Dysgraphia or Dyslexia? It can be very confusing as a parent, carer to know which of these learning difficulties your child may have. To know the differences between these two very similar conditions.
Both Dysgraphia and Dyslexia are recognised as being a disability. Protected under the 2010 equality act. Children with Dygraphia and Dyslexia, both have special educational needs. This means the child may need extra help in class to learn. Dysgraphia and Dyslexia are life long conditions. So the child may need extra support all their life, including in the workplace. Yet many people with these learning difficulties. Find ways to manage and can go to be independent, successful adults.
Dysgraphia affects a child's ability to write and spell words. Dyslexia also affects reading and writing. Yet it can affect many more things including, organisation, memory and emotions. However like a child with Dyslexia, a child with Dysgraphia may struggle get their ideas down on paper. To express themselves through writing.
To learn more about the difference between Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dyspraxia. See "Dys-What-Ia? Card".
1. Struggles with spelling and handwriting - Children with Dysgraphia may have difficulty writing clearly. Struggling to write letters correctly and put letters in the right order.
2. Slow at writing speed -Children with Dysgraphia may take a long time to write, even basic words and short sentences.
3. Writes sentences, with randomly spaced words - Sometimes the spaces are too big, sometimes too small.
4. Struggle to get ideas down on paper - Thoughts in the head of a child with Dysgraphia maybe clear, yet they can not write them down.
5. Issues with fine motor skills - Holding a pen correctly and writing in an fluent way maybe a challenge.
6. Finding it uncomfortable and even painful to write - Due to struggling to hold the pen correctly or write letters easily.
7. Taking notes in class maybe a challenging - Such as copying information, or listening then writing down information.
8. Writing sentences maybe difficult, due to struggling with composition - The child may not understand where to write commas or full stops in a sentence.
9. Dysgraphia can affect a child's ability to use grammar correctly - They may struggle to use past, present tenses in their writing. Confusing words that sound the same, but have different meanings, such as "there" and "their".
10. Issues with fine motor skills - May effects the child's ability to do other related tasks. Such as tying shoes, using cutlery to eat dinner, or the ability to open jars.
1. Try multi-sensory learning - Explore letters and words, using all the senses. Through touch, smell, and sound. Make writing more fun and interactive. Use craft papers, glitter glue, sandboxes and scented markers.
2. Practice writing often - Spend just 5 minutes learning letters and words. Start with basic 2,3,4 letters words, before moving on to harder words. See "Top Tips to Teaching Your Child New Words at Home".
3. Assistive Technology - If the child struggles to get their ideas down on paper. Instead use assistive technology to help. The child can use speech to text, to help turn ideas into words.
4. Create a calm corner - Children with Dysgraphia, like children with dyslexia. Benefit from learning in a relaxed environment. Learn more about creating a calm learning corner. A child with Dysgraphia may also benefit from using an ergonomic writing tool. Such as pencil grips or specially shaped pens.
5. Get Creative - For a child that struggles to write. Expressing themselves through art can be a confidence boost. They can use drawing to get their ideas down on paper, before turning them into words. See "Thought-Tree" for more.
Speak to the child's teacher first and ask what support can be put in place. The child will need to do a formal Dysgraphia assessment to be formally diagnosed. The formal Dysgraphia test is the same assessment that is done for children with Dyslexia. Often done privately by an educational psychologist. During the test they assess the child for a range of learning difficulties including Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Dyscalculia. Learn more about "Formal Assessments".
A child with Dysgraphia is not more likely to have ADHD. Dysgraphia is when a child struggles to write and spell. ADHD affects focus and behaviour. Yet a child with Dysgraphia can also have ADHD.
If a child with Dysgraphia is showing signs of ADHD. In that they are struggling to focus, displaying hyper-active behaviour. This could instead be linked to anxiety caused by struggling in class and lack of self-confidence. See "Give Comfort" for ideas about how to support a child with their emotions.
Get jargon free tips and advice to help your dyslexic child at home and in school.
The Dyslexia Show