High Prevalence of Dysgraphia in Elementary Through High School Students With ADHD and Autism

J Atten Disord. 2019 Jun;23(8):787-796. doi: 10.1177/1087054717720721. Epub 2017 Jul 25.


Objective: Prevalence of dysgraphia by age across all grade levels was determined in students with ADHD or autism.

Method: Referred children with normal intelligence and ADHD-Combined, ADHD-Inattentive, or autism ( N = 1,034) were administered the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI) and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).

Results: VMI and WISC Coding scores were significantly lower than IQ and the normal mean of 100 for all diagnoses. More than half (59%) had dysgraphia, and 92% had a weakness in graphomotor ability relative to other abilities. Dysgraphia prevalence did not differ between diagnostic or age groups (6-7 years, 56%; 8-10 years, 60%; and 11-16 years, 61%).

Conclusion: Dysgraphia is common at all ages in children and adolescents with ADHD and autism. Accommodations and strategies for addressing this problem are discussed.

Keywords: ADHD; Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration; autism; dysgraphia; handwriting.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Agraphia / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wechsler Scales