Dysorthography: Definition, Characteristics, Symptoms, Standard Errors and Intervention

It is a specific spelling disorder that accompanies dyslexia; the cognitive dysfunction underlying the two disorders is probably common in both.

In dysorthography, the spelling of words is very poor, a direct consequence of the phonological disorder in dyslexic children.

In dysgraphia, it is dysorthography that represents the difficulty in translating into graphic symbolism the sequence of sounds in which language is made up of oral hearing.

Common defects in verbal language (dysphasia) or reading (dyslexia) are associated with dysorthography which, when not caused by vision, hearing or intelligence problems, depend on abnormalities of the nervous system.

Writing difficulties

The text written by an individual with dysorthography is full of various errors and inaccuracies, which are made repeatedly and have nothing to do with his intellectual abilities.


Dysorthography is characterized by strange spelling and a disconnect between the letters in a word and the sounds they make.

For example, a student with dysorthography might spell the word exposure as “esbtnn.”

The spelling and grammar disruptions are so severe in these students that it makes it difficult to follow them in their writing. Timing issues compound the problem with students who have dystographic.

For example, a word that most students could spell in seconds might take a student with dysorthography five or ten minutes or more.

This makes it difficult for affected students to complete assignments on time and can increase the overall performance decline.

Symptoms of disortography

Common symptoms of dysortographic include: problems with written spelling, problems with written grammar, and slower than normal writing and / or spelling speed.

Problems with written spelling, such as missing letters in written words, using strange or meaningless letter combinations when spelling words, or copying words incorrectly when writing, are all signs of dysortography.

Grammar is important for fluency in writing and we can see many students without learning disabilities struggle with grammar.

However, students with dysorthography often demonstrate profound impairment in grammatical comprehension and problems with written grammar. This makes it very difficult to understand your writing.

We hope that the speed of writing and spelling will increase as children grow and develop.

Unfortunately, many students with dysorthography are extremely slow in spelling and writing. This can create a significant barrier for these students in terms of keeping up in class.

The typical mistakes of people with dysorthography

  • Omission of letters in words.
  • Substitution of hard and soft syllables.
  • Confused and muffled sounds (for example, c / s / z, b / p, g / k, m / n, h / ch).
  • Swapping the sounds into words (so they are all confusing).
  • Incorrect application of grammar rules.

Sometimes the problem is that a person with dysorthography “does not hear” the correct sound or does not know what sounds make up a word, can hear and understand the word as a whole (this is how dysorthography manifests itself).

Other times it is a situation where the quick automatic application of grammar rules does not work.

This may seem like a paradox, because the person in question can explain the rule perfectly when asked but if they have to quickly write a sentence that combines many different grammar rules, they make a mistake in the same rule that they have explained perfectly.


As with dyslexia, it is important to realize what circumstances are best for the person to write.

In such a way that the number of errors in the text is minimized (as in the case of dyslexia and dysgraphia, students with dysgraphia are entitled to study conditions adjusted for them in all types of schools).

It is useful to use the computer with the auto-correction options.

If the content of the message is very important, it is best when someone else reads the text and corrects errors, because the person in question usually does not “see” them.

Another trick that sometimes works is to read the text backwards, so that we read the words as they are written, but from the end of a sentence or paragraph, so we cannot focus on the content of the message, but only on each word separately.