What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is when someone has difficulty expressing themselves in writing.
The word dysgraphia comes from the Greek words dys meaning “impaired” and graphia meaning “making letter forms by hand”.
Dysgraphia is a brain-based issue. It’s not the result of a child being lazy. For many children with dysgraphia, just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line is really hard.
Their handwriting tends to be messy. This is not because of co-ordination, but because they might struggle to spell or put their thoughts down on paper in a logical way.
Different professionals may use different terms to describe your child’s struggle with writing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5) doesn’t use the term dysgraphia but uses the phrase “an impairment in written expression” under the category of “specific learning disorder.” This is the term used by most doctors and psychologists.
Whatever definition is used, it’s important to understand that slow or sloppy writing isn’t necessarily a sign that your child isn’t trying hard enough. Writing requires a complex set of fine motor and language processing skills. For kids with dysgraphia, the writing process is harder and slower. Without help, a child with may have a difficult time in school
There may be confusion about where to start writing the letter. Which direction to go and even where to start changing direction when doing curves. (Like in c or s.)
Remember, children with dysgraphia are picture thinkers. In some cases, when they are trying to remember the letter, they take pictures in their mind of what the letter should look like. Every time someone writes a letter on the board, they record it in their picture memory.
The confusion arises when they don’t know which picture they should use because they have recorded multiple mental images for the same letter.
They may be very slow and very unsure when writing. The lines may even have squiggles or waves because of all the mental indecision going on.
You probably hear a lot about learning and attention issues like dyslexia and ADHD. But chances are you don’t hear much about dysgraphia. If your child has trouble expressing himself in writing, you may want to learn more about this condition.
Writing difficulties are common among children and can stem from a variety of learning and attention issues. By learning what to watch for, you can be proactive about getting help for your child.
There’s no cure or easy fix for dysgraphia. But there are strategies and therapies that can help a child improve his writing. This will help him thrive in school and anywhere else expressing himself in writing is important.
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