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Dysgraphia - What age for diagnosis?


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#1 Prancer is coming

Posted 22 December 2018 - 10:07 PM

My eldest child has dysgraphia along with a few other things., diagnosed at 8.  His brother who is 6 and just finished first full time year of school has some similar symptoms.  After being on the wait list for an OT for months, and spending several terms trying to see the school psych, I finally ended up seeing these speciliasts - just as school was finishing.

OT did beery test which put him lower than the bottom 10% in his visual integration.  She ran some other tests and does not think the issue is motor based.  We see her again in a few weeks to start some session.

I have not seen the congnitive report from the school psych,  but I got a verbal report.  I think he was low average for working memory.  she could not give a score for processing speed due to him bombing a test where she thought he needed the toilet, but she did another test which reassured her he was not below in this area.  Other areas were all fine, and academic tests showed him strong in maths and comprehension (a few scores in high average or superior)  and spelling borderline.  The stuff he went worst on all involved symbols which he obviously cannot distinguish.  Psych is not prepared to diagnose with a specific learning disability at this stage, but also not willing to say he does not have a learning disability.

So I imagined he’d see the OT and hopefully have some improvement (mind you, I have done a fair bit at home) or if not, he’d probably be diagnosed.  But now I am wondering if 6 would be deemed as too young?  How young was your child and do you think a diagnosis would be likely at this age?

#2 Nebula

Posted 23 December 2018 - 01:55 AM

My son was 8 when he was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalcula (woo-hoo) I get to add ADHD into the mix too. My niece was diagnosed at I think 6 (maybe 7). Finding the right person to diagnose is the trick, I knew there was something they were missing and I hunted high and low until I found someone who would listen to me

#3 Poppie1

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:04 AM

I am having difficulty finding who does the diagnosis? We have seen a private psychologist and speech therapist and school counselor but i have been told there isnt 'a particular test' that identifies this? Any recommendations, our DS just turned 7.

#4 atthebeach

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:07 AM

if visual integration is a problem, then perhaps vision therapy could be more useful than o/t?

#5 José

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:32 AM

View PostPoppie1, on 23 December 2018 - 06:04 AM, said:

I am having difficulty finding who does the diagnosis? We have seen a private psychologist and speech therapist and school counselor but i have been told there isnt 'a particular test' that identifies this? Any recommendations, our DS just turned 7.

its generally a psychologist but info from other clinicians eg speech and OT is helpful.
generally there is a requirement that a student has participated in an evidence based intervention program prior to a diagnosis being finalised.


#6 Prancer is coming

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:40 AM

View PostPoppie1, on 23 December 2018 - 06:04 AM, said:

I am having difficulty finding who does the diagnosis? We have seen a private psychologist and speech therapist and school counselor but i have been told there isnt 'a particular test' that identifies this? Any recommendations, our DS just turned 7.

I had this trouble first time around.  I started with a speechie who after lots of testing refered me to an OT who diagnosed.  Both these were private.  School psych confirmed later when other issues were being followed up.  This time I am seeing public OT and I asked before attending if she could diagnose, obviously only if he had it.  I also asked the school psych too if she could.  Apparently public OT is less likely to diagnose quickly, but I really only want a diagnosis if it is a true one.  Just so much easier to get adjustments, but the school will do him a learning plan anyway.  Good luck finding the right people, it really isn’t a clear path.

At the beach, I really am not sure about what the berry test measures!  There were different bits in there thst measured different things.  I assume I would be referred on if it was deemed helpful.  My other child saw an orthopist and i will check if this one needs to do.  We don’t have a huge range of therapist options where we live.

Thanks all, and Nebula, oh no for getting all 3 learning disabilities.  ADHD may be an issue too, it is for the other one.

#7 Prancer is coming

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:49 AM

View PostJosé, on 23 December 2018 - 06:32 AM, said:



its generally a psychologist but info from other clinicians eg speech and OT is helpful.
generally there is a requirement that a student has participated in an evidence based intervention program prior to a diagnosis being finalised.

Thanks, I figured this was the case.  Last time my son did an extensive handwriting program.  We start sessions with the OT for my youngest in a few weeks so I figured she’d be in the position to know at the end of the sessions.  School is also putting specific writing things in his learning plan and psych and OT should be talking to each other (psych is aware of OT tests, and was meant to be talking to OT about the psych testing), so everything should be in place and hopefully age won’t be a huge barrier.

Edited by Prancer is coming, 23 December 2018 - 06:50 AM.


#8 Fizgig

Posted 23 December 2018 - 11:34 AM

A diagnosis for a Specific Learning Disorder (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia) can only be given after the child has received 6 months of specific evidence based intervention. SO while an initial assessment may show signs of dysgraphia a diagnosis can't be given until after intervention. OT would be the correct intervention to be doing for the difficulties you mention OP. If no significant improvements are made in six months then you should be able to get a diagnosis after that.

Between six years and eight years you can also see a lot of general developmental variation so a lot of clinicians prefer to wait until 8 for a formal diagnosis.

#9 mayahlb

Posted 23 December 2018 - 11:48 AM

We were told 8. It’s only happened at 9 after yet again more intensive writing intervention (he’s dyslexic as well).

On the adhd part mentioned. If this is factor you may find writing improves once the adhd is addressed. Older child has dysgraphia and we were watching the younger for similar writing issues and it seemed he was going down the same path but then “something” clicked/changed and suddenly things improved out of sight. We still did targeted intervention, but I suspect it was more about maturity and development then dysgraphia in the end. (He does have adhd)

#10 Rhoxie

Posted 23 December 2018 - 01:15 PM

We didn't get my eldest's diagnosis until 13. It was a long journey. However he had no O.T. issues so it did make it harder because they tend to look at that first.

#11 BRB

Posted 23 December 2018 - 03:36 PM

Sorry to hijack your thread OP. My DS 8 teacher has suggested we get him testing for Dysgraphia, I’ve made the initial appointments to get him tested but it’s all new to me and came as a bit of a surprise (but makes sense). Can anyone tell me what happens from here? After a diagnosis, what then?


#12 LittleMissPink

Posted 23 December 2018 - 05:37 PM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 03:36 PM, said:

Sorry to hijack your thread OP. My DS 8 teacher has suggested we get him testing for Dysgraphia, I’ve made the initial appointments to get him tested but it’s all new to me and came as a bit of a surprise (but makes sense). Can anyone tell me what happens from here? After a diagnosis, what then?

Then you start the fight to have accommodations made at school. A scribe for exams, oral exams, typing lessons, technology, etc

Also, access requests to OT at school, plus private OT if you can afford it.

Edited by LittleMissPink, 23 December 2018 - 05:39 PM.


#13 ballogo

Posted 23 December 2018 - 05:45 PM

A little boy in my class was diagnosed last year l he was 8 or 9 years old. He had extensive O.T. for a couple of years. Dysgraphia was talked about but O.T. wouldn't diagnose formally until he was 8 or 9 years old. She then did a test of which I can't remember the name.  It was quite extensive and very detailed clearly outlining his difficulties in writing.

He is now one year after diagnosis and this year's teacher worked hard on other strategies to enable him to communicate his ideas.

#14 Prancer is coming

Posted 23 December 2018 - 05:57 PM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 03:36 PM, said:

Sorry to hijack your thread OP. My DS 8 teacher has suggested we get him testing for Dysgraphia, I’ve made the initial appointments to get him tested but it’s all new to me and came as a bit of a surprise (but makes sense). Can anyone tell me what happens from here? After a diagnosis, what then?

Hyjack away, I remember how confused I was first time around!  The diagnosis had two main impacts on my eldest.  Firstly, he got an individual learning plan at school that spelled out adjustments - using a computer, being asked for the answer verbally, help with planning and extra time for tests.  Whilst it is still a work in progress, it is better.

Secondly, it is just about knowing and also the impact that has on the kid and teacher.  DS Struggled before diagnosis and then before proper adjustments made -  in trouble at school, disengaged, self esteem low and anxiety low.  He was failing subjects (as written component is main way of getting knowledge out).  Then an IQ test showed he met the school’s requirements for a gifted student.  He is actually now doing great at school.  Some teachers would call him lazy, and even occasionally now if he is with a different teacher they comment about his poor writing.  Now he knows what is going on, sort of makes it a bit easier for him.

My little one now hates anything to do with pens.  He would actually rather write than draw.  He is well aware that anything he produces is different to what others in his class do, and occasionally teachers will not be happy with him for how he produces his work.  His learning plan for next year will include handwriting tasks that need to be done at school and where he needs specific help from the teacher.

#15 mayahlb

Posted 23 December 2018 - 06:24 PM

We fought and are strongly requesting accommodations. My child has a range of issues relating to learning anyway so we present it as this is how he can access the curriculum with his peers. Most of it is about using technology such as typing where other children write their work. Spellcheck/autocorrect etc is turned off so there is no advantage that way. We are also working on using voice to text for some tasks. It’s only fairly recent for us so next year will likely be more about what accomodations we can access. (Our issue is that he also has a speech delay so oral assessments instead of written don’t work for us either).

#16 BRB

Posted 23 December 2018 - 09:47 PM

Thank you! Another naive question. You all mention “fight for accomodations”. Is this something schools generally don’t understand/accomodate or is it a case of fighting for more than what they are willing to assist with?

#17 BRB

Posted 23 December 2018 - 09:55 PM

View PostLittleMissPink, on 23 December 2018 - 05:37 PM, said:



Then you start the fight to have accommodations made at school. A scribe for exams, oral exams, typing lessons, technology, etc

Also, access requests to OT at school, plus private OT if you can afford it.

Little Miss Pink, OT at school would I not have to pay for that aswell?



#18 ballogo

Posted 23 December 2018 - 11:49 PM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 09:47 PM, said:

Thank you! Another naive question. You all mention “fight for accomodations”. Is this something schools generally don’t understand/accomodate or is it a case of fighting for more than what they are willing to assist with?

I can only speak from my experience as a teacher - I hope it is okay to respond in this forum.

Whenever we receive a report, there is usually a page of recommendations on the last page ie. what we can do in the classroom.  Whilst the report remains in a secure file at the office we usually photocopy the last page.  We then try to enact which ever accommodations we can.

In the case of the student I had last year, even prior to diagnosis we had tried various strategies including allowing him to type using a key board (larger than the netbook keyboard) and scribing for him when we were interested in his understandings and not in how he could write his responses. He used different paper for writing, which had each line space as a different colour.  I was also working with him in a different manner to plan his writing.

These accommodations were documented in a Learning Plan.  This year the teacher followed on with these strategies and instigated other strategies from the report.

We think we may have to investigate speech-to-text technologies in the future and so we've let our technology department know so that we can investigate and have some ideas prior to him requiring it.

#19 LittleMissPink

Posted 24 December 2018 - 06:43 AM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 09:47 PM, said:

Thank you! Another naive question. You all mention “fight for accomodations”. Is this something schools generally don’t understand/accomodate or is it a case of fighting for more than what they are willing to assist with?

Some, not all, schools do not regard specific learning delays as "important" because the children that have them, generally do not attract funding unless they also have a low IQ.

Therefore, making the effort to help these kids is not worth it in the school's eyes because it will cost time and money.

However there are wonderful teachers out there who will do their best to help, and I hope you are able to find one of those.

#20 LittleMissPink

Posted 24 December 2018 - 06:46 AM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 09:55 PM, said:

Little Miss Pink, OT at school would I not have to pay for that aswell?

No, they are Education department OT's. They can refer your child to them, they will come and do an assessment, and give the school all the strategies and accomodations that they recommend. Its unlikely to be weekly therapy, more like once a term, and there may be a long wait, but if the school can get your child on the OT's books, it will be better for them.

You will have to pay for private therapy if you are hoping for a quicker improvement.

#21 LittleMissPink

Posted 24 December 2018 - 06:54 AM

FWIW, my 15 yr old was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia in primary school and got nothing. NADA.

In grade 7 she was also given the dysgraphia and dyscalculia diagnosis, and again, nothing. No accomodations, no learning plans, no concessions.

She has a low-normal IQ.

I now homeschool her. And she gets everything tested orally. I dont ask her to write, she chooses when she wants to and what she writes about. We work through maths together. She reads what she can, and learns in other ways.

My 9 yr old also has dysgraphia (undiagnosed) however she has a physical delay verified by the school and is a funded student. She gets accomodations-technology, oral testing, scribe for some things, extra time, teacher aide time, 1-1 tutoring. Her grade 3 teacher has been fabulous. She is about to get an ICP for maths and literacy.

It really does depend on the school and the teacher. I hope that your childs teacher is one of the good ones.

#22 José

Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:34 AM

View PostLittleMissPink, on 24 December 2018 - 06:46 AM, said:



No, they are Education department OT's. They can refer your child to them, they will come and do an assessment, and give the school all the strategies and accomodations that they recommend. Its unlikely to be weekly therapy, more like once a term, and there may be a long wait, but if the school can get your child on the OT's books, it will be better for them.

You will have to pay for private therapy if you are hoping for a quicker improvement.

not all schools have access to OTs.


#23 Prancer is coming

Posted 24 December 2018 - 01:36 PM

View PostBRB, on 23 December 2018 - 09:47 PM, said:

Thank you! Another naive question. You all mention “fight for accomodations”. Is this something schools generally don’t understand/accomodate or is it a case of fighting for more than what they are willing to assist with?

Technology has been a battle for us.  We got DS an iPad, with the school’s recommendation but it could not connect to the internet.  Our school does not have byod and the only was to give him access was a staff account (that was never going to happen) or some complicated arrangement with every student needing to complete a form incase they saw him accessing stuff on his own device.

The school will now purchase a device to get round this, but that seems to be taking a while!  Apparently new beaut technology is coming out so they are waiting for that....

The support teacher is fabulous in every other way though.  And DS got straight b’s on his report card this year, so something is happening with his learning as last year there were some D’s and he was disengaged.

#24 LittleMissPink

Posted 24 December 2018 - 01:52 PM

View PostJosé, on 24 December 2018 - 10:34 AM, said:

not all schools have access to OTs.

And even schools that do, cant. My DD has had a referral in grade 1, 2 and 3, and still hasnt seen the OT. She's just too busy. Maybe gr4 will be our turn.

#25 Pooks Combusted

Posted 24 December 2018 - 02:31 PM

DS almost certainly has dysgraphia but we’ve been advised it wouldn’t be formally diagnosed until around grade 3 and that the best approach is early intervention with an OT. He had similar results on the beery and very high visual perception scores so it frustrates the hell out of him.




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