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What is dysorthographia

Dysorthography is known as a spelling disorder within so-called writing disorders. It can be defined as "the group of errors affecting writing but not layout or spelling." (García Vidal, 1989). It refers to the significant difficulty in transcribing the written code accurately, i.e. the great difficulties in the association between the written code, spelling and writing rules of words. These difficulties lie in the association between sound and spelling or in the integration of spelling rules, or both.

An orthograhic mistake is, for example, write /vottle/ instead of /bottle/, or /ban/, instead of /van/.

What is the cause of dysorthography?

If a pupil writes with orthographical mistakes, it could be due to:

  • Perceptual Causes

  • Intellectual Causes

  • Affective-emotional causes: low motivation (which affects in the sense of not maintaining the necessary attention despite knowing spelling rules)

But not all these causes are dysorthograhy.

This problem has its origin in some areas of the brain functioning. If the mistakes have the origin in motivational or emotional problems or the child has a mental, visual, auditive handicap, we can´t talk those mistakes as a dysorthography disease.

What errors can be found in the writing of a child with dysorthography ?

  • Deficiencies in spatio-temporal perception of the child.

  • Deficiencies in visual or auditory perception.

  • Slurring of phonemes which translates into writing.

Can dysorthography be cured?

Early intervention in any learning difficulty helps foster prognosis, minimises the consequences and effectively corrects errors. The intensity of learning difficulties will directly influence the improvement of processes.

It is necessary therefore to work in a coherent, organized and consistent manner and avoid as much as possible the negative consequences that are usually associated with learning difficulties, and we will ensure that their impact on the learning process of the child is minimized

From what age can Dysorthography be diagnosed?

Never before age 7, once the reading writing process has been acquired.

How can we help to our children with dysorthography

Attitude of family:

- Keep calm when there are misspellings. Many times we show anger but simply do not teach them how to solve the problem.

- Do not convey our excessive worry to the child about spelling.

- Motivate them to use correct writing. Encourage them to write letters, to participate in literary competitions, etc.

- Be a good example to the child in the area of good writing.

Respect their way of learning:

- Observing their way of memorising : if their memory is mainly auditive, they will learn better by spelling words out loud; if it is visual, they will need to write them down.

Some prefer to read the lesson ten times and others need to put it into their own words to understand it well.

- Ideas: play with word lists (for example, invent a funny phrase with a word, look for other words that rhyme,). Use a blackboard for the child to play at being the teacher.

Work on the visual image of the word more than the learning of rules.

- The bottom line is acquiring the habit of correct writing, with reiterative methodology to reinforce visual memory, this can be with dictation with the text being previously known so the image and structure of difficult words are written correctly.

Specific Exercises: creating stories, letters, riddles, poems, tongue twisters, comics, varied writing situations with topics of interest to the student

- Using a dictionary. As a tool to check the form of the word and relate with others of the same lexical family.

Play to reduce pressure: Spelling should become a relaxed game, unconnected to study, which values the child and gives back confidence. For example: play charades, invent words from 3 animals, and create absurd phrases.

- Work on the words using all senses : Hear , pronounce correctly, understand meaning; imagine , write highlighting the most difficult letters; write other words of the same family, compose oral and written phrases; put up posters, make cards with the word, etc.

- Encourage Reading: Avid readers have a better ability to spell.