Learning Disabilities in Writing

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In Virginia, a writing disability is recognized as one of the conditions under the category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD). According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) and the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Students with Disabilities in Virginia (“the Virginia Regulations”) at 8VAC-20-81-10, Specific Learning Disability is an umbrella term used to describe:

“a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual abilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.”

A writing disability is often referred to as dysgraphia.  Dysgraphia is defined in the following manner:

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dysgraphia is the condition of impaired letter writing by hand, that is, disabled handwriting. Impaired handwriting can interfere with learning to spell words in writing and speed of writing text. Children with dysgraphia may have only impaired handwriting, only impaired spelling (without reading problems), or both impaired handwriting and impaired spelling.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders defines dysgraphia as a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities. Specifically, the disorder causes a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect. In children, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite thorough instruction.


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