Dysgraphia and Handwriting Difficulties related to Tourette Syndrome


Dysgraphia is defined as difficulty with handwriting (as seen above), regardless of the student’s ability to read.  Dysgraphia is not always related to an intellectual disability.  Handwriting can appear distorted or very difficult to read.  Dysgraphia typically is present around initial stages of learning to write.  In addition, many students who have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome can demonstrate signs of dysgraphia. Some typical presentations of dysgraphia are:

  • Frustration or aversive behaviors with writing tasks
  • Poor letter formation and sizing
  • Difficulty with writing on lines or certain paper formats
  • Letter reversals when writing
  • Takes increased time to complete simple writing tasks
  • Difficulty with holding the pencil properly
  • Frequent erasing during writing
  • Fatigue after simple writing tasks
  • And many more…


In order to ensure success for your student, there are many training and compensatory programs available.  Pediatric Occupational Therapists are widely trained in the management of dysgraphia. There might be various causes for the handwriting limitations, so it must be fully evaluated by a trained professional in order to ensure best success.  With dysgraphia, school can be a big challenge.  Therefore, some basic school strategies can include (but are not limited to):

  • Allowing increased time to complete writing tasks
  • Decrease writing work load (maybe only do even or odd numbered tasks)
  • Using a scribe or peer model for writing
  • Explore use of typing agent
  • Explore adaptive paper and writing devices
  • Allow writing in a different rooms if tics interfere with writing
  • Provide written notes or PowerPoints for long writing tasks


Contact your local physician to inquire about obtaining an Occupational Therapy referral further information regarding dysgraphia.



Picture taken from: https://www.zazzle.com/dysgraphia_isnt_just_bad_handwriting_bumper_sticker-128194499563268088



About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L