Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Because writing requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills, saying a student has dysgraphia is not sufficient. A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment, as well as additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer.

What are the warning signs of dysgraphia? Just having bad handwriting doesn't mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. However since writing is a developmental process -children learn the motor skills needed to write, while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper - difficulties can also overlap.

If a person has trouble in any of the areas below, additional help may be beneficial:

Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position

Illegible handwriting

Avoiding writing or drawing tasks

Tiring quickly while writing

Saying words out loud while writing

Avoiding writing or drawing tasks

Unfinished or omitted words in sentences

Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper

Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar

Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech

What strategies can help?

There are many ways to help a person with dysgraphia achieve success. Generally strategies fall into two categories:

Accommodations: providing alternatives to written expression

Remediation: providing instruction for improving handwriting and writing skills Each type of strategy should be considered when planning instruction and support. A person with dysgraphia will benefit from help from both specialists and those who are closest to the person. Finding the most beneficial type of support is a process of trying different ideas and openly exchanging thoughts on what works best.

Below are some examples of how to teach individuals with dysgraphia to overcome some of their difficulties with written expression:

Early Writers -