Read the ultimate guide to dysgraphia tests and much more about this learning impairment.

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Dysgraphia is a disorder that affects an individual’s possibility to write. That includes having trouble writing by hand, typing, spelling, or creating written text in general. If you suspect dysgraphia, you should get tested right away, as early intervention and accommodation are crucial.

In this article, we’ll be covering dysgraphia tests and everything there is to know about them. We’ll provide a guide on the tests for this disorder, what they include, and how they’re measured. By the end, you’ll have a much better understanding of dysgraphia and how it’s diagnosed.

Understanding Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to write. It’s considered a hidden disability because it’s not always clear that an individual is dealing with learning disabilities. 

Naturally, however, as with most learning disabilities, those with dysgraphia can experience mild to severe symptoms. The most common symptoms include difficulty spelling, poor handwriting, and difficulties with fine motor skills. A person with severe symptoms will also have trouble with some of the seemingly simpler tasks, such as holding a writing utensil correctly, although those can be fixed with something like pencil grips.

This disorder seriously affects an individual’s ability for academic progress, self-esteem, and, most importantly, quality of life. 

Dysgraphia vs Dyslexia vs ADHD

Dysgraphia, dyslexia, and ADHD are all learning disabilities in a way. We’ve already covered the effects of dysgraphia, but dyslexia and ADHD have different effects on a person.

Dyslexia is commonly mixed with dysgraphia since they are both reading disabilities. Dyslexia, however, affects an individual’s ability to understand written text, recognize words and understand the meaning of the text. In more severe cases, a person with dyslexia will have issues with phonological awareness.

Lastly, ADHD (or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disability that affects an individual’s ability to focus, pay attention, and control impulsive behavior. Although it doesn’t usually affect fine motor skills, it’s considered a learning disability and, in severe cases, requires assistance.

While dysgraphia, dyslexia, and ADHD are all impairments that affect the individual that has them, they’re all specific learning disabilities that require different interventions and accommodations.

It is also important to note that dyslexia does not have to entail disorders such autism or similar learning disabilities like dyscalculia.

Different types of Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia comes in a few types, each of which will show a specific set of symptoms and causes. An individual may suffer from one type of dysgraphia, but it’s not uncommon to have symptoms that point to more than just one type. 

The most common types of dysgraphia include:

  • Dyslexic dysgraphia: a type of dysgraphia that affects one’s ability to read and spell. It’s often associated with dyslexia. The most notable characteristics of dyslexic dysgraphia are illegible handwriting and poor spelling issues but often fine copied writing. 
  • Motor dysgraphia: this type of dysgraphia is characterized by issues with fine motor skills, poor muscle tone, and overall clumsiness. Individuals with motor dysgraphia have issues writing legibly due to difficulties controlling their arm movement. 
  • Spatial dysgraphia: this type of dysgraphia is related to spacial awareness. This type of dysgraphia makes it difficult for individuals to align letters and words on a page. It’s one of the impairments that aren’t so easy to notice.

Testing for Dysgraphia learning disorders

Testing for dysgraphia and similar learning disorders is essential because it can significantly improve life quality with either special education or any other type of assistance. Most commonly, testing for dysgraphia is done as a part of a full evaluation.

Depending on the assessment, your doctor might suggest a number of tests, some of which include the following.

Visual Motor Integration

In the visual motor integration test, an individual is given increasingly more difficult words or drawings they must write or draw during a specific period of time without erasing anything. This test shows the development of fine motor skills and how the individual is aware of the space in front of them.

Some individuals suffering from dysgraphia will struggle with eye-to-hand coordination, which points to the learning disorder Dysgraphia.

Spelling Test

Although weak spelling isn’t a result of dysgraphia, it can be one of the signs. Individuals with dyslexia dysgraphia usually add or delete letters from words or just make sequencing errors while trying to spell.

During this test, WIAT-3, WJ-IV, and TOC are commonly used.

Written Expression Test

A written expression test is measured by a psychologist or a specialist in learning disorders. It measures a person’s ability to write legibly, spell correctly, and organize their thoughts on paper. This type of test can contain handwriting tasks, spelling words, and composition tasks. 

The test results give an insight into specific difficulties someone with dysgraphia has.

Other assistive tech tools to help with learning disorders

Dysgraphia and similar learning impairments can seriously lower the quality of life for the individual diagnosed with it. Aside from hiring special educators to help them work on fine motor skills, there are assistive tech tools one can use to help with these disabilities. For example, text-to-speech software can help individuals overcome their learning disorders and help improve their academic growth. 

Speechify, for example, is a text to speech software that can read aloud. The app can help individuals with dysgraphia understand and process written information. By having the text read to them, individuals can focus on the meaning of the text rather than focusing on decoding the words. 

Assistive technology such as voice recognition and word prediction can significantly improve writing skills in individuals with dysgraphia. Dictating words instead of typing them can make it much easier than typing, which is where individuals suffering from a learning impairment, such as dyslexia, ADHD, and dysgraphia, have the most trouble. 

Assistive technology can provide individuals with dysgraphia the tools they need to overcome difficulties and improve their academic performance. It can also increase their independence and self-esteem, which can have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.


Can you self diagnose dysgraphia?

An individual can easily notice some of the most common symptoms of learning difficulties and disabilities. Still, it’s always best to reach out to qualified professionals for assistance when it comes to these complex disorders. You can find most of the relevant info at the The International Dyslexia Association site.

Many symptoms specific to dysgraphia and other impairments can be related to other disabilities, so it’s easy to mistake dysgraphia for some other specific learning disorder.

What age can you test for dysgraphia?

The earliest recommended age to test young learners is around 5. It’s impossible to notice it earlier, or it is very difficult to test written language and the signs of dysgraphia.

For very young children, an occupational therapist or developmental pediatrician can assess fine motor skills and handwriting development. As children get older, around 4 or 5, a teacher may notice difficulties with letter formation, spacing, or poor legibility.

What type of professional should you see for a diagnosis?

Diagnosing complex disorders such as dysgraphia requires competent experts in different fields, depending on the individual’s age and specific needs.

For young children, it’s recommended that a developmental pediatrician, occupational therapist, or educational psychologist does the evaluation. 

For high school children and adults, the evaluation should be done by a neuropsychologist, educational psychologist or occupational therapist.

For a proper diagnosis, it’s possible that an evaluation by more than one expert is required.

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