Children with dysgraphia in preschool and kindergarten may struggle to form letter shapes, have difficulty gripping a pencil, or have trouble difficulty organizing or articulating thoughts on paper.
People with dysgraphia generally have trouble with writing and exhibit other motor impairments, while dysgraphia in adolescents and adults manifests as difficulties with syntax, grammar, and writing thoughts down.
It must be emphasized that although the above symptoms are quite common in individuals with dysgraphia, many are also common in the general population. Furthermore, formal diagnoses are not made based on the subjective experience of struggling with writing. The primary utility in recognizing these symptoms is prompting appropriate formal testing.
Dysgraphia has been estimated to affect 7–15% of school-aged children, but diagnostic ambiguity makes it difficult to ascertain the true prevalence (Hawke et al., 2009). While studies suggest dyslexia and dysgraphia may be equally common, there is much less awareness of and research devoted to dysgraphia.
The DSM-5 does not define dysgraphia but defines an SLD in writing as an impediment to the ability to learn writing.
To meet the criteria for this SLD, the impairment must be sufficient to cause the student to perform significantly behind their grade level in writing for at least 6 months and persist even after receiving targeted help. These difficulties must not be better explained by a lack of proper instruction, other developmental disabilities, or other neurologic or sensory deficits.