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Dysgraphia Differs Between Children With Developmental Coordination Disorder and/or Reading Disorder.

Handwriting deficits, or dysgraphia, are present in several neurodevelopmental disorders. To investigate whether dysgraphia differs according to the associated disorder, we performed a detailed analysis of handwriting in children with developmental coordination disorders (DCD), reading disorder (RD), or comorbid RD and DCD. Handwriting deficits were investigated at the product (quality of the trace) and the process (movement that generates the trace) levels. Nineteen children with singular RD (among which eight with dysgraphia), 13 children with singular DCD (among which seven with dysgraphia), 16 children with comorbid RD+DCD (among which 11 with dysgraphia), and 20 typically developing children, age 7 to 12, performed the BHK (Brave Handwriting Kinder) test, a standardized assessment of handwriting, on a graphic tablet. Developmental coordination disorders primarily affected handwriting quality, while RD affected slowness and, to a lesser extent, quality. Children with RD, solely or comorbid with DCD, wasted time by lifting and stopping the pen when writing. The comorbidity added to but did not worsen, handwriting difficulties. These results reflect distinct motor impairments and/or strategies in children with DCD or RD. We identified subtypes of dysgraphia and advocated for a fine-grained analysis of the writing process and the assessment of motor and reading skills when studying dysgraphia.

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