Dysgraphia is the medical term to describe a learning disability in writing and written expression.
A child with dysgraphia may manifest some of the following issues:
- Tense, tight and awkward pencil grip
- Difficulty holding pencil too high or too low
- Fatigue and tiredness when writing
- Pain in hand while writing
- Avoids drawing or writing tasks
- Messy or illegible handwriting
- Writing can be riddled with spelling mistakes
- Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
There are three important parts or components that make up the writing process:
- Visual spatial
- Fine Motor
- Language processing
The visual spatial issue would manifest as trouble discriminating shapes, letters, numbers, etc. The fine motor issue would manifest as difficulty with pencil grip, holding with too much tension causing muscular pain and fatigue. Handwriting may be slanted as well as poor or illegible. The language processing issue would manifest as not knowing what to write or where to start the writing process and having trouble re-reading what they have written.
Some short-term solutions:
- Purchase a rubber pencil grip. This helps guide the fingers in a comfortable position around the pencil. It is a good idea to allow your child to select his or her own pencil and you may find they prefer a thicker pencil than normal.
- Use wide ruled paper instead of the common notebook paper because it can help children with spatial awareness when writing.
- Older children may find it helpful to use a computer for writing tasks such as reports, written homework, assignments and the like.
Long –term solutions:
- Work with your child on a daily basis so they hold their writing utensil properly.
- Encourage activities which enhance fine motor skills such as playing a musical instrument.
- Use a training program such as the Intelligence Integration Australia program and learn how to create long-term success through eye movements, fine motor skill training and more.
See this example of success in resolving/improving dysgaphia.