Dysorthography is a learning disability; some people use this term to refer to a dysgraphic disorder related to dyslexia.


The term comes from the Greek words “dys,” which means “impaired,” and “orthographia,” meaning “to write correctly.”

Several experts considered it a disorder that consists of a deficiency in the ability to write. Some argue it could be part of the dyslexic syndrome.

Dysorthography features significant spelling mistakes while writing, and such errors can include confusions, omissions or inversions of letters and syllables, remarkably flawed conjugation, and arbitrary word breaks.

Even though many call it a “disorder,” several experts are quick to point out the possibility of this being the result of recent changes in the way children are learning their language.

Possible Causes

Experts are still trying to pinpoint out what causes Dysorthography. Under normal circumstances, the brain processes the information it receives through senses and stores it for later use.

When kids start writing, their brains retrieves information from the short-term and long-term memory to express what they’re thinking through writing characters.

In the case of children suffering from Dysgraphia, some researchers think one or both of the following steps in the process of writing go off track:

  • Organizing information stored in their brain
  • Getting words onto paper by writing or typing the characters

According to researchers, these are possible reasons why children affected by this disorder tend to make too many spelling mistakes, to the point the final product is hard to read or understand.

The most frustrating aspect for the kid is that whatever they write does not convey what they wanted to express.

Issues with the working memory could cause this learning disability. If such is the case, the child is likely having problems with “orthographic coding.”

Orthographic coding refers to the process in which the brain forms, stores, and recalls symbols, letters, and words, by using the visual system.

Another theory has to do with the assertion of this learning disability not being the result of a mental disorder but rather the teaching method.

In this last regard, the way several people teach the children might be detrimental to their development depending on the kid’s cognitive style.

Dysorthography, is it a real “disorder”?

There is some debate as if Dysorthography is a real mental disorder or the way many experts chose to simplify what could potentially be an actual pedagogical issue.

Those who argue in favor of conceptualizing Dysorthography as a learning disability cite Dysgraphia and Dyslexia as actual disorders related to the inability to write correctly.

While this is technically true, those who argue against Dysorthography being an actual disorder present an interesting point.

Nowadays, children learn and adapt to this technological age a lot faster than most adults. But that fact is distracting many from a sad reality.

Technology is a double-edged sword; it can make life and work easier. But using it in excess is making children lose their motor skills, body awareness, and skills of self-correction in writing.

In fact, computers and most smartphones are capable of autocorrecting words, eliminating the need of putting an effort in our orthography.

Another aspect that makes up the argument of Dysorthography not being an actual disorder is the pedagogical issue. At first, people taught children through the Alphabetic Method, which was gradually replaced by the Global Method.

Alphabetic Method

Educators summed up this way of teaching as “first letters, then sentences.” People usually thought children to write by using a traditional phonetic method.

It consisted of a gradual and ordered learning. The first step being assimilating the smallest elements of the language before moving to more complex structures.

People had to teach children to draw the letters of the alphabet and help the kids to associate each character with its respective oral pronunciation.

Then, children would have to learn to unite the syllables to transcribe short words, and later to correctly write longer and more difficult words. That is their first lesson of orthography.

From this point on, they have the foundation to study grammar and to construct sentences.

It is a cumulative learning process. If the children do not grasp a concept, teachers or family will not move the kid to the next level.

The children will continue the exercises and practice until grasping the concept, and then they move on to the next lesson

Global Method

At the early decades of the 20th century, people gradually abandoned the time-proven alphabetic method to replace it with this “new” and “easier” method.

The Global Method starts with words, sentences and short stories. The objective being to reach the analysis of syllables and letters.

People present a word to the child, who has to attach a sound and meaning to it. This new focus on visual learning takes the place that belonged to phonological mediation.

This method jumps directly to the words, giving no time to elaborate on the construction of sentences.

That results in generations of students that are more prone to make several grammatical and syntactical mistakes. A few decades ago, those prior generations of students knew their language very well.

However, the new students struggle to build correct and coherent sentences not because of a disorder, but rather because of a flawed but seemingly less complicated system of teaching.

Conclusion about Dysorthography

While this “condition” is still a matter of debate, dyslexia and dysgraphia are still issues that people need to deal with within our current generation.

That is why those who have children who display any of the usual signs of dysgraphia must seek help from professionals in the fields of mental disorders and learning disabilities.