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Article Home Children's Health Learning disabilities in writing or Dysgraphia

Learning disabilities in writing or Dysgraphia

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Dysgraphia is learning disability that affects writing abilities. It manifest as difficulties with spelling, poor hand writing and trouble thoughts on paper.

Dysgraphia (Learning disabilities in writing)

Dysgraphia is learning disability that affects writing abilities. It manifest as difficulties with spelling, poor hand writing and trouble thoughts on paper.

Warning signs of Dysgraphia:

  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position.
  • Illegible handwriting.
  • Avoiding writing or drawing tasks.
  • Tiring quickly while writing.
  • Saying words out loud while writing.
  • Un finished or omitted words in sentence.
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper.
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
  • Large gap between within ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech.

How to help a child with Dysgraphia:

  • Accommodations: Providing alternatives to written expression.
  • Modifications: Changing expectations or tasks to minimize or avoid the area of weakness.
  • Remediation: Providing instruction for improving hand writing and writing skills.

How to treat Dysgraphia in early writers:

  • Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide to staying within the lines.
  • Try different pens and pencils to find one that's most comfortable.
  • Practice writing letters and numbers in the air with big arm movements to improve motor memory of these important shapes. Also practice letters and numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
  • Encourage proper grip, posture and paper positioning for writing. It's important to reinforce this early as it's difficult for students to unlearn bad habits later on.
  • Use multi-sensory techniques for learning letters, shapes and numbers. For example, speaking through motor sequences, such as "b" is "big stick down, circle away from my body."
  • Introduce a word processor on a computer early; however do not eliminate handwriting for the child. While typing can make it easier to write by alleviating the frustration of forming letters, handwriting is a vital part of a person's ability to function in the world.
  • Be patient and positive, encourage practice and praise effort - becoming a good writer takes time and practice.

How to tackle Dysgraphia in young children:

  • Allow use of print or cursive - whichever is more comfortable.
  • Use large graph paper for math calculation to keep columns and rows organized.
  • Allow extra time for writing assignments.
  • Begin writing assignments creatively with drawing, or speaking ideas into a tape recorder
  • Alternate focus of writing assignments - put the emphasis on some for neatness and spelling, others for grammar or organization of ideas.
  • Explicitly teach different types of writing - expository and personal essays, short stories, poems, etc.
  • Do not judge timed assignments on neatness and spelling.
  • Have students proofread work after a delay - it's easier to see mistakes after a break.
  • Help students create a checklist for editing work - spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, etc.
  • Encourage use of a spell checker - speaking spell checkers are available for handwritten work
  • Reduce amount of copying; instead, focus on writing original answers and ideas
  • Have student complete tasks in small steps instead of all at once.
  • Find alternative means of assessing knowledge, such as oral reports or visual projects
  • Encourage practice through low-stress opportunities for writing such as letters, a diary, making household lists or keeping track of sports teams.