Dysgraphia basically means “difficulty with writing.” The term Dysgraphia is also sometimes used to describe an expressive writing disorder or difficulties putting thoughts to words when writing. Children that have Dysgraphia or an expressive writing disorder will find any sort of written composition to be an arduous process and may have troubles constructing sentences and paragraphs in a grammatical or logical arrangement.
Does my child have Dysgraphia? Some common symptoms are:
- Handwriting is illegible
- Child writes very slowly and gets fatigued easily
- Fingers are cramped in a tight grasp or child uses an unusual grasp
- Written work is inconsistent with a combination of upper and lower case letters, variation in sizes of letters and irregular formation and slant
- Child uses a lot of cross-outs and erasures while writing
- Child has difficulties keeping the writing on line or within margins
- Child has many reversals of letters and numbers, writes words backwards, writes letters out of order, and has very sloppy handwriting
How does Dysgraphia affect my child’s learning? Dysgraphia leads to problems with spelling, poor handwriting, and putting thoughts on paper making the act of writing extremely difficult and affecting children both emotionally and academically. These children have extreme difficulty expressing ideas and completing assignments.
The child’s inability to control and coordinate the functions needed for written language often results in poor grades. Students with Dysgraphia are frequently labeled as lazy or unintelligent causing them extreme frustration and low self-esteem.
How can a child with Dysgraphia get help? Remediation and accommodations are the most important elements in helping a student with Dysgraphia.
Most problems can be prevented with early intervention and early training. Young children in kindergarten and first grade should learn to form letters correctly using a multisensory writing program. Using auditory, visual and kinesthetic memory is powerful in training the brain of a child with Dysgraphia.
Older students will benefit from being explicitly taught the steps of the writing process. Just as these students were taught to read in a step-by-step process, they will also need explicit instruction in writing. Students will need a structured, sequential, systematic, cumulative and multisensory writing program to help them build lasting memories.