Dysgraphia: A Neurological Disorder Affecting the Ability to Write
Dysgraphia is a learning disability where the child has a neurological disorder that affects their ability to write, regardless of their intellect.
The term is used to describe handwriting issues such as dysfunctional pencil grasps; improper letter formation; reversal of certain letters like b and d, or p and q; illegible handwriting; inconsistent spacing between letters in words or words within sentences; difficulty writing at an age-appropriate size; trouble writing in a straight line; difficulty modulating pencil pressure; or slow, labored writing. (more…)
Close The Performance Gap on Dysgraphia
When a student has difficulty with the writing process (dysgraphia) – e.g., handwriting, spelling, or putting their thoughts down on paper – there are two ways to close the performance gap. First and foremost, we must provide instructional intervention to improve the student’s skills and abilities. Secondly, we can provide accommodations and compensatory strategies, such as technological supports, to make specific tasks easier.
Handwriting has been taught for centuries as a means of communication, but technology is changing the way we share information. You see the transition from paper to digital everywhere. Teachers give students the option to write or type their papers. Doctor offices ask you to fill out patient forms online in advance of your appointment.
And, your electronic signature can now be used on almost any legal document.
As a result, students and their parents often wonder why handwriting is still relevant. It’s a valid question. So, let’s examine the top 3 reasons why your child should study handwriting. (more…)
Handwriting practice is extremely valuable for multiple reasons, yet many students are resistive to doing it. Check out these valuable tips and tricks to help your child make the most of their handwriting practice.
Handwriting strengthens fine motor and cognitive skills and builds self-confidence and self-esteem. When students have difficulty with handwriting, more often than not, they have to focus on how to form their letters and make their writing legible rather than the content of their writing. This can make the writing process slow, laborious, and frustrating.
Have your child practice proper letter formation for just 10 minutes a day–it will help them develop automaticity and fluidity.
Fun Ways to Practice Handwriting:
Good gross motor control provides the core stability and strength necessary for hand and finger muscles to do their work. Gross motor skills involve the postural control and movement of large muscle groups in the neck, shoulders, trunk, and legs; these skills allow us to perform tasks like sitting upright, standing, walking, running, and playing. Gross motor skill development typically precedes the development of fine motor skills.
To write proficiently, students must have the postural control and core stability to sit upright, along with the shoulder strength and endurance to stabilize the hand and fingers.
The following gross motor activities can help improve strength and postural stability: (more…)
The muscles used in handwriting begin to develop and strengthen in infancy, and by the age of five most children have developed enough muscle strength and control to begin writing. The small finger muscles are the ones most central to the writing process, but the larger muscles of the hand, shoulder, arm, and wrist also need to be strong and efficient in order to provide the necessary stability that allows the smaller muscles to do their job. Fine motor skills such as thumb opposition and in- hand manipulation rely on muscle strength and control. For children who need help improving the muscle strength that leads to fine motor skill success, here are some ideas: (more…)
Placing text on a line ( baseline placement) is challenging for some children. Depending on the age of the child and the severity of the problem, I use several strategies to facilitate proper baseline placement. Here are six techniques you can try at home:
1. When children have difficulty writing on the baseline, I call these “popcorn letters.” The image of watching popcorn pop up and come down is an easy concept for young children to grasp. Simply working on “no popcorn letters” often helps children think about the proper placement of their text. (more…)
SnapType is an app designed to help children who have difficulty with writing (dysgraphia). While I believe that it’s always best to determine the underlying causes of dysgraphia and work on remediating the specific components of handwriting that children are struggling with, sometimes offering a compensatory strategy to handwriting is beneficial. If this is the case, an app developed by an OT student at Springfield College, MA fits the bill. (more…)
It is common for preschoolers and kindergartners to reverse letters, but by age seven, children should only be making occasional reversals. If letter reversals persist after handwriting remediation, they can be a sign of dyslexia or other learning disability, in which case further testing might be indicated.
Regardless of whether or not a child has a learning disability, he or she should be instructed in how to form letters & numbers correctly to prevent reversals. If your child is learning to write by simply copying letters, it is unlikely that he or she will learn proper letter formation. Since repeated errors only reinforce reversals, it’s important to work toward error-free learning. It’s much easier to develop good habits than to change bad ones; so early intervention is critical! Here are 9 tips to help correct letter reversals with your child: (more…)