Interventions for Dysgraphia

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Just having poor handwriting does not mean a person suffers from dysgraphia.
Just having poor handwriting does not mean a person suffers from dysgraphia. (Image: Young child learning to write her name image by levo from Fotolia.com)

Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder that manifests itself in handwriting disabilities, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Children with this learning disorder write in such a way that letters can be oversized, incorrect, outside the lines and have spacing issues. Holding writing instruments in an awkward manner and having trouble transferring thoughts to paper are also signs of the disorder.

While this disorder is not curable, interventions can help a sufferer deal with its effects and help him function in the real world.

Adapting

If a child is focusing on the struggle to write, he is not adequately learning about what he is writing. Adjusting teaching methods to his troubled writing skills can improve the learning process.

One method is to change the demands on the student by allowing him more time to complete an assignment. Have the child start early on the assignment, and encourage the use of a keyboard to increase legibility and speed.

Adjust the volume of work through methods such as providing the student a trained person to write what the student says verbatim, then having the student make changes with no help from the other person. This method removes the quality of handwriting from the grading of the particular student's assignments.

Encourage the student to have others proofread his work or have him use a spell-checker. A speaking spell-checker works best for those with dysgraphia, as recognizing the correct word can be difficult. You could provide the student with his favorite writing instrument and teach him cursive writing earlier than normal, as some students find cursive writing easier than printing.

Revising Assignments

Adapting assignments may not be enough for some students with dysgraphia.

Revising the methods for completing assignments without diminishing the lessons they need to learn can be accomplished through introducing such methods as stressing quality over quantity on written assignments and allowing students with dysgraphia to answer some questions with drawings or phrases rather than complete sentences.

Having students without learning disabilities work with the learning disabled student can be beneficial. One able student might focus on mapping out the assignment; another, on proofreading; another, on illustration; and another, on writing. This provides an environment wherein the student with dysgraphia isn't overwhelmed with all of the aspects of completing a writing assignment.

Allowing the student to present a project in oral or visual form rather than written form can allow him to show what he has learned without the need of writing it down. With specific instructions on what needs to be demonstrated and articulated, the stress of writing is removed, but the learning aspect remains intact. The teacher then grades the student on completion of the assignment just as she would do with the students who were required to write a report.

Practicing Correct Writing Skills

Some dysgraphic people are able to improve handwriting through practice. It is important to remember that even if the student becomes more successful at completing assignments by using a word processor, he still needs to work on handwriting.

Techniques for practicing handwriting include early intervention, wherein a teacher assists the student in finding the most comfortable way for him to write.. For example, if it's easier for a student to write in cursive rather than print, let him do it. The goal is for the student to work with the skills he has and build on those.

Building time into the student's schedule for learning handwriting under the instruction of a teacher can be important. Most students with dysgraphia actually want to learn to write better.

Should the disorder be severe, the consideration of occupational therapy or special education needs to be discussed among the student's parents and teachers, according to Learning Disorders Online. Through occupational therapy or special education, the student can benefit from focused and intense handwriting instruction.

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