First off I would like to thank you for the opportunity to help
you understand the disorders of Dysgraphia and Aspergers syndrome as
well as how they relate to each other. I would like to stress that I
am not a doctor and I have no medical training background so any
information I provide for you here should be followed up by
appropriate medical attention for diagnosis purposes. I would first
like to take a moment to define what each of the two syndromes are.
The first is Dysgraphia. The following is taken from the NINDS
Dysgraphia Information Page
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder characterized by writing
disabilities. Specifically, the disorder causes a person's writing to
be distorted or incorrect. In children, the disorder generally emerges
when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately
sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite
thorough instruction. Children with the disorder may have other
learning disabilities, however, they usually have no social or other
academic problems. Cases of Dysgraphia in adults generally occur after
some trauma. In addition to poor handwriting, Dysgraphia is
characterized by wrong or odd spelling, and production of words that
are not correct (i.e., using "boy" for "child"). The cause of the
disorder is unknown.
The other is Aspergers Syndrome. The following is taken from
A.S.P.I.E web site
Asperger's Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Pervasive
developmental disorders are a group of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Characterized by specific delays in social, communicative, and
cognitive development, usually noted in the first year of life. It
is a life long condition and the attributes will change with different
stages of life. Asperger's Syndrome is part of the Autism spectrum.
The major difference between Asperger's and Autism would be language
skills. Most Autistic children never develop normal speech. Or may
be non-verbal. Where as Asperger's children usually develop language
skills at or slightly below the average.
On a surface level these look like two separate disorders.
After looking more closely at both syndromes I found that Aspergers
Syndrome is in the Autistic spectrum. This is the spectrum from low
functioning to highly functional Autistics. The difference between
highly functional Autistic and Aspergers Syndrome is still unclear in
the medical society. They are often called Cousins. Having this
bit of information I did some research on Autism itself.
The following definition is taken from the Autism Society of America
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears
during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological
disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism impacts the
normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and
communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have
difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social
interactions, and leisure or play activities
Aspergers and Autism both fall into the category of Pervasive
Developmental Disorders. Pervasive Developmental Disorders is not
actually at diagnosis. It is in fact a category of disorders that
refer a delay in multiple functions including social and communication
skills. Autism and Aspergers Syndrome both fall in this category.
There is also a category of PDDs that are not otherwise specified
(PDDs-NOS). These are cases that show signs from the autism spectrum
but do not otherwise fit the syndrome. I think this is where you
might find Dysgraphia and Aspergers being related. Both seem to be
neurological Disorders but it would depend on the onset of the
disorder as well as the degree to which the individual is afflicted.
Asperger Syndrome: What Is It?
A World Apart - Definitions
NINDS Dysgraphia Information Page
Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Sorting Out Autism, Asperger's Syndrome
and Other Conditions
http://www.pediatricneurology.com/autism.htm - Aspergers Syndrome
Autism Society of America: What is Autism?
A.S.P.I.E. Asperger's Syndrome Parent Information Enviorment
ASPEN Asperger Syndrome Education Network
Dsygraphia Aspergers Syndrome Cousins
Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Most sites advise finding a good psychologist and even have
recommendations that they are willing to give on finding the right
doctor. Aspergers Syndrome has only recently been added to the
DSM-IV which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders so there is work to be done to relate it to all known or
unknown causes and cousins.
I do hope this helps clarify the relationship between Dysgraphia
and Aspergers Syndrome. If you need more clarification please do
not hesitate to post. I will get back with you as soon as I can.
Good Luck and Thank you,
Request for Answer Clarification by
17 Nov 2002 12:24 PST
Sorry for the delay, been away..
It would seem that without doubt Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder
in that a part of the brain does not pass the correct messages to the
hand. Asperger's Syndrome is again a neurological disorder, and thus
both fit well into the PDDs-NOS grouping. I have seen both of these
disorders running in families, and again most forms of Autism,
including Aspergers Syndrome have been proven to have a genetic basis.
Hence my theory that Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and Dysgraphia are,
shall we say, various strengths of a similar disorder. Who, and at
what university, is doing research on any of this subject. I would
like to follow up further. Many thanks
Clarification of Answer by
19 Nov 2002 19:01 PST
Dear Kwenda -
I have tried to create a list of comprehensive research studies on
Asperger's and Autism. I have mostly kept the search within US
boundaries but added an overseas link or two as I thought they might
be of interest to you. I will let you know I am out of my league on
knowing if the following links will be usefull to you are not. In the
area of research I have no expertise. I do hope this works out for
you. Again and as always if you need more clarification please let me
The following site is from Research Studies Yale Social Learning
Project on Asperger's Syndrome (AS) & High Functioning Autism (HFA)
"The Yale Social Learning Disabilities Project is a comprehensive
program that addresses a wide number of issues related to
pervasive developmental social disabilities such as those
Asperger's Syndrome and high-functioning autism"
The following is from Colorado State University.
"Colorado State University is conducting a study of children and
The purpose of this study is to explore the abilities to decode
facial expression, tone of voice, and verbal content in children and
The following sites are about the best places to find several sources
for who is
doing research on Asperger's Syndrome
Asperger: Research Projects
NINDS Asperger Syndrome Information Page
Dygraphia research information:
NINDS Dysgraphia Information Page
The following site is a study on language development by mouth, by
ear. It includes Dysgraphia, dyslexia, and other language disorders
School Psychology: Virginia Berninger
The following is an overseas research study but I have included is as
it has some very interesting studies going on using MRIs on brain
function and language.
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience Research Institute of Logopedics
The following is actually a list of research papers that were done on
reading disabilities. I list it because of the general study nature
of your request. I cannot guarantee that it will be useful.