Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia & Dyspraxia
"The Four D's"

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Dyspraxia are referred to usually as the 4 D's of neurodevelopmental disorders.  

All four can significantly impact a child's learning. 

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, approximately one in five children in the United States have challenges with learning or attention.

Dyslexia: 5-10% of the population

Dysgraphia: 5-20% of the population

Dyscalculia: 3-6% of the population

Dyspraxia: 5-10% of the population
boy writing spelling on board Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia & Dyspraxia sensory processing disorder SPD sensory learning

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that mainly affects reading and language based processing skills. Dyslexia are when a child has difficulties with word recognition and spelling. Children who struggle with dyslexia may have difficulty connecting letters and words with the meanings and that can lead to reading and writing challenges.

Types of Dyslexia

Phonological dyslexia is a common type of dyslexia that affects the ability to recognize and the sounds in words.

Surface dyslexia is a type of dyslexia that affects a child's ability to recognize words by sight and that can lead to challenges when a child reads irregular words.

Rapid naming deficit is a type of dyslexia that affects the ability to quickly name objects, colors or letters and that can impact a child's ability to read. 

children holding abc's with a book who have dyslexia dyslexia symptoms
Dyslexia Symptoms
- reads something slowly or more than once to understand
- difficulty pronouncing multi-syllable words
- adds letters in words while writing
- struggles to find the right word
- loses place on the page, skips lines or rereads lines
- difficulty copying words from another paper
- misspells many common words
- difficulty with spelling, writing and reading
- difficulty remembering the entire alphabet
- recognizes a word on one page but not on the next page
- reads words in the wrong order
- often confuses left and right
- confuses letters with similar shape (b & d)
- struggles to find words that rhyme
- struggles to read time on clock or tie shoes

Dysgraphia is a learning disorder that affects a child's handwriting and can also affect their fine motor skills too. A child who has Dysgraphia may have difficulties with spelling, grammar, and organizing thoughts when writing on paper. Children who struggle with dysgraphia may have difficulty  forming letters, words and their writing may be illegible or slow.

Types of Dysgraphia

Dyslexic dysgraphia is a type of dysgraphia that is often associated with dyslexia that cause a child to have difficulties with spelling and letter formation.

Motor dysgraphia is a type of dysgraphia that is caused by motor difficulties that often lead to a child struggling with their handwriting and their fine motor skills too.

Dysgraphia Symptoms
- incorrect use of capitals
- not including words in sentences
- not using the correct words
- poor or unreadable handwriting
writing slowly and incorrect spelling
- mixing printing letter with cursive letters
- incomplete words and 
often erasing
- misuse of lines and margins
- awkward body position
- writing too large or too small
- inappropriate spacing between letters
- speaking out what they are writing 
- feeling tired after writing a short amount
- tight grip while they are writing
- holding pencil/pen in odd positions 
- they have difficulty writing notes in school
- difficulty thinking of words to write
- avoids writing
- unusual paper position while writing
- unfinished sentences
- pain/cramps in fingers while writing
a child with dysgraphia holding lined writing paper and another child holding a big pencil who has dysgraphia trying to write Dysgraphia symptoms

Dyscalculia is a learning disorder that impacts a child's ability to learn and understand mathematical concepts.. If a child has dyscalculia they may struggle with basic arithmetic, math problem solving and understanding basic math. 

Types of Dyscalculia

Developmental dyscalculia is a type of dyscalculia that is a learning disability that affects a child's basic mathematic skills. 

Acquired dyscalculia is a type of dyscalculia that can happen after a brain injury or stroke, leading to difficulties with math-related tasks.

child with Dyscalculia Symptoms trying to count money and do the math for his money Dyscalculia Symptoms
Dyscalculia Symptoms
- difficulty recognizing patterns
- copies numbers out of order
- map reading difficulties
- difficulty with math tasks
- uses fingers to count
- difficulty counting objects
- guesses math answers or 
reverses numbers
- gets into trouble to avoid doing math
- struggles to remember multiplication
- difficulty reading charts and graphs
- frequent headaches while doing math
- difficulties with math word problems
- poor self esteem and doesn't feel smart
- confuses math symbols - or +
- struggles to count money or make change
- struggles to remember basic math facts
- struggles to count in two's, three's or five's
- difficulty understanding math words
- has trouble learning and naming numbers
- gets emotional while doing math

Dyspraxia is also known as developmental coordination disorder. (DCD) It is a neurological disorder that affects a child's coordination and their motor skills too. If a child has dyspraxia they usually struggle with fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance and coordination too.

Types of Dyspraxia

Verbal dyspraxia is a type of dyspraxia that can affect a child's ability to plan and coordinate the movements needed for speech.

Motor dyspraxia is a type of dyspraxia can affect a child's ability to coordinate and plan the movements they need for different motor tasks.

- easily distressed and having meltdowns
- difficulties in establishing routine
- sensitive to loud noises
- difficulty with fine motor skills
- difficulty climbing or 
- sleeping difficulties
- struggles to get dressed and tie shoes
- poor control of the oral motor muscles
- struggles to play ball games
- difficulty timing movements
- poor body awareness
- hypotonia or low muscle tone
- speech and language processing delays
- slow motor reactions
- visual-spatial difficulties
- difficulties with social skills
- poor handwriting skills
- swinging feet while seated
- no sense of danger or 
short attention span
- awkward movements
child with dyspraxia symptoms stretching to do yoga dyspraxia symptoms

The 4 D's and sensory processing disorder are connected often. 
A child who struggles with dyslexia may have difficulty processing the visual information associated with reading or a child who has dyspraxia may have difficulty processing proprioceptive and vestibular information related to motor skills and coordination.

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Dyspraxia are all different disorders that can significantly impact a child's differently and their ability to learn, communicate and function. 

Here are some more helpful Sensory Processing Disorder Resources 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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