Optical dysgraphia symptoms classification diagnostic correction

Optical dysgraphia

Optical dysgraphia is a writing disorder caused by the lack of formation of visual, spatial and motor processes. It is manifested by persistent substitutions of letters similar in writing, their mirrored arrangement, errors in the outline of individual letter elements (omissions, doubling). It is diagnosed based on the results of the analysis of the child’s school notebooks, examination of written speech, neuropsychological testing. Work on the correction of optical dysgraphia includes several components: the development of higher visual functions, motor coordination, differentiation of mixed letters. In this article we will provide you the information about Optical dysgraphia symptoms classification

General information

Optical dysgraphia is a disorder of written language due to the lack of a stable visual image of the letter. In the general structure of writing disorders, pure optical dysgraphia occurs much less frequently than other forms: in 1.3% of primary school students. The mistakes that the child makes in writing are not related to the state of oral speech or knowledge of the spelling rules, but are caused by the underdevelopment of optical-spatial functions. The same mechanism underlies visual difficulties in reading – optical dyslexia .

The reasons

The problem of optical dysgraphia arises with insufficient development of visual-spatial orientations, motor coordination. This makes it difficult for the child to assimilate the visual and graphic image of the letter, complicates the initial stage of learning to write. Factors leading to minimal cerebral dysfunction are the prerequisites for the deficiency of visual representations :

  • burdened antenatal history : intrauterine hypoxia , the effect on the fetus of chemicals (nicotine, alcohol, medicinal and narcotic substances), Rh-conflict , anemia and toxicosis of the pregnant woman ;
  • perinatal risk factors : premature birth , cesarean section, intracranial birth trauma ;
  • postnatal lesions : neuroinfection , dystrophy, TBI , intoxication.

The listed hazards have a damaging effect on the brain centers that provide visual coordination of the writing process. In addition to organic causes in early childhood, social factors have a significant impact on the development of the child. For the subsequent formation of optical dysphgraphia, the most significant are pedagogical neglect , underdevelopment of fine motor skills, an unfavorable microclimate in the family, and hospitalism . Mirror writing is common among left-handers.


Researchers studying optical dysgraphia associate its mechanism with the inability of the brain to quickly and accurately process incoming visual information. In a number of scientific observations, the lack of visual perception and control, the mismatch of visual-motor coordination have been experimentally confirmed.

The leading pathogenetic link in the case of optical dysgraphia is the inferiority of the functioning of the speech analyzer, due to which visual differentiations suffer. Disorders in the thalamus are identified, affecting the speed and quality of graphic symbols processing. In such conditions, it becomes difficult to form the visual-kinetic scheme of the letter and the integral image of the word.


In the structure of optical dysgraphia, three subspecies are distinguished, differing in the mechanism and type of errors. They can occur both independently of each other and combined with each other or with other forms of dysgraphia:

  • literal dysgraphia – incorrect outline of an isolated letter;
  • verbal dysgraphia – substitutions and mixing of optically similar letters in a word;
  • mirror writing – writing words from left to right, “reflected” (turned in the opposite direction) the image of letters.

A number of authors-researchers in the field of modern speech therapy consider motor (kinetic) dysgraphia to be one of the types of optical dysgraphia. It is a consequence of the unpreparedness of the hand for writing: stiffness, awkwardness, inability to perform differentiated movements. This leads to distortion of the motor circuitry of the letter.

Symptoms of optical dysgraphia

The prerequisites for the subsequent violation of writing can be noticed even in preschool age. In the process of drawing, children are poorly oriented on a sheet of paper, depict details disproportionate in scale. They are characterized by poor visual memory, underdevelopment of fine motor skills, inaccurate ideas about the color and shape of objects. Children may confuse fork and spoon, felt tip and pencil, right and left hand.

In the process of mastering writing in elementary school, children reveal very specific errors associated with difficulties in assimilating graphic symbols. For optical dysgraphia, visual, motor, visual-spatial, visual-motor errors are typical:

  • replacement of optically similar letters, differing in superscript and subscript elements (friend – around, edge-description);
  • replacement of letters consisting of similar, but different in number of elements (milk – momoko);
  • skipping elements when connecting letters to a word or adding extra elements;
  • writing letters in mirror image (s, e, e);
  • incorrect arrangement of letter elements (t – pp, x – ss);
  • different letter sizes ( micrography and macrography ), mixing of lowercase and uppercase letters;
  • non-observance of the line of the line, the slope of letters, the spacing between words (too large or small distance).

A child with optical dyslexia suffers from reading skills. Incorrect recognition of letters, reading from right to left, missing words, reading only one half of a word or phrase are noted.


The main consequence of any dysgraphia, including optical dysgraphia, is school failure. The child is labeled as “lagging behind” in the Russian language and literatureMotivation to learn is reduced, and every classroom lesson and homework is stressful. A reluctance to attend school is strengthened, neurotic reactions , withdrawal, aggressiveness are formed . Conflicts with teachers may arise.


Optical dysgraphia is diagnosed by a school speech therapist . It is desirable that the specialist has the skills of neuropsychological examination . At the first stage, students’ written works are analyzed in order to identify typical dysgraphic errors. The further algorithm assumes:

  • Research of non-speech functions. With optical dysgraphia, an assessment of visual functions, visual-spatial gnosis, and motor coordination is necessary. The child is invited to reproduce the drawing according to the model as accurately as possible, to finish the missing parts of the whole, to identify the “noisy” pictures, to find the shadow of the object. Studied kinesthetic and dynamic praxis, constructive activity.
  • Study writing . Includes tasks for copying printed and handwritten letters, syllables, sentences, text. As part of the diagnosis, auditory dictations, statements are carried out, the student’s independent writing is analyzed.
  • Study of reading skill. The child is invited to read the text aloud, answer the questions posed by the speech therapist, and retell. At this stage, attention is paid to the method, fluency, correct reading, reading comprehension. Optical dysgraphia symptoms classification

All tests presented for optical dysgraphia reveal weak visual and kinesthetic memory, poor spatial orientation, and inertia of the motor stereotype. Differential diagnosis is carried out with other types of dysgraphia: acoustic, articulatory-acoustic, agrammatic, on the basis of impaired analytic-synthetic language activity, dysorphography

Correction of optical dysgraphia

Speech therapy classes to overcome the optical form of dysgraphia are multimodal. At the same time, the interaction of a speech therapist, an elementary school teacher and parents is extremely important. Correctional work includes the following areas:

  • Development of visual functions (gnostic, mnestic). Work is underway to expand the volume of visual memory, clarify the colors and shape of the object. The child is taught to recognize objects along the contour, to highlight superimposed images. In the future, the emphasis is shifted to the recognition and differentiation of similar letters, the correlation of the image of the letter with objects.
  • Formation of spatial representations. In children with optical dysgraphia, it is necessary to develop spatial orientation in the environment, on their own body, on a notebook sheet. Within the framework of this direction, they are working on the differentiation of the concepts “left-right”, “top-bottom”, “front-back”. Analyze the mutual arrangement of objects, letters, numbers.
  • Development of graphomotor skillsAt the initial stage, finger exercises , self-massage and massage of the hands , palms, and sujok therapy are performed . To prepare the brush for writing, games using small objects, modeling, shading, stroking along a contour and a stencil, collecting mosaics and constructors are useful. Then they move on to graphic dictations, practicing the writing of letter elements.
  • Formation of letter gnosis. Within the framework of this direction, the problem of differentiating letters that have similarity in optical and kinetic characteristics is being solved. Pupils practice in constructing letters, folding letters from separate elements, recognizing them by touch, etc. Bourdon’s proofreading test has a proven effectiveness.

At the final stage, the connections between the sound and its graphic symbol are fixed. Various written exercises are used for training. It is advisable to teach the child to write with speaking first aloud, then “to himself.”

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