Dysgraphia: Prevention and Treatment

Introduction

Dysgraphia is described as a neurological disorder that is typified by problems in learning such as issues in writing. In particular, Dysgraphia affects an individual’s writing and causes it to be warped or erroneous. In kids, Dysgraphia usually appears at the time that they are originally initiated to writing. The kids write in a manner that is characterized by incongruously sized and spaced alphabets. The kids can also write down incorrect words, despite meticulous tutoring from the teachers and educators. Kids with Dysgraphia may in addition illustrate other learning problems; though, they typically have no public /societal or any extra educational or intellectual issues. Case studies of dysgraphia in grown-ups normally transpire after some form of trauma has been experienced. Besides bad handwriting, the disorder is distinguished by incorrect or strange spelling and the creation of erroneous words. A good example of this would be how a child can be described as being a boy. The root cause of dysgraphia is mysterious, but in grown-ups, it is typically linked with injury to the parietal lobe that is located in the brain.

Types of learning disabilities

If one has learning disabilities, they are probably to be of standard or above-average intellect, but may still exhibit difficulty in processing fundamental mental courses of action which are related to language and perhaps other sectors that deal with subjects such as mathematics or planning. This complexity may be noticed in a variety of related actions, and particularly in a discrepancy between the measure of written tasks and oral understanding. Learning disabilities are mentally based as they do not result from factors touching on upbringing through environmental factors can also contribute to them. These forms of disabilities affect individuals of all social classes and racial settings.

Diverse terms are applied in the United Kingdom and North America to explain learning difficulties. In the United Kingdom, the expression dyslexia is frequently applied as an umbrella word to denote a range of disorders that are related to the area of verbal communication and mathematics, while in North America, dyslexia denotes difficulties related to the interpretation of words. The umbrella expression “learning disorders” is chosen to illustrate:

  • Dyslexia – complexity with the interpretation of the language that could inhibit reading, texts, and spelling abilities.
  • Dyscalculia – inhibited maths capability.
  • Dyspraxia – complexity with harmonization and manual agility.
  • Dysgraphia – issues with written texts, mainly handwritten words

Individuals with dysgraphia frequently are short of supplementary fine motor capabilities and maybe cross dominant, finding tasks such as tying shoes difficult. It often does not affect a large part of fine motor abilities. They can also be short of essential sentence construction and spelling abilities. A good illustration of this would be how an individual may have writing issues with certain alphabets such as p, q, b, and d.

Treatment

There are several remedies for dysgraphia disorder as discussed below; these treatments are based on the extent of the illness and the individual in question.

Medication

The antipsychotic process of medication is one of the psychiatric procedures used to counter the effects of the symptoms of the disease. Antipsychotics will suppress the positive effects of the psychosis symptoms; it will take about one to two weeks for it to be effective. Risperdal is one of the typical Antipsychotic used in the treatment procedure. Other tablets available for the medication process are haloperidol, trifluoperazine, and chlorpromazine. These medications are normally preferred for the initial treatment of the disorder (Castle, 2001). They however have side effects that tend to induce overweight and other fat-related diseases.

Use of nicotine

Based on several research and observation, it has been established that smoking tobacco reduces the extreme effects of dysgraphia. This finding has as a result led researchers to extract components of tobacco which are mainly nicotine and use them to administer treatment to the individuals with the disorder (Castle, 2001).

Social and psychological treatment

Psychotherapy is one of the remedies available for treating the disorder. One of the techniques available is therapy in cognitive behavior. This is normally based on the symptoms of the disorder, the medical procedure will thus target the major causes or symptoms that are being exhibited by an individual such as self-esteem and possible stimulation to counter the symptom is administered. Since the early 1990s, this form of therapy has proved reliable and effective for administering some of the symptoms of dysgraphia like psychotic (Sim, 2006). The cognitive form of therapy on the other hand will aim at administering the deficits in the neurocognitive state. Another therapy paramount to the medication process of the disorder is family or educational therapy (Sim, 2006). This form of therapy addresses the negative symptoms that are brought about by the disorder. The people around the patient will try to provide a positive view of what the patient perceives negatively.

Electroconvulsive form of therapy

This form of treatment is normally not recommended as the initial treatment procedure. This treatment method can only be employed in cases of advanced catatonia symptoms. This essentially means that other methods of treatment procedures have failed and in consequence, this option is the last. There are several guidelines to be followed when administering the procedure of such treatments, in the United Kingdom the NICE guidelines are meant for advanced symptoms of catatonia.

Prevention

Prevention of dysgraphia is still under research, there are no conclusive solutions of the procedures to be used to mitigate the disorder. Just as its causes are still unclear so is its prevention. Based on the already done research according to American Psychiatric Association (2000), several measures are recommended for individuals who are highly likely to pass the threshold of getting. Considering that dysgraphia cannot be conclusively attributed to genetics and the environment independently, it is imperative to involve measures that can mitigate the escalation of gene and environment factors (Brown, 2000).

One of the most fundamental prevention procedures that can be administered to an individual according to Bhugra (2006) is proper family care. When there are fewer family problems, there is little chance for an individual to develop symptoms related to dysgraphia. Family care plays an important role in managing stress, a factor that is considered one of the main causes of this mental illness (Sim, 2006). This is because dysgraphia in a way is linked to both environmental and genetic contributions. There are medication procedures that can be administered to an individual with potential signs of the disorder. The procedure administered to such an individual will aim at suppressing the symptoms of the disorder by the use of several curative therapies as prescribed by a physician.

The other most basic possible prevention of this mental illness is keeping away from alcohol and illegal drugs. This is because consumption or intake of these products contributes to the symptoms related to the illness. People who have both environmental and genetic possibilities of getting the ailment ought to stay away from illegal drugs or reduce the rate of alcohol consumption. This prevention is easy and the most effective way of reducing any chances of the disorder. It is also important to note that the prevention of the illness can be done by ensuring that the affected individual adheres to the medication procedure prescribed by a physician. Despite these proposals on possible prevention of the illness, the major cause and prevention of the disorder are still under scientific research. Recently according to (Bhugra, 2006), there has been some revelation on the biochemical process in genes that contributes to the symptoms common to this mental disorder. Scientists are consequently working on genetic therapy that may provide both prevention and treatment procedures for the illness.

When to seek help

One should seek medical help whenever they experience symptoms of the disorder or in an environment that can trigger the illness. Given the daily hustles of life, one is ought to be exposed to a different environment that may increase chances of getting the mental illness. It is therefore advisable to seek medical help early enough to avoid the extreme condition that may lead to the administration of extreme treatment procedures of the illness which are normally risky, such procedure is an electroconvulsive form of therapy.

An individual should also seek early medical help if his or her family has a history of dysgraphia disorders. Based on the contribution of both the environment and genetics, whenever there is an evident genetic revelation of possible dysgraphia illness in the family, it is recommended that the individual seeks medical help. In essence, this is done to ensure that the environmental factors do not sum up the genetic contributions and meet the threshold of developing this illness (Brown, 2000).

It is also advisable to seek help whenever the medication process being administered to a patient with dysgraphia is yielding undesired results. This is mainly because different people will react uniquely to different medication processes based on the genetic and bodily makeup of an individual. Some people may be allergic to a certain chemical present in medication tables like haloperidol, trifluoperazine, or even chlorpromazine according to Castle (2001).

Conclusion

There exist different views on the major causes of the disorder, a factor that has contributed to the existing debate. Despite this, there has been a clear link of the disorder symptoms to the genetics of the affected victim. It can thus be assumed that genetics is one cause of the disorder. Other causes of dysgraphia include; environment, psychological causes, neurobiology, and social variation are some of the few contributors of this disorder. Statistics and research that have been conducted over some time suggest that the initial diagnosis of dysgraphia is normally at the later stages of adolescence or early adulthood (Bhugra, 2006). This points to the cause of the disorder to both the environment and the hormonal changes that are evident at this stage of human life.

Despite different hypotheses put forward to explain the major causes of the disorder, it is evident that its consequences are severe and irritating to the victim. More so, statistical research has revealed that about 1 % of the world population suffers from the disorder. This figure is significant and consequently, researchers are working on ways of mitigating the disorder though expensive as explained by the American Psychiatric Association (2000). With the advancement in molecular biology through the aid of the ever-developing technology, there is hope to point down the major causes of dysgraphia disorder and find possible prevention to the disease.

Diagnosis of the disease is required for every person to know their status in advance. In each early detection, the chances of treatment and control become easier. Even though the disease does not affect academic abilities, the individual’s writing ability can be hampered and communication through writing is severed. This affects kids as they are in the learning stage where it requires them to absorb from the environment and write their thoughts and views. In grownups, the disease mostly affects psychological professionals since they must familiarize themselves with the unique characteristics of an affected individual before an accurate diagnosis and provision of an ideal remedy. It can be defined based on the situational context. The environmental and social setting determines how behavior is labeled. For instance, behavior that would normally be disorderly in one culture would be classified orderly in another culture.

References

American Psychiatric Association (2000). “Dysgraphia”. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. P. 23-34.

Bhugra, D. (2006). “The global prevalence of dysgraphia”. PLoS Medicine 2 (5): 372– 373.

Brown, S., Barraclough, B., & Inskip. (2000). “Causes of the excess mortality of dysgraphia”. British Journal of Psychiatry 177: 212–7.

Castle, D., Wesseley, S., Der, G., & Murray, R. (2001). The incidence of operationally defined dysgraphia in Camberwell 1965–84. British Journal of Psychiatry,159(8),790–794.

Sim, K., Chua, T., Chan,Y., Mahendran, R., & Chong, S. (2006). Psychiatric comorbidity in first episode dysgraphia: a 2 year, longitudinal outcome study. Journal of Psychiatric Research 40 (7): 656–63.

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