Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder that involves writing. It can involve difficulties with the physical aspects of writing (e.g. awkward pencil grip or bad handwriting), spelling, or putting thoughts on paper.
Some of the common signs of dysgraphia are:
- Problems involving the steps of putting together a written document (such as difficulty with using an outline)
- Bad or illegible handwriting
- Awkward or cramped pencil grip
- Avoidance of tasks that involve writing
- Difficulty fleshing out ideas on paper (may write the minimum-or less-that the assignment requires) that is in contrast to their ability to discuss such ideas verbally
- Inconsistent in the way letters and words look (may print a certain letter different ways within the same document)
- Difficulty writing within the margins or line spacing and inconsistent spacing between words
What strategies can help?
- Many people with dysgraphia would benefit from explicit instruction in the skills required to produce a written work. Checklists that outline all the steps involved in a writing process may also be helpful. For example, a student could be taught several different methods of creating an outline. That student could also use a checklist to make sure that all the steps in creating an outline have been used in their work.
- Some teachers may allow individuals with a disorder in written expression to use alternative methods (e.g. oral report) to determine the students' knowledge of a subject instead of asking them to write a paper or take a written test.
- The use of computers (even in the classroom) can help many individuals with dysgraphia. Spell check, grammar check, and other programs available through computer software may be helpful for individuals with dysgraphia (provided their spelling or grammar is not hindered by such programs).
- If an individual with dysgraphia finds that writing ideas on papers prevents creativity, using a tape recorder or creating a drawing to capture ideas before putting them on paper may help.
- Parents of children with dysgraphia can encourage their children to write by suggesting special projects that will build writing skills. These children can write letters to friends and family, keep a journal, write on a subject that interests them, or practice filling out forms from banks or doctors' offices.
A slide show by Dr. Gavin Reid - University of Edinburgh
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Lots of information and links in dysgraphia