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Writing Disorder

Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in Writing is a failure to develop age-appropriate writing skill despite adequate instruction. Writing disorder may include deficits in grammar and mechanics or clarity and organization of writing.

Writing disorder is distinguished from normal variations in academic attainment, and writing problems persist in the presence of adequate educational opportunity and instructional exposure. Writing disorder is also distinguished from writing problems that are due to other medical problems, like intellectual disability, neurological or sensory disorders, and neurocognitive disorders. Finally, though writing disorder commonly co-occurs with other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. ADHD, developmental coordination disorder, autistic spectrum disorder) and mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression), writing disorder is distinct from and not due to those disorders.

Dysgraphia is a specific writing deficit that is characterized by poor handwriting and fine motor coordination.

Sign of a writing disorder include:

  • Inaccurate punctuation
  • Poor grammar
  • Poor paragraph organization
  • Unclear written expression
  • Disorganized sentence structure
  • Disorganized paragraph organization

Writing disorder may be mild enough that the individual is able to compensate or function well given appropriate accommodations or support services. In more severe cases, difficulties are so pronounced that the individual is unable to become proficient in core academic skills unless intensive and specialized teaching is provided in school and at home.

Regardless of severity, however, it is crucial that the writing disorder be addressed. Individuals with untreated learning disorders show negative consequences across the lifespan, including lower educational attainment, higher rates of unemployment and under-employment, and higher levels of psychological distress.