A developmental or neurological disability affecting one’s ability to write, both with handwriting, organization of written work, and writing for a specific purpose (e.g. to inform vs to tell a story).
Many people have excellent oral expression and vocabulary skills but their writing skills are much weaker. Writing involves both sustained attention as well as the ability to generate language in a far different way from conversation. Some individuals struggle with the physical act of writing, while others have problems expressing themselves in an organized way. Some people have trouble putting thoughts down on paper, though they can describe their ideas. Some do not know how to organize their writing, giving it a rambling or jumbled appearance. Have you read your child’s work and had troubling following their train of thought? Has your ability to write cost you opportunties at work or in college? There may be a reason for the underachievement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Northern Virginia office.
Red Flags for a Writing Disorder (younger children)
- Does your child get overly tired while writing?
- Does your child still reverse letters (b/d) or numbers (2/5)?
- Is spelling still poor even with words that your child has used repeatedly?
- Does your child spell the same word different ways on the same page? (seprate, seprete, seperate for separate).
- Is there poor organization in the written work with multiple run-ons or fragments?
- Does the child get overly frustrated or resist writing?
Red Flags for a Writing Disorder (older children, adolescents, adults)
- Numerous errors in capitalization, spelling and punctuation
- Disorganized, rambling writing
- Writing has lead to underachievement in college, graduate school or at work
- Lack of the ability to focus while writing
- Trouble converting ideas into text
- No topic sentence, no paragraphs
- Inability to follow basic essay structure
Support Services: What do you do?
There is a high co-occurrence with reading and writing problems. Reading is considered the recognition of the written word, but writing is the spontaneous recall of the word, which is even more sophisticated. Beyond spelling, individuals have to learn how to communicate themselves in an organized manner. MindWell recommends testing to determine why the person is underachieving in writing, and find out how to correct the problem or gain accommodations for tests (e.g. the SAT)