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Read the latest issue of The Blue Dot on the theme of Assessments in Education

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Living with Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia affects handwriting and fine motor skills. It interferes with spelling, word spacing, and the general ability to put thoughts on paper. It makes the process of writing laboriously slow, with a product that is often impossible to read.

Academic: Kids with dysgraphia can fall behind in schoolwork because it takes them so much longer to write. Taking notes is a challenge. They may get discouraged and avoid writing assignments.

Basic life skills: Some children’s fine motor skills are weak. They find it hard to do everyday tasks, such as buttoning shirts and making a simple list.

Social-emotional: Children with dysgraphia may feel frustrated or anxious about their academic and life challenges. If they haven’t been identified, teachers may criticize them for being ‘lazy’ or ‘sloppy’. This may add to their stress. Their low self-esteem, frustration and communication problems can also make it hard to socialize with other children. They may also be bullied at school for falling back in class. They also show signs of hyper-activity and can be difficult to deal with.


Myth #1: Messy handwriting is a sure sign of dysgraphia.

Fact: Although many people with dysgraphia have poor, hard-to-read handwriting, not all do. In fact, some can write neatly—even though it might take them a lot of time and effort. There are other signs of dysgraphia besides sloppy handwriting. They include slow, labored writing and inappropriately sized and spaced letters.

Myth #2: Kids with dysgraphia have below-average intelligence.

Fact: It’s a myth that people with learning and attention issues have poor intelligence, and children with dysgraphia are no exception. In fact, kids with dysgraphia usually have average or above-average intelligence. They just struggle with writing down on paper what they know.

Myth #3: Students with dysgraphia are just being lazy.

Fact: Dysgraphia can make the act of writing a slow and taxing process. Some kids may avoid writing assignments in school simply because writing is so frustrating for them. This might look like laziness, but there are underlying factors you might not see. Watching peers who don’t struggle with writing doesn’t help either. It can make kids with dysgraphia feel discouraged.

Myth #4: Dysgraphia is the same thing as dyslexia.

Fact: It’s true that both dysgraphia and dyslexia can affect the kids’ ability to spell. The two, however, are distinct conditions. Dyslexia makes it more difficult for a child to learn to read. On its own, dysgraphia doesn’t affect a child’s ability to read.

Myth #5: Most kids outgrow dysgraphia, so it’s not necessary to spend time helping them.

Fact: Dysgraphia is a lifelong condition—there’s no cure to make it go away. That doesn’t mean, though, that people with dysgraphia can’t succeed at writing and other language-based activities. There are a lot of ways to get help for dysgraphia, including apps and accommodations.