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What are the signs of dysgraphia?

What are the signs of dysgraphia?

Published: Nov. 9, 2023

Symptoms usually emerge in children as soon as they start learning to write but can present at any age. Dysgraphia is considered a Specific Learning Disorder in the DSM-5, like other learning disabilities including dyslexia and dyscalculia.

According to the DSM-5, a person must experience the following symptoms persistently for at least six months in order to qualify for an SLD diagnosis:

  • Persistent difficulties in reading, writing, arithmetic, or mathematical reasoning skills (such as slow and laborious reading, poor written expression, problems remembering numbers, or trouble with mathematical reasoning)
  • Academic skills in reading, writing, and math well below average
  • Learning difficulties beginning early, during the school-age years
  • Difficulties that “significantly interfere with academic achievement, occupational performance, or activities of daily living” and cannot be “better explained by developmental, neurological, sensory (vision or hearing), or motor disorders”

Early signs of dysgraphia and other learning disabilities usually begin before children start learning to read. For example, if your child struggles to space words and letters out on paper within the margins or does so inconsistently, they could be struggling with dysgraphia. Other signs include frequent erasing, poor spelling, cramped grip, and unusual wrist, body, or paper position while writing.

To learn more, see our article Dysgraphia 101.

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