What is Dysgraphia?
If your child
struggles with writing, you may have heard a teacher or therapist use the term
dysgraphia. A Greek word meaning “the condition of disabled handwriting”, dysgraphia
scientifically refers to the neurological condition that affects the skills
needed to produce writing.
dysgraphia typically emerges when they are first introduced to writing. It can
manifest as trouble with spelling, poor handwriting, and difficulty putting
thoughts onto paper.
dysgraphia may exhibit the following signs:
- Poor spelling
- Illegible words or letters
- Word omission
- Mixing of print and cursive letters
- Difficulty gripping and using a writing instrument
- Trouble organizing information
For some children,
dysgraphia makes language processing and the connection between words and ideas
difficult. This can lead to issues with communication and comprehension.
Children with dysgraphia can also have difficulty executing the controlled fine
motor skills required for the movement used to write a single word, or the
series of movements used to complete words or sentences.
What Can Help?
There are a number of
therapies and teaching strategies that can address your child’s difficulties
with writing. Assistive technology and simple activities that you can do at
home can help improve writing-related skills and encourage your child to write.
Instruction and Support for Dysgraphia
difficulties are often related to reading issues, many children with dysgraphia
also have dyslexia. Working on basic reading skills like decoding and encoding
may also help them become better spellers. Explicit phonics instruction in
small groups helps students with their decoding and encoding skills, giving
them more confidence when writing.
dysgraphia don’t naturally pick up on the guidelines of writing. Teachers use
specific instruction to help them learn rules like where to put verbs and nouns
in a sentence, or how and where to use punctuation. Prompts or cues can help
students recall the unique parts of a particular kind of writing, like a story,
while tools like a graphic organizer can help students better plan a writing
Another area that
children with dysgraphia often struggle with is transcription, putting the
verbal word to paper. This broad skill covers handwriting, keyboarding and
spelling. Teachers implement multisensory techniques to help kids improve in
this area. Assistive technology for writing can also help kids build skills and
work around weak spots.
There are also a
number of classroom accommodations for dysgraphia such as extended time,
teacher-made outlines for taking notes, and being able to answer test questions
orally instead of in writing.
For children that
struggle with the physical act of writing, occupational therapy can help to
improve cognitive skills such as visual memory perception, hand strength and
fine motor coordination needed to type and write by hand. Therapists might also
help kids learn the correct arm position and body posture for writing.
What is Dyscalculia?
When a child has a
specific difficulty with math that is not consistent with his/her cognitive
ability, age and education, it is referred to as dyscalculia. While they may be
at or above grade level with other memory functions, they have challenges
counting, interpreting numbers, and remembering math facts like multiplication
and division. They may also exhibit signs of confusion over printed symbols and
Signs of dyscalculia
- Difficulty recalling easy
calculations, simple math facts, short lists, phone numbers, game scores,
- Difficulty understanding,
remembering and applying math concepts
- Trouble counting – may
still count on fingers
- Issues with visual
representations of data, like graphs and charts
like dysgraphia, can affect a child’s ability to organize, process information,
and practice good study habits.
There are less formal
programs for teaching struggling math students as compared to the number of
programs for children with dyslexia. But that doesn’t mean these kids can’t
benefit from specialized instruction, especially in
grade school. Certain strategies and approaches can be helpful for some kids.
One is multisensory instruction. This teaching
approach uses sight, touch, hearing and movement to give kids different ways to
learn skills and understand concepts. Multisensory math techniques often teach
math concepts in a logical way in which one skill builds on the next.
Using objects to see
quantities and how they change provides a concrete way of understanding how
certain math concepts work. It can also help students make stronger connections
to what they’re learning.
There are many
assistive technology tools for math that students can use at
school and at home including but not limited to graphing tools, math notation
tools, calculators and graphic organizers for math. There are
also apps that work on basic number concepts.
Accommodations for Students with Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia
Small classroom sizes at Julie Billiart Schools in Lyndhurst and Akron allow for individualized attention that help students with dyscalculia and dysgraphia succeed. Our team at JB is experienced in developing and implementing intervention programs for children with specific learning difficulties. At Julie Billiart Schools, we use My Sidewalks®, Wilson Reading System®, Learning Ally®, Handwriting without Tears™, and Keyboarding without Tears™. ActivPanel interactive display boards, voice-to-text technology and audio books can also be seen throughout our learning environments.
Take the Next Step
If you think that JB
could be a good fit for your child, take the next step! Visit www.juliebilliartschools.org for more
information about our schools, admissions process, and student experience.
Resource: Morin, A. Treatment for Kids With Dyscalculia
Retrieved from https://www.understood.org