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An Informal Checklist for Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a specific learning disability in which the ability to express oneself through written language is impaired. It has the potential to cause problems with spelling, organizing words on a page, and putting thoughts on paper. It often overlaps with other cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia, speech impairment, attention deficit disorder, or developmental

Four Types of Dysgraphia

Dyslexic Dysgraphia – A student with Dyslexic Dysgraphia will have difficulty forming letters and sentences. Their written work will be illegible, and spelling will be poor. A student with Dyslexic Dysgraphia will not necessarily have Dyslexia. Dyslexia and Dysgraphia appear to be unrelated, but both can be present.

Motor Dysgraphia – Motor Dysgraphia is due to a deficient with fine motor skills or poor dexterity. Written work will be illegible, requires extreme effort and time to accomplish and writing can’t be sustained for a significant length of time. Writing is often slanted due to holding a pen or pencil incorrectly.

Spatial Dysgraphia – Spatial Dysgraphia is due to a defect in the understanding of space. A student will have illegible written work but normal spelling. Students with Spatial Dysgraphia often have trouble keeping their writing on the lines and difficulty with spacing between words.

Phonological Dysgraphia – Phonological Dysgraphia is characterized by writing and the spelling of unfamiliar words and phonetically irregular words. Individuals with Phonological Dysgraphia struggle to hold phonemes in memory and to recall them while writing.

Students may display some of the following:


A mixture of upper case/lower case letters


Irregular letter sizes and shapes


Unfinished letters


Struggle to use writing as a communications tool


Odd grip of pencil or pen


Spelling errors


Decreased or increased speed of writing and copying of text


Talks to self while writing


Writing is often illegible


Struggle to complete writing tasks


Experience physical pain in fingers, hand or arm while writing


Poor use of lines and spaces while writing

Accommodations for Kids with Dysgraphia


Use of laptop for note taking and submitting written homework


Provide extra time to take notes and copy material from the board or a text book


No penalties for spelling or mechanical errors – grade on content, not mechanics


Provide lesson outlines


Additional time on writing assignments


Modify test format and/or types of questions


Additional time on tests – fill in the blank or essay questions


Provide a scribe so student can dictate answers on exams


Allow student to print, use cursive or a laptop for written assignments and essays

About the author

Vikki Carrel

Academic Language Therapist, Multi-book Author, National Speaker

Vikki empowers people! She is an Academic Language Therapist, multi-book author and a national speaker. Vikki grew up in Salt Lake City, met her husband at the University of Utah, and has owned several companies across the United States. In 2010, Vikki and her husband moved back to Utah from Doylestown, Pennsylvania and she founded Vikki Carrel & Company, a speaking and training organization. Read more about the Author

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