New software helps analyze writing disabilities

A software program that can analyze these children’s writing disabilities and their causes with unparalleled precision.

kid with writing disabilities
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When kids struggle with writing, they may be experiencing difficulty in two areas. One is the mechanics of handwriting. The other is expressing ideas in writing. Dysgraphia is a learning issue that can affect either area—or both.

Dysgraphia affects some 10% of schoolchildren and is often associated with dyslexia. EPFL Scientists now have come up with a software that enables doctors to make highly detailed, personalized assessments of this disability and to accurately identify the letters and numbers that are most difficult and are thus the most discriminative.

The software called Tegami, which is run using a tablet computer, represents a major step forward in terms of analytical precision and accuracy of input. It was developed from a database of writing samples from 300 children, around 25% of whom suffered from dysgraphia. The program was able to detect the learning disability 98% of the time.

The big preferred standpoint of Tegami is that it can help pinpoint the reason for a child’s dysgraphia since it investigates no less than 53 distinct attributes of a kid’s writing which are estimated up to 200 times each second.

Example of a disgraphic child's handwriting.
Example of a disgraphic child’s handwriting.

These characteristics incorporate the angle of the pen, the measure of weight the kid applies to the tablet, how quick the child writes and any adjustments in that speed, regardless of whether the kid’s hand trembles and provided that this is true, with what frequency and which letters or characters are generally discriminative.

Thomas Gargot, a child psychiatrist, expert in cognitive science said, “Our software brings a dynamic aspect to the evaluation of a child’s writing. The BHK test lets therapists evaluate a writing sample only after it’s been written. But with Tegami, therapists can analyze the entire writing process and get a clear, comprehensive picture of all of a child’s movements.”

“The software also paves the way to classifying different kinds of dysgraphia. The new types of data it collects will enable pediatricians to determine whether there are writing disabilities associated with autism, hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder, and to better understand how teaching methods can be adapted accordingly.”

Scientists have reported about this software in the journal Nature Digital Medicine.