What is dysgraphia?

By The Understood Team

At a glance

  • Dysgraphia refers to a challenge with writing.

  • It impacts skills like handwriting, typing, and spelling.

  • There are many ways people with dysgraphia can improve their writing skills.

Dysgraphia is a term that refers to trouble with writing. Many experts view dysgraphia as challenges with a set of skills known as transcription. These skills — handwriting, typing, and spelling — allow us to produce writing.

Trouble expressing your thoughts in writing isn’t formally recognized as part of dysgraphia. That’s a learning disability known as written expression disorder. But when people struggle with transcription, it can get in the way of thinking about ideas and how to convey them. 

For example, people with dysgraphia may write more slowly than others. That can affect how well they express themselves in writing. Plus, they tend to have trouble with spelling because it’s hard for them to form letters when they write. 

Dysgraphia isn’t a matter of intelligence. The challenges are often caused by trouble with motor skills. Those skills can improve with help. And people with dysgraphia may also be eligible to use accommodations at work or school.

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    About the author

    About the author

    The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Charles A. MacArthur, PhD is a professor of special education. He researches writing instruction, self-regulated strategies, and assistive technology.