- “Let’s eat, Michelle.”
b. “Let’s eat Michelle!!”
(Punctuation saves lives!)
Basically, dysgraphia is a Specific Learning Disability characterized by persistent challenges with written expression.
In contrast to dyslexia which emphasizes reading, dysgraphia emphasizes writing more specifically.
The mistakes described are common struggles for any beginning writer in early childhood, but if they continue to be a problem even after practice and basic correction, then dysgraphia might be the cause.
- Problems with punctuation! 😉
- Avoiding written homework
- Holding the pencil awkwardly
- Hand cramps
- Messy and/or slow handwriting
- Letters spaced out
- Spelling/ grammar mistakes
- Struggling to get thoughts from head to paper
- Dis-organized ideas
- Confused working memory
- Run-on sentences
(A run-on sentence is when it’s like the writer is running across the page without pausing for a breath without a comma or period and the paragraph just keeps going and going so the reader would also have trouble keeping up with reading aloud unless they add invisible commas and periods where they’re supposed to really go…)
Current Research – further reading – look up these and related topics in Understood.org:
- “Treatment Options for Dysgraphia” by Amanda Morin
- “5 Ways Kids Use Working Memory to Learn” by Amanda Morin
- “8 Working Memory Boosters” by Amanda Morin
- “The Difference between Dysgraphia and Dyslexia” by Kate Kelly
- “8 Tools for Kids with Dysgraphia” by Kate Kelly
- “Understanding Dysgraphia” by Erica Patino
(These Understood.org articles were all used for the information in this brochure.)
- Write down stories they say out loud
- Play word memory games with them
- Help them make connections between homework/ their real life
- Practice writing with graph paper or neatly inside of letter boxes
- Show them how to grip their pencil
- Show them how to use graphic organizers (for sequencing, pros/cons, supporting details, etc.)
- *Practicing handwriting letters separately starting each one on line *
- Programs/products through “Handwriting without tears”: https://www.lwtears.com/hwt
Resources – reading:
- “Learning and Attention Issues”: Understood.org website
- *Deiner, Low. Inclusive Early Childhood Education. Ch.8 (p.197). “Children with Specific Learning Disabilities.” Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013. *
Just 4 Fun!:
Which excuse(s) do you think indicate dysgraphia?:
“Ten reasons why Hank Zipzer should not write a five-paragraph essay on what I did this summer”:
- “Every pen I own runs out of ink
- My thoughts are controlled by alien beings who make me write in a strange language
- We couldn’t go anywhere over the summer because my dog had a nervous breakdown
- I’m highly allergic to lined paper
- When I write, my fingers stick together
- If I sit too long, my butt falls asleep
- Every time I write an essay, my dog Cheerios eats it for breakfast before I can get to school. So why try?
- My computer keyboard is missing eleven letters…
The last two reasons were on the tip of my mind, but I just couldn’t get them to the tip of my pencil.”
[Winkler, Henry. Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever. Niagara Falls, or Does It? (Ch.4). Grosset & Dunlap. NY, 2003.]
My educated guess:
The one that is most likely a clear sign of dysgraphia would be #5 (fingers sticking together) which might refer to not having mastered the tripod grip yet. However, his complaints about writing in a “strange language” or being “allergic to lined paper” could hint at his struggle to express his thoughts in writing. Sitting “too long” could be a sign that it is a difficult and slow process for him to write out his words. Or if his pens “run out of ink” maybe he writes a lot but then doesn’t like what he wrote and had to start over often. Reading between the lines of his humorous attempt at avoiding a class assignment, I see potential struggles with dysgraphia.
Question for parents- Can you list?:
- excuses your kid(s) have made to avoid writing for homework?
- What therapies and/or resources from this brochure do you think might help meet their needs?
Copyright © Michelle Smith 2018