Symptoms of Dysgraphia | Q and A

Dear Dr. Linda,

I’m writing because I have some questions about the symptoms of dysgraphia. Our four-year-old, Ethan, is having a real hard time learning to write. He still can’t remember how to write the letters of the alphabet, how to write the numbers or how to write his name.

What is the average age in which kids learn to write?  Does this mean he has dysgraphia? Ethan’s Parents

Dear Ethan’s Parents,

Children all learn at different times. Writing is natural part of child development. Children begin writing at a very young age. Preschoolers enjoy using crayons, markers and pencils to communicate creative ideas and to copy adults’ writing. Usually, children start writing letters in the alphabet, numbers and their names anywhere from three to five.

This doesn’t mean that the penmanship is perfect or even near perfect. Many of the letters and numbers are backwards, the size varies and lower and upper case are mixed up. And it doesn’t mean a child has dysgraphia, even if these things sound like the symptoms of dysgraphia.

When a child has difficulty learning how to write the alphabet, numbers or his name, he may simply be too young. He may not be ready. If he is developmentally ready to write still can’t remember letters and numbers, it may be a memory issue, a motor problem or both.

Talk to your pediatrician and his preschool teacher about your concerns. You can contact your public school district to see if it has a service to help determine why Ethan is having difficulty learning these skills.


Dr. Linda


To get fun activities that help kids with writing, pick up a free copy of  my Dysgraphia Toolkit: How Singing, Playing Games and Other Fun Activities Can Help Defeat Writing Disabilities.

For more on dysgraphia, please continue to our dysgraphia symptoms archive using the links below.


  1. Hello: My son is 6 1/2 years old and in first grade. He is a great reader and good at spelling on spelling test, however his sentance writing is bad. He will mispell words that he got right on spelling test, has trouble copying from a board to paper, spacing issues, trouble with lettters sitting on the line and when copying from a board he says that it looks like the letters and words get runny. He did have trouble in math the first quarter of school but we are working on that and he now is an A student in Math. Should we have him tested or does it just sound like a fine motor skill issue. We work on the sentances at home and he will do good as long as he has enough time to complete the work but at school he rushes because he is afraid he will get behind.

    Thank You

    • Dr. Linda Silbert says:

      Your son is only a couple of months into first grade. He does fine at home. I wouldn’t worry about his sentence writing at this point, and I wouldn’t have him tested. Keep encouraging him. Let him know that going a little slower is fine. Talk to his teacher. Watch his work as you’re doing now. I’m guessing he’ll do just fine in 2nd grade. If not, you can have him tested then if his teachers thinks such is a good idea.

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