Neurodiversity: Dyslexia and Dysgraphia Explained
If a child struggles with reading and writing, it could be a neurobiological condition. Every child has their own pace and way of learning. It is important to investigate further if they are consistently struggling or uninterested in participating in activities requiring these skills. Although Dyslexia and Dysgraphia sound very similar, they are unique conditions.
Dyslexia refers to a neurobiological condition that affects the lexicon, or the written word. It affects the way words are read. Although individual letters may be clear, the mind’s eye can flip them around, upside down and backward – making it very difficult to make sense of sentences.
Signs your child may have Dyslexia (age and ability dependent):
- Aversion to reading out loud
- Trouble sounding out words
- Low levels of comprehension
- Not understanding what he’s read
- Trouble following along while someone else is reading
- Letters that appear similar i.e. p or d
Click here for further reading and to learn more about the subtypes of Dyslexia.
Dysgraphia comes from the Greek words for difficulty (dys) writing (graph) and is also a condition that also affects word comprehension – however it affects the way words are written. Also known as Written Expression Disorder, it’s neurobiological and not caused by anything mechanical, like a muscle problem.
Dysgraphia impacts the understanding and deciphering of which letterforms to use when writing, as well as comprehension of words and/or the sounds they correspond to. People with dysgraphia struggle with translating phonemes (the sounds of language) into graphemes (the written version of it.) This affects constructing sentences and putting things in the correct order to match up with standard expectations of writing.
Signs your child may have Dysgraphia (age and ability dependent):
- Struggling to write neatly, despite trying hard to do so
- Words and punctuation may not make sense
- Varying writing styles in an attempt to complete writing tasks
- Mixed up capital letters and word spacing
- Cramped writing posture
Click here for further reading about the subtypes of Dysgraphia.
Please be aware that the signs and symptoms of the conditions noted above might also indicate other health concerns or learning difficulties. If the indicators sound familiar, ensure information is from reliable sources – approaching teachers, learning experts and doctors to investigate further is a great place to start.
Individualized support has been proven to be very effective in helping kids manage these difficulties. By being their main support and advocate, adults can ensure all children with language skills challenges can have a richer experience of learning.