Disorder of Written Expression

Many children do not like to write, but sometimes it goes beyond a dislike. These children may have a disorder of written expression, which impact approximately 3-5 percent of the population. For these individuals, their writing skills are significantly weaker than expected when compared to their cognitive ability and educational background.

 There can be many processing deficits that go into a disorder of written expression. For instance, many individuals with an attention deficit disorder have difficulty organizing their thoughts on paper. They may have creative ideas, but are unable to plan and organize the information. Weakness in expressive language can also impact a person’s writing skills. When someone has difficulty expressing themselves verbally, it also impacts their written communication. Another processing area that can impact writing is, dysgraphia (developmental coordination disorder). Dysgraphia is a disorder that impacts a person’s fine motor control and handwriting. Often when a student has difficulty in the quality and ease of their penmanship it can impact their written expression. The student may be putting all their effort into penmanship, that they have less resources dedicated to the writing process. Individuals with spelling difficulties, such as dyslexia, also are at risk for writing difficulties. When the student is unsure how to spell, they tend to decrease the vocabulary and quantity in their writing.

When having your child evaluated for a disorder of written expression it is important that the evaluator assess all of the processing areas to determine why writing is challenging. If your child is performing below expectations in writing tasks, a comprehensive evaluation can determine if there is a disorder and identify the processing weaknesses. 

Written by: Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S

Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com