The cognitive profile and text-based traits of struggling writers

  • Publication type: Article
  • EDS: .
  • Journal: Journal for the Study of Education and Development
  • Publishing house: .
  • Year: 2021
  • DOI: DOI
  • authors: Mariona Pascual, Naymé Salas,
  • elbec members involved: Mariona PascualNaymé Salas

Writing difficulties have typically been investigated as the consequence of learning disabilities. However, several characteristics of texts and the underlying cognitive skills are often shared across these populations. Our aim was to investigate the writing and cognitive profile of children at risk of writing difficulties, regardless of whether they have concomitant diagnoses. Drawing from a sample of 357 primary school children, we identified children who showed low levels on a single writing component, such as handwriting (15), spelling (39) or text generation (17), and 11 children who showed difficulties across two or more components. We compared them to a typically developing group (50) on a series of writing features (e.g., spelling, vocabulary) and cognitive and linguistic skills (e.g., working memory, morphosyntax). Children who struggled with a single writing component showed difficulties also in other components. Children with multiple writing difficulties struggled with most writing features. All children displayed similar levels in key cognitive and linguistic skills. Our data thus present compelling evidence of children who struggle with writing, despite no obvious cognitive or linguistic impairments.