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Criteria for diagnosis

Without the benefit of standardized tests, the tester will need to make an estimation of whether the difficulty in writing is significant or not. This is similar to the way many conditions are diagnosed in medical practice. For example, conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, and migraine are not diagnosed by standardized testing, but by a characteristic picture and the exclusion of other conditions that may give rise to similar findings.

In practice, the diagnosis of a significant impairment in writing skill is usually not difficult. Figures 7.1-7.3 show three samples of writing. Figure 7.1 shows

Thehandwritingof a normal 10-year-old

Figure 7.1 Thehandwritingof a normal 10-year-old.

Thehandwritingof a normal 10-year-old

Figure 7.2 Thehandwritingof a normal 10-year-old.

Specific writing difficulty (10-year-old)

Figure 7.3 Specific writing difficulty (10-year-old).

the neat writing of a normal 10-year-old. Figure 7.2 shows the writing of another 10-year-old. This is less uniform, but clearly does not represent a significant difficulty; it lies well within the average range. By contrast, the writing in Figure 7.3, also by a 10-year-old, is unquestionably abnormal. Such illegible writing, despite great effort, is clearly abnormal at this age.

 
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