometimes orient letters incorrectly. (continued below..)
A child with dysgraphia may or may not be able to think of what he wants to write. Often children with dysgraphia will be able to express themselves well verbally, however seem unable to write at a level that reflects the complexity of their thoughts. A child may express himself with sentences such as, "The apatosaurus was gigantic, but was primarily a herbivore." However, he would be likely to write, "The dino was big."
There is an excellent article about dysgraphia on the International Dyslexia Association website called, "Just the Facts.. Dysgraphia". You may also find helpful information on LDOnline. You can also view additional information about remediation programs on our Writing Remediation page.