Cognitive Burden of Dysgraphia
Dysgraphia is a lasting handwriting deficiency and should not be confused with a normal developmental variation of the growing up years for a child.

Most children screened at the Dyslexia Association of India™, demonstrate deficiencies in spatial accuracy. We may want to believe that the spatial deficiencies disappear with age, but the reality is that the dysgraphia pulls the childs overall reading ability below his/her actual capability - due to the cognitive overload placed on the linguistic and psychomotor processes in the brain.

Our personal experience with children indicates that, out of every 10 children brought to the Dyslexia Association of India™, 6-7 children demonstrate some form of non-optimal fine motor behaviour, which despite attempts by the parents and educators has not yet resulted in any level of sufficient progress in the acquisition of the fine motor task of handwriting.

We notice a lack of consistency; in forming a good quality script along with variability in size, form, capitalization, alignment and orientation.

The neurocognitive burden of living with what we call the motor noise of the neuromuscular system means that the spatial deficiencies which are inherent in the child's cognitive system may in effect overload his brain to such an extent, that the mere task of attempting to write down what is required may be disrupting the child's overall academic capability of accurate recall at the appropriate moment when he/she has to perform the task of writing in a test or an exam.

Developmental changes that occur in the brain when a child is dysgraphic are long lasting and it is not just the 'neatness’ of representation that is affected, but also the writing speed, and indelible malformations in letter forms which stay for life.

The screenings at the Dyslexia Association of India™, have indicated that these six – seven children out of every 10, which effectively means 60 to 70% of children will go on to develop 'Miswired' sensitivity to specific processing demands of allograph alternation and the delineation of boundaries in the specific motor control system will result in lifelong malfunction of the psychomotor system.

Most parents question us and have an opinion that it is an incorrect pencil grip or a lack of desire to write on the part of the child.

Actually it is not so. The neurological recruitment and muscular initiation of motor units in the brain are so complex that the 'fault' lies in the brain and not the 'attitude' or the 'hand' of the child.

The cognitive burden of recoding of allographic action patterns is so heavy that if your child has dysgraphia, then you should not expect a constancy of the motor act of 'beautiful handwriting' in the child's ever-changing biophysical environment.

The Dyslexia Association of India™, uses its T.R.A.I.N™ programme to improve the neural basis of dysgraphia and not the simple and ordinary - observable methods of attempting to teach the child to write 'within the line' or form correct shapes.

It is the brain which controls the hand, and subsequently it is not the hand which controls the final product that you see on the paper, so thus it is the brain which dictates what is produced on paper and we call it 'handwriting'.

A dysgraphic child cannot achieve dexterity - as dexterity cannot be achieved by repetition and constant writing practice on its own. Dexterity – it may come as a surprise to most is not a property of your child's motor act of writing. It is related to something totally different. Our main aim should be to decrease the inconsistent, very basic crude and dysmetric manifestation of handwriting performance.

If we do not take this issue seriously, by the time your child reaches class III or class IV, your child will be faced with other learning disabilities, as our brain is not a stand-alone unit. Your child's brain is so intertwined that even if his/her IQ is above average, the sheer dystatical performance in attempting to write will overlap with reading difficulties very quickly

We now know with a great deal of certainty that there is a significantly strong relationship between dysgraphia and several measures of cognitive performance in children who eventually perform poorly in school with a deterioration of performance being markedly significant in primary school children, which eventually goes on to become a hallmark of their inability to perform to the expected level of intelligence in high school.

We also believe now that the deterioration in performance and the differences noted in children who have dysgraphia - and will eventually go on to acquire learning disabilities may be due to the different speed at which the process of the degradation occurs due to functional modification of the brain based synaptic junctions.

Dysgraphia is not just a predominantly lexical disorder but comes with multiple indications of associated disorders that become evident in stages - through problems with phonological issues, graphic motor pattern issues and comprehension issues resulting in errors of simple recall of read material, substitutions, deletions, insertions and transpositions, resulting in impairment of the academic output.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, all these collaborate to create a pattern of weakening grades, and that become clearly evident once the child reaches class 10, and has to read to learn the academic material that is a part of a vast syllabus, on which he or she will be tested, and which forms the basis of the child's future - as defined by what they will do in life.

If you feel that your child has problems with his/her handwriting, and if you feel that your child shies away from writing, and prefers to explain everything orally, because writing is a very arduous staff for him/her, it is important that you immediately seek assistance so that you can help the child as early as possible - because there is a greater possibility of remediation when children are in the primary school category, and it becomes progressively more difficult as they enter high school.

For further information and to book an assessment please contact the Dyslexia Association of India™ on our mobile number 88260 22886 or e-mail us at info@dyslexiaindia.org.in for more advice and information.

(Views and observations expressed in our articles are equivocal and personal based on our observations and experience. Being equivocal and personal they are non contestable and Individuals are under no pressure to confirm to our views, thoughts and observations. The accuracy ratio for screening and remedial processes of the DAI™ is extremely high.)