Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Winning over Writers who Whine - Dysgraphia

Does your child despise writing? Do you find yourself amazed at his creativity, but positively frustrated when it comes time for him to put his thoughts down on paper? Are his sentences a jumble of different sized letters, some uppercase, some lowercase that take up uneven amounts of space? Do some letters float while others fall below the baseline? Are you finding it impossible to move from print to cursive?  These are a few signs that you may be dealing with dysgraphia.  Here's some more:

Improper grip, sloppy or illegible handwriting; pain when eeking out one sentence and difficulty moving creative thoughts from the mind onto paper. 

If your answering yes to these questions, you may have a child with dysgraphia, and yes, it can be physically painful to write. After researching dysgraphia, it surprised me how often  it is undiagnosed in school systems, especially since it is easily identified and can be overcome. Here's some Tips that you can Take, Tweak, or Toss:

bad grip, no paper slant, sitting on knees
First, watch how your child writes. Check posture. Are feet curled underneath her? Is she slouched or resting her head on her arm or propping it up on her hand? Check the grip. Are her fingers tips turning color from too much pressure? Is her wrist turned or curled around the pencil? How about the position of the paper? Is it straight up and down instead of slanted enabling the arm to glide across the paper? How does she form her letters? Does she 'push' them up from the bottom, or 'pull them down' from the top? 

Second, watch this video. Homeschooling mom of three kids, Lorraine Yuriar, has a child with dysgraphia. She made a video with her son (age 10) explaining how to implement corrections because dysgraphia can be overcome! 

These are quick fixes, but have to be practiced so that bad habits can turn into good writing technique. I've posted the video directly below. Have your child watch it with you.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0WkTVH-UaA

Here's some clues to look for in toddlers:  no interest in coloring, side-walk chalking, markering, or using eating utensils. You can start strengthening around the age of 3 by using play dough to strengthen hands, fingers, and improving finger coordination. It's never too late to start though.  Here are some tips for that http://ashisgift.blogspot.com/2011/05/strengthening-little-hands.html

Another fact about dysgraphia is that there are two components to it. One is physical, the other part is more mental. It can be difficult to move those creative thoughts from the mind through the pencil onto paper. Lorraine says that they overcome this by doing a lot of dictation. If your child can dictate his creative writing to you and have you write it down for him, this will help ease the pain for him  and he will enjoy his creativity and school a whole lot more. It is important to separate Handwriting from Creative Writing. Handwriting class should last no longer than 15 minutes.

Learning to type can help too. Some people with dysgraphia experience no pain while keyboarding.  Here's a link to help your children learn to type for free http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/.   I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorraine during my Children's Express show. Our discussion about dysgraphia begins around the 77 minute mark, just click here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2011/09/26/autistic-artists-4pmchildren-express-5pm

Annie Eskeldson blogs for parents of young autists.  She is a homeschooler and  has 3 published children's books about autism at Ashi's Gift Website.


  1. AnnieEskeldson Added: 27 Sep, 2011 3:31 pm

    Yes! You are sooo right! I was surprised when I researched this and how it is hardly ever diagnosed especially in the school system. We homeschool, so we knew right away - but wow! how much better for parents and their kids to know especially since it can be overcome. Thanks for coming by!!

    AspieMash Added: 27 Sep, 2011 1:56 pm

    Love your blog!! delete

    j.melbourne Added: 27 Sep, 2011 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the post, Annie. Not enough people talk about dysgraphia, but it is so common. Some don't even know that they have it.

  2. MysonJACKSON Added: 05 Oct, 2011 2:05 pm

    Definitely interesting stuff. delete

    Claire_radley Added: 03 Oct, 2011 3:45 pm

    Good information to know, Annie. Never knew about dysgraphia delete

    daiel_boyd Added: 30 Sep, 2011 12:00 pm

    Informative and interesting. Thanks for the post, Annie! delete

    Rebecca_mom_of_2 Added: 29 Sep, 2011 4:50 pm

    Thank you for this information, Annie. Never knew this about dysgraphia. delete

    EARLJR Added: 28 Sep, 2011 3:01 pm

    Definitely one of the advantages of homeschooling. Schools are just not able to provide this diagnosis as often as we would want them too. delete

    sschell73 Added: 28 Sep, 2011 9:40 am

    Writing is usually difficult for a child with ASD because of the motor skills. delete

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