Monday, April 7, 2014

6 Common Symptoms of Dysgraphia

How do I know if My Child or Student Has Dysgraphia?

The National Center for Learning Disabilities defines dysgraphia as follows:  

Dysgraphia definition
"Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills."

What exactly is dysgraphia?
Essentially, dysgraphia makes even the most basic form of writing difficult.  Many students struggle with spelling, getting their thoughts down on paper and basic writing skills.

Writing skills are a struggle for students with dysgraphia

People with dysgraphia have difficulties with processing what their eyes are actually seeing. This is known as visual-spacial difficulty.  

Visual-spacial concerns with dysgraphia

Language processing is another area of concern. Dysgraphia sufferers have trouble making sense of what their own ears are actually hearing.

These issues affect organization, organizing words on a line or page, letters, and even numbers.

Dysgraphic students struggle with writing on lines

What are the symptoms and signs of dysgraphia?

  • Tiring quickly while writing
  • Poor handwriting, sometimes with a mix of print and cursive
  • Trouble thinking of words to write
  • Omitting or not completing words within a sentence
  • Trouble organizing thoughts on paper
  • Large gap between oral spoken language and written expression
*Additional signs and symptoms of dysgraphia can be found on the related paperwork, link here.

Interventions and strategies to address dysgraphia

What interventions and strategies can I do for my child with dysgraphia?

  • Use a pen or pencil that is comfortable for the student; you may need to try several before finding the one that works best
  • Use lined paper when possible
  • Model and practice proper pencil grip; be careful because habits form quickly and early
  • When learning letters, numbers or shapes, use oral sequences to help them memorize the exact formation; for example: letter c: start below the top, go up and touch the top, go around and back up
    Model proper pencil grip
  • Do not give up on practicing handwriting, but try using a computer keyboard or ipad to type
  • Provide students with a checklist of expectations (spelling, neatness, grammar, progression of ideas, etc.)
  • Reduce the amount of copying, especially from the board
  • Break assignments down into smaller steps and tasks
  • When appropriate, give alternate assignments that have a more hands-on approach
  • For writing assignments, allow students to begin by telling a partner what they will write about or drawing a picture before writing

*Additional interventions and strategies can be found on the related paperwork, link here.

If you have a student or child that is suffering from symptoms of dysgraphia, you may benefit from the Dysgraphia Intervention Kit.  

Dysgraphia Intervention Kit

  • Dysgraphia information sheet
  • Dysgraphia Intervention and Strategy suggestions, complete list
  • Dysgraphia Intervention Checklist (editable and printable) to use with individual children, complete list
  • Dysgraphia Checklist: Ages 12 to Adult (editable and printable)
  • Dysgraphia Checklist: Ages 5 to 12 (editable and printable)
  • Dysgraphia Checklist: Ages Up to 5 (editable and printable)
  • Dysgraphia Student Intervention Log used for documentation and progress monitoring (editable and printable)
Dysgraphia Information

Do you have a child or student that suffers from symptoms of dysgraphia?  What interventions do you use to help them?  I would LOVE to hear from you!

~jen :)