Putting a Spotlight On

Each month The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute spotlights a different developmental disability to help build awareness and educate others about the disorder. Learn more below.



What is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects handwriting and fine motor skills

What are some symptoms of Dysgraphia?

Trouble forming letters or spacing words consistently

Awkward or painful grip on a pencil

Difficulty following a line or staying within margins

Trouble with sentence structure or following rules of grammar when writing, but not when speaking

Difficulty organizing or articulating thoughts on paper

Pronounced difference between spoken and written understanding of a topic

What are the causes of Dysgraphia?

Scientists aren't sure why dysgraphia happens in children. In adults, it's sometimes related to a brain injury. In kids, this learning disorder usually occurs along with other learning disabilities such as ADHD and dyslexia.

How is Dysgraphia diagnosed?

The first step is for your child's pediatrician to rule out any other diseases or conditions that could cause writing difficulties.

A licensed psychologist trained in learning disorders can diagnose dysgraphia. This could be your child's school psychologist. The specialist will give your child academic and writing tests that measure his ability to put thoughts into words and his fine motor skills. For instance, he may be asked to tap his fingers or turn his wrist a certain way.

Your child also may be asked to write sentences or copy words and letters. The specialist will look at his:

Finished work

Hand and body position

Pencil grip


Writing process



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