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How to Help Children With Dysgraphia

You’ve noticed that your kindergarten or early elementary child isn’t able to form age-appropriate letters when he tries to write, and his sentences are completely illegible. From 5 to 20 percent of children have difficulty with writing; many of them will be diagnosed with a learning disability called dysgraphia

If your child has ADHD or ADD, dysgraphia is a common comorbidity. Nearly half of children with attention deficit disorder have another learning disability. 

One study indicates that 92 percent of children on the autism spectrum have some type of deficiency in their graphomotor ability — all the skills involved in learning to write successfully. Writing is a complex endeavor; it involves at least five different types of visual and neuromotor skills.

Our board-certified occupational therapists at Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy, with two locations in Charlotte, North Carolina, help children who have dysgraphia every day. Researchers have categorized three primary forms of dysgraphia, each characterized by specific deficits. 

Dyslexic dysgraphia

If your child has dyslexic dysgraphia, his writing product when completing assignments is very poor, veering on illegible. However, when he copies work from the board, the copying is readable. He has trouble with spelling. 

In spite of the name, not all children with dyslexic dysgraphia have dyslexia, a disability in identifying sounds and how they correspond to letters and words that makes reading difficult. Surprisingly, researchers say the two disabilities appear unrelated

Motor dysgraphia

Motor dysgraphia is characterized by writing that is almost illegible even when your child is copying the material from a board or book. The first letters he produces in a writing assignment may be all right, but the legibility deteriorates quickly. What he does produce requires exhaustive effort that frustrates him. He may cry when he has to perform a writing assignment, bringing you to tears, too. 

Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy is here to help dry those tears. If our therapists suspect motor dysgraphia, they can administer various assessments to evaluate manual dexterity and functional deficits related to handwriting. Results for children with motor dysgraphia are below normal

Spelling isn’t affected with motor dysgraphia, as the disability stems from a deficit in fine motor skills and/or weak muscle tone.  

Spatial dysgraphia

If your child has spatial dysgraphia, he has trouble in writing within the lines on paper because he has difficulty translating where his hand is on the page. His writing may be illegible when he’s producing an assignment as well as copying something. The disability doesn’t affect spelling. Tapping speed is normal, so it’s not a motor issue. This doesn’t make sense now without the finger tapping test in the previous section 

Effective treatment for dysgraphia 

Occupational therapy is the standard of care for children with dysgraphia. Our therapists employ a wide range of therapeutic activities that are fun but also challenging for your child. They provide recommendations for how you can alter the home environment to help your child succeed and improve weaknesses in neuromotor and other relevant skills. You’ll notice a change in your child’s self-confidence once he begins to improve areas that have been frustrating for him. 

Call Little Wonders Pediatric Therapy today or send us a message online for a private consultation. We would love to help your child reach his full potential. 

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