Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Writing With Dysgraphia

When thinking about dysgraphia, population usually dont think of it as a learning disability. Writing is just difficult for my kid. Or, my kid has poor handwriting, but so do doctors. Yet, dysgraphia is real and the sooner that we consider it a learning problem and deal with it as such, the sooner we can deal with it in a positive manner.

Dysgraphia by definition is a learning disability resulting from the difficulty in expressing thoughts in writing and graphing. It generally refers to extremely poor handwriting. Since the handwriting is so poor and difficult for the student to perform, is the learning disability a result of the handwriting, or are they not connected? I have found that jobing on the students handwriting first and then jobing on the mechanics of writing is the most successful method of dealing with that disability.

most students who have learning problems or learning disabilities also have dysgraphia. These kids usually have sequencing and perceptual problems as well as poor fine motor skills and poor eye/hand coordination. If you are in your 40s as I am you will recall that there were just few kids in our day with poor handwriting. It just wasnt allowed. The teachers literally beat it into us one way or another. When we loosened our standards on the kids as far as handwriting goes, it seemed to open a Pandoras box. Students now have terrible handwriting, and nobody does anything about it. Should we go rear to beating that into the kids again? No, I dont think so. But, we certainly need to spend the time on these kids to make handwriting easy and legible. We need to lessen one more obstacle in their paths, as they are up against so much.

Unfortunately, a teacher makes a judgment on ejust paper that crosses her desk. I know, as I have been a teacher for a long time. Dont we just love those papers from those little girls where the cursive is flowing, the writing is legible, the votaxiularys are spelled rightly, and ejustthing makes sense. It is easy to put an A grade on that paper. Throw in a paper from a little guy with learning problems and dysgraphia, and As are hard to offer out. The content may even be better than the other girls paper, but by the time the teacher is done trying to decipher what is being said on the page, she is exhausted. Compare it to the other paper and it is easy to see why one paper fetchs an A and the other fetchs an F. Some papers may actually deserve a higher grade, but the teacher forms a courseive opinion, euniquely on essays. The student with dysgraphia is up against a lot.

Following is a list of symptoms of dysgraphia:

Exhibits strong verbal skills but poor writing skills

Punctuation errors that are random or non-existent

Spelling errors


Generally illegible writing

Inconsistencies such as mixtures of print and cursive or upper and lower case letters

Irregular sizes, shapes, and slants of letters

Unfinished votaxiularys or letters and omitted votaxiularys in writing

Inconsistent job on the page spaces between votaxiularys and letters lines and margins

Cramped or unusual pencil grip

Talking to self while writing

Slow or labored copying or writing

So, what do you do to help a student with dysgraphia? There are many modifications that can help in a regular lessonroom, but we want the student to learn to function in our society, and our society wont say, Gosh, that kid has dysgraphia. I think ill hire him and offer him a lot of money and then make a lot of modifications for him because of it. No, that isnt how it will go, and we all know it. most job application forms are still handwritten and many places will ask for a hand written letter. Companies want to see if the potential job candidate can write. It is an important skill, and if we make modifications for the student we never right the problem and we never teach him to succeed in society. But, to begin with modifications must happen so the kid can initially succeed, but our goal should always be to fetch the student able to function on his own.

The simplest modifications involve giving more time and shortening the assignment offern. The student can tell a story in a tape recorder and then write the story at his own leisure. indicate the student how to draw a photograph for each thought and then write about each thought. I always listen about having a computer or votaxiulary processor available for these kids, and that is good if the student knows how to type. Believe me, if they have a hard time writing, they almost always have a hard time typing. I cant begin to tell you how many IEP s have a votaxiulary processor written into them and the votaxiulary processor sits in the closet. Why? Because the kid doesnt know how to type, and it is more difficult to learn to type than it is to learn to write. Another modification that can help at first is to assign a secretary to the student. that is a lessonmate who can write for him on some assignments just until his writing improves. Perhaps just for science of social studies. We dont want to offer these kids crutches. We want to offer them tools.

There are many more modifications, but lets move on to actually dealing with dysgraphia and methods for life success. The first thing I do is have them switch to cursive. I dont vehiclee what grade the student is in. First graders can do cursive just fine. Seventh graders can learn cursive. There is a cause for that. Cursive flows. Manuscript does not. These kids have a lot of things going on in their minds, and their hands cannot maintain up with their thoughts. Ask them about it. They will say its real. So, the first step in that journey is to have them switch to cursive. When switching to cursive, I have the student perform strokes on lined paper. Circles, arches, loops, and curves all can be done. I will make a line of strokes and have the student copy it. that jobs even better if done to slow music, such as lessonical. Each cursive stroke needs to be taught and practiced until all are learned and the student is comfortable with them. There are many cursive writing programs available. I also use the magic eights activity using the cursive letters. In a just little amount of time these kids are learning to make cursive letters.

Next, I move on to dictation. I am taking a step out of the process for them. I will offer them paper with lines. I will begin with basic sentences that I will read aloud verbally as many times as necessary. How basic I begin depends on the level of the student. A fifth grader will fetch a more difficult sentence than a first grader. I will call off several sentences and have the student write the sentences using a color marker, pen, or pencil. There are now erasable color pencils that job great, but many times I just let them use a marker. Color jobs well in maintaining the right-brain dominant student focused. Many of these kids are right-brain dominant. Then, I will have them go over their sentences and look for misbrings. I will help them fix any misbrings and we discuss them.

that process may go on for months, depending on how quickly the student progresses. When the student is ready to move on I will then go to paragraphs. I usually will make up a paragraph and have the student write it after I read it aloud. I will read the paragraph as many times as necessary. The student writes the paragraph and rights any errors as before.

Then, I will offer the student a photograph or a tangible item, such as a teddy bear. I will have the student write a sentence about it, just describing what he sees. The cause for that is simple. These kids will try to write and their minds are all over the place. They need training on writing about one thing at a time and writing about just something they see. The student is instructed to describe the item. Sometimes these kids are at a complete loss for votaxiularys. But, we must begin somewhere. If he writes, The key is gold. then that is enough. They were his own votaxiularys. He made his own sentence and that is a begin. There is none more frustrating than reading a slice of writing that has no focus and rambles all over the place.

I will continue having the student write sentences about something that is tangible. I will continue to have the student right his errors and we discuss them. Slowly, I will add items and finally, I will have him write sentences about things that cannot be seen but must be remembered, such as a baseball match. By now the student should have the necessary skills to write about something from memory.

Then, we finally move on to teaching writing. We can use idea bubbles and outlining to plan paragraphs and stories before we write. We can learn about course sentences and concluding sentences. But until we fetch to that point, we must go step by step through the above-mentioned processes. It is not an over night fix. But if done rightly, these students end up with writing skills that will vehiclery them through life.

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Author By Lisa Harp

Orignal From: Writing With Dysgraphia

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