Spelling-based dysgraphia may be one of the most commonly missed disabilities. Students with poor spelling are written off as ignorant or slow, though they may be quite bright. Prejudice about spelling as a disability has caused some gifted students to be excluded from gifted classes, others to be held back a grades, or worse, denied opportunities to graduate. Standardized tests rarely specifically accommodate for spelling and the additional writing components to state required tests or college entrance exams will only make matters worse.
Because the situation regarding spelling disabilities is the way it is, occasional reports like the one below are valuable. It's reports the case of a woman who developed spelling problems after a heart attack. The importance for us is that is shows that focal brain injury can result in a focal spelling disability. This former secretary had excellent sentence copy, comprehension, working memory, spontaneous speech, and reading, but she couldn't write well to dictation. She probably would have problems with spontaneous writing as well.
Surprisingly, even school professionals have been confused about whether dysgraphia exists if a student can copies sentences well. For some reason, dysgraphia hasn't gotten as much attention as other learning disabilities.
Spelling difficulties may be due to problems with phonology (the sounds that make up words), weakness of visual word form (visual memory for words), or general weaknesses in working memory. Most often spelling disabilities are seen in association with dyslexia, but they can also be seen in the setting of focal brain injury, premature birth, or head trauma.
Isolated Spelling Disability from Brain Injury