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Dysgraphia: What You Need To Know

What Is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a specific set of writing challenges, affecting handwriting, typing and spelling.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dysgraphia?

One of the main signs of dysgraphia can be messy handwriting. Children may struggle with forming individual letters and spacing them correctly or making them the correct size, writing in a straight line or controlling a pen or pencil. They may also struggle with things like applying the correct amount of pressure with the pencil, and maintaining the right arm position and posture for writing, holding the pencil in one hand and the paper in the other.

Many children with dysgraphia also find spelling hard because of the trouble they have in forming letters. 

Is Dysgraphia A Form Of Autism?

Dysgraphia is not a form of autism, but many people with autism spectrum disorders and Asperger’s syndrome also have dysgraphia. Dysgraphia can often occur on its own though.

What If I Think My Child Has Dysgraphia? 

Dysgraphia is no longer an official diagnosis. Instead there is a diagnosis of Specific learning disorder with impairment in written expression which refers to a person experiencing trouble expressing their thoughts in writing rather than the transcription challenges experienced by someone with dysgraphia.

If you think your child may have dysgraphia, there are certain tests for writing and fine motor skills which may help to clarify the situation, even if no formal diagnosis can be given. Occupational therapists and physical therapists can help with testing motor skills.

It is possible that your child does not have dysgraphia, but a different condition. For example, trouble with handwriting could actually be caused by dysgraphia and trouble with spelling could be caused by dyslexia.

How To Help A Child With Dysgraphia

Whether your child has dysgraphia or their transcription problems are caused by dyspraxia or dyslexia, there are many things that can be done to help.

Occupational therapists can help with handwriting, helping children with fine motor skills. This can help to improve pen grip and make things feel a little easier.

School support may be available, especially if your child has an EHCP or IEP. Also simple things such as pencil grips can be of great help.

At home there are many things parents can do to assist in development of pencil grip, posture etc. There are drawing exercises you can do with your child to help practice, and lots of YouTube videos available to help with things like different pencil grips and activities.

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