Jun 13, 2024 | Neurodiversity

The Write Stuff: Understanding Dysgraphia


Dysgraphia can manifest in a variety of ways, but typically it involves difficulties with handwriting, spelling, and organizing thoughts on paper. Today, let’s chat more about dysgraphia, common symptoms, its impact, and ways to help manage it in day-to-day life. 

What is dysgraphia? 

The word comes from the Greek “dys,” meaning “impaired,” and “graphia,” meaning “writing by hand” — and dysgraphia is, in essence, an impairment in one’s ability to write by hand. Dysgraphia can also affect other fine motor skills like tying shoes and as well as the thought processes like organizing thoughts, following rules of grammar, and spelling words correctly. 

Dysgraphia symptoms 

Both adults and children can have dysgraphia, and symptoms can vary depending on the individual. Some symptoms of this learning disability might include the following: 

  • poor or illegible handwriting 
  • incorrect or odd spelling 
  • incorrect capitalization 
  • a mix of cursive and print writing styles 
  • using incorrect words 
  • omitting words from sentences 
  • slow writing speed 
  • fatigue after writing short pieces 
  • inappropriate letter sizing 
  • inappropriate letter spacing 
  • difficulty with grammar and sentence structure 
  • unusual position of the body or hands when writing 
  • saying words aloud when writing them down 
  • watching the hands while writing 
  • tight or unusual pencil grip 
  • avoiding tasks involving writing or drawing 
  • difficulty taking notes at school or work 

Individuals with dysgraphia may also struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem.  

The impact of dysgraphia 

Those living with dysgraphia face challenges related to legible handwriting, forming letters correctly, spelling, and difficulty understanding the rules of phonetic spelling. Some may find it difficult to hold a pen or pencil or properly coordinate their movements so that they are able to write.  

Writing speed is significantly slower, and this can have an impact on how work is done and completed. In some cases, organizing thoughts, and translating them into written works, can be challenging. This can lead to lack of clarity and coherence for the reader.  

Along with physical impacts, there are emotional ones as well. Dysgraphia can lead to frustration, anger, low self-esteem and anxiety. It can also have effect performance; academically or professionally. 

Managing dysgraphia 

There are several ways in which dysgraphia can be treated or managed. Some of these methods can include: 

Occupational Therapy: will improve fine motor skills and hand coordination. 

Writing tools: aids like special grips for pens or pencils, or typing on a computer can make writing easier and more enjoyable. 

Workplace support: accommodations such as voice to text software, alternative communication methods, reduce the amount of written work, task modification and support and resources. One of the best ways to support individuals with disorders such as dysgraphia is to offer training and education to all employees. This will help encourage a diverse, respectful, safe, and accommodating environment for all. 

Candor Diversity Group offers several self assessment quizzes on our website. These tools can help you identify symptoms that may relate to a particular Neurodivergent diagnosis but cannot provide a comprehensive diagnosis. Please consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner if you wish to discuss the results of these assessments. If you are interested in taking the Dysgraphia Quiz, it can help you understand certain traits associated with dysgraphia. However, please remember that it can’t diagnose the condition. 

In supporting individuals with dysgraphia in the workplace, you create an inclusive environment that allows employees to perform their tasks effectively. If you’d like to chat more about Neurodivergent Education Training for your business, contact our team today

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