Disorders of Written Expression

  • Ellen H. O’DonnellEmail author
  • Mary K. Colvin
Part of the Current Clinical Psychiatry book series (CCPSY)


Writing is a complex task that requires the integration of cognitive and motor skills, specifically language functions, executive functions, and graphomotor output. Writing difficulties are relatively common in childhood and adolescence and may reflect difficulties with any of the contributing elements. In this chapter, we review the typical developmental trajectory of writing skills. We also describe the type of writing difficulties associated with common neurodevelopmental conditions, including developmental dysgraphia, dyslexia, language disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), and writing anxiety. We discuss the assessment of writing disorders and how test results may inform the identification of appropriate interventions, providing an illustrative case study.


Written expression Dysgraphia Learning disability 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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