What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a kind of learning disability wherein the affected person faces acute difficulty in writing spellings, numbers, making letters etc. Such people are unable to write what they want to or they are not able to put the things in their mind on a paper. Their brain experiences trouble in processing the information received through the eyes and also in the processing of language. Hence such people are unable to process the information that they receive through their ears and provide the output through writing.
Although no permanent cure for this condition exists as yet and Dysgraphia carries on through the lifetime of the affected individual, still some degree of help can be achieved by contacting trained specialists who make use of specific learning skills to provide some relief.
The Writing Process and Dysgraphia
The writing process is a two stage process. To write accurately it is very important that both these stages work properly. Eyes and ears are the main component of the first stage. The information is obtained by the eyes/ears and sent to the brain for processing. The second stage of the writing process starts with the processed information being transferred to the muscles and the coordinated motor movement makes it possible for our hands to write the information received.
During writing process two stages are used one is linguistic and other is motor stage. The Linguistic stage includes encoding of auditory and visual information into written expressions. In motor stage the expression of written words is expressed.
Signs and Symptoms of Dysgraphia
Following are some of the major signs and symptoms of Dysgraphia:
- The person makes an awkward position of wrist, arm or body.
- Restriction/pain while writing.
- Use of eraser while writing is drastically increased.
- The person avoids writing and drawing task.
- Confusion with the use of upper and lower case alphabets, which results in a mixed use of the same.
- Writing incomplete words.
- A lot of grammatical mistakes.
- Uneven use of space between letters & words.
- Slow writing speed even when the text has just to be copied from some other book.
- The affected person seems to get lost every now and then. He/she needs to be cajoled to keep on writing and finish the work given.
Causes of Dysgraphia
The causes of Dysgraphia prominently include a genetic disorder in the part of the brain that performs the processing of the different sensory information received from the different parts of the body.
Technically speaking, it is the result of a defective coordination of the orthographic coding of the viewed/heard information, the memory area and improper motor movement of the hands and fingers.
Diagnosis of Dysgraphia
Diagnosis of Dysgraphia is a somewhat difficult thing because of the fact that this condition can affect any person regardless of the age, gender and the level of intelligence. Also, any inability to write properly should not be thought of as being Dysgraphia.
A qualified and trained specialist is the best person to properly make a correct diagnosis of Dysgraphia. The specialist would perform certain tests for evaluation of the writing skills, including the posture made during writing.
Treatment for Dysgraphia
Dysgraphia cannot be cured completely, but of course it can be controlled to some extent. The treatment for Dysgraphia can be done at different levels including home and school.
The methodology of the treatment for Dysgraphia consists of providing help to control the motor movement of the hands and the fingers. In some cases neurological interventions are also taken up. Many of the treatment specialists encourage the use of computers by people suffering from Dysgraphia. They opine that punching on the keyboard lessens the problems that are faced while writing with the hands.
A lot of encouragement, support and training has also been advocated in order to control this condition and also to lessen the stress on the affected person.
Use of soft pencils/pens; providing extra time to complete the tasks; providing graph papers for practicing writing skills etc. are some of the other things that can be done to provide some relief and encouragement to the sufferers of Dysgraphia.