Friday, January 14, 2011

Dysgraphia

My older son has a few developmental issues, which is one reason I am so glad we homeschool. We think his developmental problems are the result of a complicated pregnancy and delivery. He has been diagnosed with tic disorder, ADHD, and I suspect he may have dysgraphia.

Dysgraphia is basically a disconnect between the brain and the arm that is writing. You can see an example of dysgraphia here. Letters in words are reversed, thoughts are incomplete, handwriting is incredibly sloppy. Even though he knows what he wants to write, he can dictate a whole story to me, when he tries to write it out, there is an incredible difficulty in getting the words on paper. Think of someone who stutters, but that stuttering is writing. My son used to write words with capital letters everywhere but where they should be. His handwriting was all over the page and no matter how many times I showed him the correct way to spell or write, he continued to struggle. I did some research online and came across dysgraphia and started to implement some ideas to help him. Some of the tips have helped, but it is still a daily problem.

This morning he struggled to complete an assigned writing project for our homeschool charter school. He simply had to correct a paragraph he wrote last semester. Our overseer had already graded his work and gave it back to him with the corrections marked. All my son had to do was copy his original paragraph with the corrections. It was not easy. He got halfway through it when he started complaining that his arm was hurting. I made him keep going since he was so close to being done. His arm gets fatigued very quickly while he is writing, but he can drag a short assignment out all day and we don't have that luxury today. I wonder sometimes if he is just pretending, but today he actually started to hit his arm in frustration. So I let him take a quick break and then finish. This was one assignment he could not type or I would have let him finish it on the computer.

He definitely has some of the symptoms of dysgraphia in addition to the fatigue. His handwriting is atrocious even after a whole school year spent working on the correct way to write neatly. His spelling has improved, but it suffers when his lack of focus gets him off track and he makes silly errors. I guess, now that I'm writing this out, maybe it's just his ADHD, but dysgraphia is common in ADHD kids, too, so who knows.

I am so happy I found this link with so many suggestions on helping kids with dysgraphia. I have started to let him type his assignments a lot more, which he loves. There are some interesting exercises on here, too, that I will have to try for next week. Usually I let him take a five minute break when his fatigue prevents him from any further productive work, meaning his handwriting gets even sloppier if he doesn't get a break, but I think we will be using the computer a lot more.

I wonder, too, if handwriting skills may be replaced by typing skills in school standards. It seems to me that typing is the more necessary skill for life as we know it.

3 comments:

  1. It will get better. It takes time. I'm writing novels-non-published yet but I'm writing. Rather I'm typing.

    In the early years of learning both writing and reading, it was pure hell. But I had wonderful teachers. I'm sure your son is frustrated and feels like he's stupid. But I bet he's above average intelligence. I am.

    Good Luck.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Shelly. Yes, he is above average in many areas, funny how that works. Typing is the key, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yup. Typing is the key. Also, there are special schools out there that sometime offer a certain amount of weeks under state fundings to tutor him. It's free.

    I went to one before going off to college. It was a great help to me. You might want to do some research. Also, Yoga was a help.

    ReplyDelete