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How to Manage Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing ability and fine motor skills.

Symptoms include:

· Difficulty forming letters or spacing words

· Difficulty having a grip on a pencil

· Difficulty following a line or staying within margins

· Trouble with sentence structure (only when writing)

· Difficulty organising thoughts on paper

Some ways to help your child at home are;

1. Teach typing. This is an absolutely life-saving strategy for any child with dysgraphia. Reward your child for practicing on the computer — even for as little as ten minutes a day. Rewarding can act as a motivator for the child.

2. Help your child get a good grip on the pencil or pen. In situations where typing isn’t possible, it’s important for your child to hold her pencil correctly. You can always look for crayons which are easily available online for helping forming the grip.

3. Encourage your child to dictate sentences into a tape recorder before writing them down. This will take advantage of his speaking skills and allow him to focus solely on letter formation.

4. Be a scribe for your child. Almost every child with dysgraphia resists any homework that involves writing — and as a result, even simple assignments can take hours to complete. To increase your child’s willingness to write, take some of the pressure off him by agreeing to write for him.

5. Prompt your child to say the words as he writes them. Auditory feedback engages various areas of the brain, helping students stay focused and monitor their efforts.

6. Do letter-formation drills (print and cursive). Letters don’t have to be perfect. They should, at a minimum, be fairly consistent and readable. Make sure your child always forms letters from the top instead of the bottom — a common pitfall for new writers with dysgraphia.

7. Engage in multi-sensory exercises. Ask your child to write in the air, in sand, or in paint, using his finger. This enables a tactile learner to “feel the letter” and form a memory based on its shape.

8. Build muscle memory in fingers. Kendra Wagner, a learning specialist, recommends this occupational therapy trick: “Have your child walk her thumb, index, and middle finger up and down a chopstick, placed on a flat surface, as fast as possible. Only the three ‘grip’ fingers should touch the chopstick.”

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