Most people probably have never heard of dysgraphia.I somehow came across the term on Diane Craft’s website in an article entitled Identifying & Correcting Blocked Learning Gates about 9 months ago, right around when the school was ending. I read through the article and identified that my son might have a Writing Gate Blocked. Here is her description of what this means.
- Frequent or occasional reversals in letters (b/d) after age 7.
- Poor spacing in writing and math papers.
- Writing is slow and laborious.
- Great stories orally, but writes very little.
- Does all math problems mentally to avoid writing down.
- Writing looks sloppy and child is often considered lazy and unmotivated.
I can check off each and every “sign” for Buddy. He fits into everyone.
On her website she also has a sidebar that describes the Levels of Processing Problems.
- Child has to work harder, but is not behind
- This does not need intervention, but it would help
- Child has to work harder, and is about a year behind
- Intervention can get this child caught up easily
- Child has to work harder and is about two years behind
- Intervention is vital to help this child learn
This was the first time I had ever seen the term Dysgraphia. I was intrigued so I started researching further. Here is what I found:
According to The National Center for Learning Disabilities, Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and 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 organizing letters, numbers, and words on a line or page.
The International Dyslexia Association says: Dysgraphia can interfere with a student’s ability to express ideas. Expressive writing requires a student to synchronize many mental functions at once: organization, memory, attention, motor skill, and various aspects of language ability. Automatic accurate handwriting is the foundation for this juggling act. In the complexity of remembering where to put the pencil and how to form each letter, a dysgraphic student forgets what he or she meant to express. Dysgraphia can cause low classroom productivity, incomplete homework assignments, and difficulty in focusing attention.
My son is the poster child for dysgraphia. This year my goal was to find ways to help him. He will not out grow it but he can overcome the difficulties. There are some of the things we’ve done:
- We did do the Writing Eights exercise for 6 months. He should great improvement in writing his letters and he started to realize it himself when his letters were backwards. That was a huge first step. We tried doing the Brain Theraphy but he fought me tooth and nail and so we stopped.
- The other new thing we added was All About Spelling. Wow! I can’t say enough. His spelling has improved tremendously. Because his spelling has improved, his confidence has increased.
- We also started focusing more on typing and doing his writing assignments directly on the computer. He edits as he goes. This has been a wonderful tool.
- We are also focusing on his cursive. He does very well with it and I am seeing a possibilty for hiim to switch completely to cursive once he has a hang of it.
- I started using Writing Strands with him. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a “Wow” wish I’d found this earlier feeling. So, sadly I am still looking for a good writing program use with him.
- We do alot of oral answers instead of making him write down answers.
- I do let him do his math “in his head” but he has to write it on a whiteboard if he gets it wrong. (In Teaching Textbooks they are able to re-do a problem if they get it wrong).
I have modeled my strategies based on this article “Strategies for Dealing with Dysgraphia”.
I do want to share that during the writing of this page I came across a writing curriculum called Writeshop. I read an article by the author and was surprised to read that she created this curriculum for her son with dysgraphia. I have purchased the Writeshop Junior Level D . Here is where I read the articles:
Finally, I want to share a couple of websites and blogs regarding dysgraphia.
10 Homeschool Helps for Dysgraphia by Hoppin Homemaking