Dysgraphia is a difficulty with writing. It's a complex condition with different symptoms and causes. Though there's no cure, early help can assist people with dysgraphia manage their symptoms and do well in school, work, and life.
Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty that makes it hard for children to write well. It can show up in different ways, like trouble with handwriting, spelling, grammar, and putting thoughts into words. Children with dysgraphia may have trouble with the physical act of writing, like forming letters and keeping their writing neat. They may also struggle with the thinking part of writing, like organizing their thoughts and expressing them clearly.
What are the signs of dysgraphia?
The signs of dysgraphia can vary from child to child, but some common ones include:
Handwriting difficulties: Children with dysgraphia may have trouble forming letters, spacing letters correctly, and keeping their handwriting neat. Their writing may be slow, hard to read, and take a lot of effort.
Spelling difficulties: Children with dysgraphia may have trouble with spelling rules, words that sound the same but mean different things, and common words. They may also make a lot of mistakes spelling simple words.
Grammar difficulties: Children with dysgraphia may struggle with grammar rules, like agreement between subjects and verbs, using the right verb tense, and using correct punctuation. Their writing may look grammatically wrong and be hard to understand.
Putting thoughts into words: Children with dysgraphia may have trouble organising their thoughts, expressing their ideas clearly, and putting their writing together. Their writing may be hard to follow, lack a clear flow, and not make much sense overall.
No one knows for sure what causes dysgraphia, but it is thought to be a combination of genes, brain differences, and environmental factors. Research suggests that dysgraphia may be linked to differences in the parts of the brain that control movement, language, and memory.
How common is dysgraphia?
Estimates suggest that dysgraphia affects about 5-10% of children. It is more common in boys than in girls.
How is dysgraphia diagnosed?
Dysgraphia is diagnosed by a qualified professional, like a psychologist or educational neuropsychologist. They will typically do a thorough evaluation that includes testing writing skills, thinking skills, and schoolwork.
Is there a cure for dysgraphia?
There is no cure for dysgraphia, but there are treatments that can help children manage their symptoms and improve their writing skills. These treatments may include:
Special education: Special education teachers can provide individualised instruction and support to help children with dysgraphia develop their writing skills.
Assistive technology: Assistive technology, like word processors and spell checkers, can help children with dysgraphia complete writing tasks more efficiently.
Occupational therapy: Occupational therapists can help children with dysgraphia develop fine motor skills and improve their handwriting.
Speech-language pathology: Speech-language pathologists can help children with dysgraphia improve their language processing skills, which can indirectly benefit their writing abilities.
Cognitive training: Cognitive training programs can help children with dysgraphia strengthen their memory, attention, and planning skills, which can indirectly improve their writing abilities.
What can parents do to help their child with dysgraphia?
Parents can play an important role in helping their child with dysgraphia succeed in writing. Here are some tips for parents:
Talk to your child's teacher: Work with your child's teacher to develop a plan to support your child's writing development.
Provide a quiet place to write: Create a quiet, distraction-free environment where your child can focus on their writing tasks.
Break down writing tasks into smaller steps: Help your child break down complex writing assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Use hands-on learning activities: Incorporate hands-on activities, such as using manipulatives or drawing pictures, to help your child express their ideas.
Provide plenty of opportunities for writing practice: Encourage your child to write regularly, whether it's journaling, creative writing, or responding to prompts.
Focus on progress, not perfection: Praise your child for their efforts and progress, no matter how small. Avoid focusing on mistakes or comparing their writing to others.
Does dysgraphia improve with age?
No, dysgraphia does not improve with age. It is a lifelong learning disorder that affects a person's ability to write effectively. However, with the right support, individuals with dysgraphia can learn to manage their symptoms and develop effective writing strategies.
Can children with dysgraphia succeed in school and work?
Yes, with the right support, children with dysgraphia can succeed in school and work. Many people with dysgraphia have gone on to successful careers in fields that require writing, such as writing, journalism, and law.
What are some resources for children with dysgraphia?
There are a number of resources available for children with dysgraphia, including:
Dyslexia Association: The Dyslexia Association provides information, support, and resources for individuals with dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dysgraphia. Their website includes a section on dysgraphia with information about the disorder, its symptoms, and strategies for managing it. They also offer a helpline that can provide advice and support to individuals and families affected by dysgraphia.
Dyspraxia Foundation: The Dyspraxia is a charity that provides support and services to individuals with movement/handwriting issues in the U.K. They offer a range of services, including: One-to-one tuition for children and adults with dyspraxia
For dyslexia friendly activities to do with a child see "Mooki Cards".