Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty that affects writing. Writing requires a person to coordinate their motor skills and to use their information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult.
It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organising letters, numbers and words on a line or page.
A person can have dysgraphia and another learning difficulty, like, dyslexia.
Signs of dysgraphia
- Unsure of right or left handedness
- Poor or slow handwriting
- Messy and unorganised papers
- Difficulty copying
- Poor fine motor skills
- Illegible handwriting
- Saying words out loud while writing
- Trouble forming letter shapes
- Trouble keeping track of thoughts already written down
- Difficulty with writing clear and understandable sentences
- Cramping of fingers while writing short entries
- Use of excessive erasures
- Mixing of upper case and lower case letters
- Misuse of lines and margins on the paper
- Inattentiveness over details when writing
- Relying heavily on vision to write
- Having a hard time translating ideas to writing, sometimes using the wrong words altogether
How to help a child with dysgraphia
Accommodations - providing alternatives to written expression
- Use of assistive technology, for example, word processing or computer software, speech recognition software on a tablet or ipad
- Allow extra time for copying work and completing tasks or alternatively provide notes so copying load is reduced.
- Allow a break before proofreading written work
- Provide a checklist for editing their work—spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, etc.
- Using graphic organisers, for example, mind mapping software,
- Using sentence starters
Modifications- changing expectations or tasks to minimise or avoid the area of weakness
- Eliminate the need for neatness
- Offer alternative projects to a written report , for example, oral presentations, power point presentation etc
- Allow extra time for any test involving writing or allow the student to dictate the answers.
Remediation – providing instruction for improving handwriting skills
- Use a pencil grip for the pencil
- See an Occupational Therapist to help improve motor skills
- Try a handwriting programme such as Handwriting Without Tears.
Work on correct letter formation using techniques that don’t require writing, like finger writing in the air or in shaving cream.
Use the app Wet – Try – Dry