Affects a person’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills.

A person with this specific learning disability may have problems including illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing as well as thinking and writing at the same time.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Dislikes and avoids writing
  2. Delays in learning to write
  3. Difficulty in remembering the shapes of letters and numbers
  4. Frequent letter and number reversals (mirror writing)
  5. Omits letters from words and words from sentences
  6. Inaccurate copying
  7. Cannot spot errors in own work
  8. Difficulty preparing outlines and organizing written work
  9. Poor and illegible handwriting
  10. Giving inadequate pressure on the hand while writing


What are the symptoms of dysgraphia?

The symptoms of dysgraphia fall into six categories: visual-spatial, fine motor, language processing, spelling/handwriting, grammar, and organization of language. A child may have dysgraphia if his writing skills lag behind those of his peers and he has at least some of these symptoms:

Visual-Spatial Difficulties

  • Has trouble with shape-discrimination and letter spacing
  • Has trouble organizing words on the page from left to right
  • Writes letters that go in all directions, and letters and words that run together on the page
  • Has a hard time writing on a line and inside margins
  • Has trouble reading maps, drawing or reproducing a shape
  • Copies text slowly

Fine Motor Difficulties

  • Has trouble holding a pencil correctly, tracing, cutting food, tying shoes, doing puzzles, texting, and keyboarding
  • Is unable to use scissors well or to color inside the lines
  • Holds his wrist, arm, body or paper in an awkward position when writing

Language Processing Issues

  • Has trouble getting ideas down on paper quickly
  • Has trouble understanding the rules of games
  • Has a hard time following directions
  • Loses his train of thought

Spelling Issues/Handwriting Issues

  • Has a hard time understanding spelling rules
  • Has trouble telling if a word is misspelled
  • Can spell correctly orally but makes spelling errors in writing
  • Spells words incorrectly and in many different ways
  • Has trouble using spell-check—and when he does, he doesn’t recognize the correct word
  • Mixes upper- and lowercase letters
  • Blends printing and cursive
  • Has trouble reading his own writing
  • Avoids writing
  • Gets a tired or cramped handed when he writes
  • Erases a lot

Grammar and Usage Problems

  • Doesn’t know how to use punctuation
  • Overuses commas and mixes up verb tenses
  • Doesn’t start sentences with a capital letter
  • Doesn’t write in complete sentences but writes in a list format
  • Writes sentences that “run on forever”

Organization of Written Language

  • Has trouble telling a story and may start in the middle
  • Leaves out important facts and details, or provides too much information
  • Assumes others know what he’s talking about
  • Uses vague descriptions
  • Writes jumbled sentences
  • Never gets to the point, or makes the same point over and over
  • Is better at conveying ideas when speaking

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