Understanding Dysgrahia

More and more it is becoming common to hear of students wrestling with dysgraphia.

Many of you may not be aware nor familiar with dysgraphia. Today’s post for *Be informed Saturday* will shed some light on dysgraphia. WE will revisit this subject often to bring awareness to this learning disability.

You will be able to find this information on www.UCHUpstate.com under the tab for *Upstate Special Needs Support Group.*

What Is Dysgraphia?

from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Because writing requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills, saying a student has dysgraphia is not sufficient. A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment, as well as additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer.

What are the warning signs of dysgraphia?

Just having bad handwriting doesn’t mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. However since writing is a developmental process -children learn the motor skills needed to write, while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper – difficulties can also overlap.

If a person has trouble in any of the areas below, additional help may be beneficial.

  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
  • Tiring quickly while writing
  • Saying words out loud while writing
  • Unfinished or omitted words in sentences
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech.

Here’s a video that a mom created to help her son with dysgraphia.


2 thoughts on “Understanding Dysgrahia”

  1. My son has not been diagnosed with dysgraphia mainly because 1) having it diagnosed privately is hard and very very expensive. 2)- if you go through the school district in which you live, and your child IS diagnosed, should that child every have to enter public school, they will forever be tagged as having a ‘disability’ and treated as such.

    Dysgraphia is very difficult to diagnose. It is really not reflective of a child’s inability to process and produce the information, its that the message essentially gets ‘muddled’ by the time it is processed and returned to the hand to write. Dygraphia affects mostly boys. It is aggravated by the growth of the arm before the nerves can grow to accommodate the length of the bones and therefore leaves larger gaps between the end of a nerve, to the receptors of the next nerve.

    A child with dysgraphia USUALLY has no problems with composition and math processing. When allowed to dictate their thoughts/creative processes to someone who only scribes for them, much of the stress is alleviated and the child can flourish.

    I suspected that my son may have dysgraphic issues when he began to exhibit many of the classis ‘tale-tale’ signs; inability to tie his shoes, not being able to color inside the lines, spending more time thinking of ways to get around a writing assignments vs. writing it, scoring extremely well on ‘bubble tests’ and doing very poorly on tests that required a hand written answer, excelling in spelling bees and doing very poorly on spelling tests in class, doing poorly on written math, but an incredible ability to think through complicated problems and voicing a correct answer…

    As we began to investigate and research what dysgraphia is and how it affects children, I became more and more aware that if I offered my son alternatives to tests, classwork, creative processes that did NOT equate to increased hand written assignments, I began to see his grades improve. Because the private school he attended would not be required to accommodate his needs effectively and I didn’t want to ‘tag’ him as being ‘disabled’ (as I described in the first paragraph) we made the decision to homeschool. When we finally decided to face this issue head-on and actually TOLD our son what we believed his ‘problem’ is/was and that we were going to help him learn to ‘work around’ these limitations, it was as though the weight of the world was lifted off of him. Understanding that this was a processing/expression limitation that in no way affected his ability to learn and to be tested effectively on WHAT he has learned, he feels that he has been liberated. He is no longer intimidated or embarrassed by his writing. He works doubly hard to write as legibly as he can, he is willing to have someone proofread his work and he no longer lives under the condemnation that had been repeatedly heaped on him by his fourth grade teacher (who apparently thought that my son’s writing deficiencies were due to severe laziness and extreme lack of desire to do better and she erroneously thought that embarrassing him in the audience of his peers would be a positive motivator; had I known then what I know now, life for my son and for me would have been much better!)

    I have come to believe that of all the ‘dys-somethings’, dysgraphia is the easiest to work around. Who doesn’t have a phone that can type? Who doesn’t do more than half of their communication via computer? Who doesn’t do the majority of their creative composition work with a keyboard? I have found that addressing the actual, physical writing limitations and offering various ways around my son’s work and learning assignments has helped him to grow that creative side of his learning again. Yes. He will still need to hand write notes, be able to sign his name, sign cards and the like, but no longer does he feel like he is a second class student simply because his penmanship is not like that of many of his peers.

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