Dystech, an Australian start-up that is using the technological power of AI and Machine Learning to solve real-world problems, has created the world’s first app that screens for motor dysgraphia, giving the user a percentage likelihood of having the disorder in just minutes.
Motor dysgraphia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s writing ability. It is a neurological disorder that generally appears when children are first learning to write. Experts are not sure what causes it, but early detection can help prevent or reduce problems.
People with motor dysgraphia have trouble with spelling and putting thoughts down on paper. For individuals with motor dysgraphia, holding a pencil and organising letters on a line is difficult. Their handwriting tends to be messy. Many struggles with spelling and putting thoughts on paper. Other writing tasks like putting ideas into language that is organised, stored and then retrieved from memory, can add to struggles with written expression. People with motor dysgraphia usually have a high IQ, with many having strengths in other areas.
Many people with motor dysgraphia also have dyslexia and it’s reported by peak bodies in Australia, such as the Australian Dyslexic Association that 10% of the population suffer from Dysgraphia and/or Dyslexia. Dysgraphia can also be diagnosed in some people with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome and ADHD.
After collecting thousands of samples of handwriting, Dystech has launched their new ‘Dyscreen’ app, allowing parents, educators or professionals to take a photograph of their child or student’s handwriting and receive a percentage likelihood of motor dysgraphia in less than 2 minutes.
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The app also gives the user up to ten other pieces of information that assess various aspects of the piece of handwritten text.
“We have found that the app gives us a lot of information about the child’s handwriting, such as size difference between letters, spacing, the slant of writing and pressure on the pen, which can also help identify motor skill issues,” said Hugo Richard, CEO and Co-Founder of Dystech, who is dyslexic and dysgraphic himself.
“The app is suitable for use in children over the age of 9 and is currently available in English and most Western European country languages that use the Roman alphabet, such as Spain, Italy and France.”
The app has been created by Hugo’s global team of data scientists and has been built from the ground up using the latest in machine learning technology.
“We have spent the last year collecting thousands of samples of handwriting so we can build an algorithm for this app. We then used this information to create the algorithm to recognise the likelihood of the condition. Our data scientists have worked with universities, students and people of all ages in various communities as part of our research,” said Hugo, whose team is also currently creating an app to screen for Dyslexia.
“All of the estimations are computed using mathematics, and therefore are very precise. We have achieved 95.6% screening accuracy with the algorithm.”
The app is now available, each screening will cost $29.00, which Hugo says is much more affordable than initially seeing a professional.
“Waiting times to see professionals can be quite long here in Australia and can take months. By providing a screening app, parents and teachers can get an idea quickly if the problem is indeed motor dysgraphia. Seeing a professional can also have a huge dollar cost, and this screening app can provide a cost-effective way to see if motor dysgraphia is the problem in the first place,” said Hugo.
“If the app reads that a child’s likelihood of having motor dysgraphia is above 70%, they should then get a formal assessment with a professional.”
You can read Dystech’s research paper and download the app by visiting www.dystech.com.au
The Dyscreen app is now available on iOS and Android devices.