ADHD and Dysgraphia

ADHD and Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a type of learning disorder that impacts one’s ability to write.  Dysgraphia includes different specific types of difficulties with writing and often include the following:

*difficulty with legible handwriting

*difficulty with spacing and organization of writing on the page

*difficulty organizing thoughts when writing

*difficulty with grammar and writing mechanics, which can include spelling, when writing

A learning disorder is identified when the abilities associated with the specific academic skill or ability fall significantly below that of one’s developmental level and below that of other cognitive and typically other academic abilities.

It is not uncommon to see overlap or co-morbidity between ADHD and Dysgraphia.  Writing often becomes a difficult task for individuals with ADHD and/or Executive Functioning issues because of the amount of focus and concentration that writing requires.  Writing also requires managing various items within one’s working memory at one time including thinking and organizing what one is writing, remembering how to spell all words to be written, and remembering grammar and mechanics while one is writing.  It also requires fine motor control.  Combining all of these skills into one activity can be overwhelming and frustrating for many individuals with ADHD.  They often display resistance to writing tasks, demonstrate early or quick frustration when required to write, or have difficulty even thinking about what to put on paper.

Some helpful suggestions for these individuals include the following:

*Break down writing assignments or requirements into smaller segments

*complete an outline prior to writing

*use an alternative to writing such as typing, oral reporting, or voice to text software

*capitalize on moments when they are showing more tolerance for writing

*utilize motivation or reward systems for writing completion to encourage increased motivation

*an adult that can be encouraging and help move the individual along step by step is often helpful with writing completion