Diagnostic Checklist of Writing Disability

  1. Is his writing posture awkward (like a scrunched up pretzel)?
  2. Does he hold his pencil strangely? 
  3. Can you see the tension run through his hand, arm, furrowed brow?
  4. Does it take him much longer to write than anyone else his age?
  5. Does he fatigue easily and want to quit? (Are you hearing a lot of groans?)
  6. Does he space his letters on the paper in an unusual way (too close, too far apart, no spaces between words)?
  7. Does he form his letters oddly (e.g., starting letters at the top that others would start at the bottom and vice versa)?
  8. Does he mix upper and lower case letters?
  9. Does he mix cursive and manuscript?
  10. Are his cursive letters disconnected?
  11. Does he prefer manuscript to cursive?
  12. Does his lettering lack fluidity (looks sort of like chicken-scratching)?
  13. Does he still reverse letters after age 7?
  14. Is his handwriting illegible?
  15. Is his spelling terrible?
  16. Does he avoid writing words he can't spell?
  17. Does he leave off the endings of words?
  18. Does he confuse singulars and plurals?
  19. Does he mix up small words, like “the” and “they”?
  20. Does he leave out soft sounds, like the “d” in gardener?
  21. Is his grasp of phonics weak?   (Is it difficult to decipher what he was trying to spell?)

Note: Due to the fact that the majority of children observed with these symptoms were male, the generic “he” is used.

Silverman, L. K. (2002). Upside-Down Brilliance:  The Visual-Spatial Learner.  Denver:  DeLeon (p. 299).