Dysgraphia

At HSR Psychology we can carry out assessments to identify dysgraphia. An early identification of dysgraphia facilitates early intervention and strategies in order to support the child or young person with their learning.

What is Dysgraphia?

There is no current internationally or nationally agreed definition of Dysgraphia. This makes any diagnosis of Dysgraphia subject to interpretation.

Our interpretation of the definition of Dysgraphia is:

Dysgraphia is indicated by the presence of poor handwriting that is less than 75% legible when read without context. Poor Handwriting must have persisted for at least 6 months. For Dysgraphia to be indicated there will have been no significant improvement in legibility despite the provision of targeted evidence-based interventions including handwriting and motor skills interventions.

Handwriting is a complex skill which requires motor, sensory, perceptual and cognitive functions, and the integration of these functions. A difficulty in any of these areas could lead to the diagnosis of Dysgraphia. Therefore at HSR Psychology we recognise the following types of Dysgraphia.

What are the indicators of Dysgraphia?

There are a number of indicators which may suggest that an individual has Dysgraphia, including:


Dysgraphia assessment

A girl providing a handwriting sample, using writing aids



Our process

At HSR Psychology we ensure that we meet the needs of children and young people. To achieve this we ensure that any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work, is only carried out following an initial discussion.

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Having an initial discussion ensures any services we provide appropriately identify or address needs.

Our process for any specific assessments, intervention, or direct work is as follows:

Step 1: Contact us

We will usually be contacted by the child or young person, parent or carer, or another professional (eg education or health).

You can contact us or complete a referral



Step 2: Arrange an initial discussion

An initial discussion allows us to understand the background and your expectations of our involvement. Arrange an initial discussion



Step 3: Review our recommendations

Following an initial discussion we will send you an email that includes:

  • Next steps recommendations - to provide a bespoke package of support. For example:
    • Assessments
    • Reports
    • Information gathering
    • Meeting
    • Interventions
    • Consultancy
    • Reviews
  • Costing - we will provide costings for any services recommended.


Step 4: Let's get started

On receipt of the next steps recommendations and costing you can decide how to proceed. Once you have decided contact us to arrange the chosen services.



How is Dysgraphia assessed?

We assess Dysgraphia by assessing the child or young person’s motor, sensory, perceptual and cognitive functions.

Examples of outcome measures we use include the following:

Detailed assessment of speed of handwriting (DASH)

The DASH is used to assess the speed of handwriting. During the assessment our psychologists can observe how the child or young person writes in terms of posture, facial expressions, strategies used alongside letter formation.

Free writing task

A free writing task will be used to assess the legibility of the child or young person’s writing.

Beery Visual-Motor Integration (VMI)

The Beery VMI is an assessment which looks at how a child or young person integrates what they see in connection with a movement, in this case writing or drawing.

Cognitive assessment

A cognitive assessment is used to create a profile of strengths and difficulties in addition to checking cognitive ability.

A combination of results related to written language, processing speed, fine motor, visual spatial and perceptual skills work together to form a conclusion relating to the child or young person’s needs.

Which assessments do we use for Dysgraphia?

The specific assessments used will be chosen based on the child or young person. The main assessments we use are:

  • DASH 17 - Detailed assessment of speed of handwriting measures; precision skills, fine motor skills, speed alteration and symbol production
  • Beery VMI - Beery-Buktenica developmental test of visual-motor integration measures the integration of motor and visual skills, motor co-ordination and visual perception
  • WAIS - Wechsler adult intelligence scale can measure; reasoning, retention of information, processing information, organisation of information, verbal comprehension
  • WISC-V - Wechsler intelligence scale for children is a cognitive assessment
  • BAS 3 - British ability scales can be used to assess children’s current intellectual functioning and measures; verbal ability, non-verbal reasoning, spatial ability, general conceptual ability, special non-verbal composite
  • WIAT - Wechsler individual achievement test measures; reading, comprehension and fluency, written expression, mathematics, total achievement

There are other assessments which may be used during a Dysgraphia assessment, if these are predicted beforehand then they will be discussed during the initial discussion. If it is thought during the initial discussion that it would be more appropriate for one of our in house occupational therapists (OTs) to carry out the DASH 17 and the Beery VMI then this would be discussed beforehand.

What happens after an assessment?

After an assessment we may recommend a targeted evidence-based intervention or strategies to be put in place. Following a period of intervention we would then carry out a re-assessment after 6 months to see if there has been an improvement. If there has been a significant improvement in handwriting following intervention then the intervention has been successful and can continue if required. If there has been no significant improvement in 6 months a diagnosis of Dysgraphia may be made and we can recommend further support strategies. A report will be provided following an assessment.

It is important to note that in some cases Dysgraphia may be a transient diagnosis as the child or young person continues to develop.

What interventions are available for Dysgraphia?

Recommendations for intervention would be suggested according to areas of need found during the assessment process, which may include working on a specific fine motor skill. Evidence-based handwriting interventions which have not previously been used may be recommended. A recommendation may involve focusing on alternative forms of written expression such as typing, or speech to text software, or mind mapping and notetaking strategies.

How much does an assessment for Dysgraphia cost?

An assessment for Dysgraphia can vary due to individual differences. The following costings are based on the average time an assessment and a report takes to complete:

  • Assessment and comprehensive report: £880
  • Assessment following intervention: £80
  • Feedback meeting: £160

We will be able to provide a formal quote following an initial discussion which allows us to learn more about the child or young person’s background and about interventions and assessments which may have taken place.

If you believe that you require a Dysgraphia assessment then please contact us to find out more.

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