Dysgraphia in Children: What Parents Need to Know

Dysgraphia is a learning difference that impairs the ability to write. It is a neurological disorder that typically begins in school-aged children and can last throughout adulthood. With the proper strategies in place, children can learn how to improve their writing abilities while building their confidence. 

 

How to Recognize Dysgraphia in Children

Some common characteristics of dysgraphia include:

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Incorrect spelling and capitalization
  • Mix of cursive and print letters
  • Inappropriate sizing and spacing of letters
  • Unusual position of handwriting
  • Omitting letters and words from sentences
  • Slow writing

It’s important to know that children with other learning difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may develop dysgraphia as attention is linked to reading and writing abilities (Döhyla 2016). Getting a proper diagnosis can help in understanding whether one or both conditions require attention. 

Parents can determine the cause of their child’s writing challenges with an evaluation conducted by either an occupational therapist or school psychologist. These professionals can help parents understand a child’s challenges and strengths.

 

How You Can Help Your Child with Dysgraphia

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There are many treatments that can help with a child’s writing abilities and can be applied at school and at home. 

The common types of help for dysgraphia in children include:

Help at home:

  • Use graph paper, or turn lined paper sideways when writing
  • Change writing instrument used
  • Use comfortable pencil grips
  • Encourage narration when writing 
  • Discuss with your child how the accommodations are working at least once per week. 

Dysgraphia accommodations at school:

Once a child has been identified as having dysgraphia, parents can request the school to provide them with accommodations for their student’s needs in the classroom. 

Certain accommodations include:

  • Providing preferential seating
  • Extending time to complete assignments
  • Extending time to complete an exam
  • Administering exams in a different room
  • Allowing verbal responses 

In the state of Connecticut, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) states that “Eligibility for special education and related services and their particular educational needs, including the need for AT (assisted technology), are determined through a comprehensive evaluation that is planned, conducted, and reviewed by a multidisciplinary team” (IDEA 2004). For more information on IDEA, click here.

 

Enrolling in a School for Learning Differences 

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Choosing a school that addresses the specific needs of children with dysgraphia is beneficial for their success. At a school for children with learning differences, students are taught through a specialized learning program, at a pace they are comfortable with. Students are also provided with reasonable classroom accommodations and closer teacher-student interaction, helping them to excel and feel confident in their writing abilities.

 

About Eagle Hill School

Eagle Hill School is a private school for learning differences located in Greenwich, Connecticut. Their academic program is designed to help students struggling with dysgraphia, and other differences such as dyscalculia, dyslexia, ADHD, executive functioning disorder, and auditory processing disorder. Specialized remedial learning programs are taught by experienced teachers who help students navigate through learning challenges, preparing them for bright futures ahead.

Other blogs you may be interested in:

How Children with Learning Differences Can Benefit from Artistic Expression

 

Resources:

Döhla, Diana, and Stefan Heim. “Developmental Dyslexia and Dysgraphia: What Can We Learn from the One About the Other?” Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers Media S.A., 26 Jan. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26858664

Roland, James. “Dysgraphia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Management.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 7 Dec. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/what-is-dysgraphia.

Team, The Understood. “Dysgraphia: What You Need to Know.” Dysgraphia in Children, Understood, 16 Oct. 2019, www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/dysgraphia/understanding-dysgraphia.

 

Topics: Learning Differences, Dysgraphia

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