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.
When providing compensatory strategies, we need to assess what the student needs to be doing, in what context they need to be doing it, and how they can best accomplish what they need to do. This requires looking at a student’s strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and motivation in order to find tools that are compatible and provide the necessary support.
The Benefits of Technological Supports
Many students with dysgraphia can benefit from using technological supports to leverage their strengths and diminish the impact of their challenges. For example, voice-to-text software can help students with superior verbal expression get their ideas on paper without simplifying thoughts for the purpose of minimizing written output; text-to-speech software can help students read by listening, which can facilitate the editing process.
While we do not proclaim to be experts in the field of assistive technology supports, the following resources are recommended based on research, recommendations, and continuing education. We hope you find them helpful in supporting your child.
Technological Supports to Help with Writing Organization
These programs can help students organize, outline, and map ideas.)
- Co:Writer (Google & iOS)
- Voice Typing (Google Docs in a Chrome browser)
- Dictate and Commands (iOS)
- Dictation and Dictation Command (Mac)
- Dragon Dictate (Mac)
- Dragon Naturally Speaking (PC)
- Windows Speech Recognition (PC)
Technological Supports to Help with Spelling and Grammar
- Co:Writer (Google & iOS)
- Grammarian PRO2 (Mac) Grammar, spelling, and punctuation check tool with autotype features.
- Ginger (iOS, Mac, PC) Contextual spellchecker.
- Ghotit (Mac, PC ) Contextual and phonetic spellchecker/grammar and punctuation checker that reads the document aloud.
- Clicker 6 (Mac, PC ) Word processor for elementary school-aged writers. Includes word prediction, picture support, and reads sentences aloud to facilitate review and editing.
- Write Online (Mac, PC) Word processor for middle school through college writers. Includes graphic organizers, speech feedback, word prediction, word bars, and document analysis.
PDF Annotation Tools
- Snap Type for Occupational Therapy (iOS app that snaps photos of worksheets and allows students to complete them electronically.)
- PDF Expert 5 (iOS)
- Claro (iOS)
- Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (Mac and PC)
- FoxIt Reader 7 (PC)
- PDF-XChange Editor (PC)
- Worksheet Wizard (Chrome)
- Kami (Chrome)
If your child is struggling with handwriting, please contact us to discuss how we can be of assistance.
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About Skills 4 Life:
Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services in the Boulder & Denver area to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.