On this is part of the site you will find extensive information on:
What is Dysgraphia?; Definition of Dysgraphia; What Causes Dysgraphia?; Dysgraphia Checklist; Dysgraphia Assessment / Test; Dysgraphia Aids & Equipment; Dysgraphia Treatment – How Can You Help?; Software for Dysgraphia; Dysgraphia FAQ’s; Employers & Dysgraphia; Handwriting Groups; Help & Advice and a Dysgraphia Book List.
You will also find a section on: Looking for schools that specialise in Dyslexia / Dysgraphia; Psychologists who can test for Dyslexia / Dysgraphia; Test Centres for Dyslexia / Dysgraphia and how to find a specialist tutor in your area.
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia (pronounced: dis-graf-eea) affects approximately 10% of the population. Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder, and dysgraphia symptoms are characterised by the inability to write correctly. Dysgraphia, in fact, refers specifically to the failure to perform operations in handwriting. It could be described as an extreme difficulty with fine-motor skills.
Fine-motor skills are essential for good writing. Students with dysgraphia symptoms may have problems with the simplest of writing tasks; their handwriting will barely be legible; the writing will appear incorrect; distorted; have letters of different sizes and different size spaces between letters. Student’s have particular difficulties following a straight line and keeping to a margin. Students with dysgraphia find it particularly painful when writing by hand. Dysgraphia Checklist
Definition of Dysgraphia
‘Dysgraphia means having severe problems with the written word, which is affected by extreme difficulty with fine-motor skills – in spite of having normal intelligence and ability’.
by Dr David Cowell & Maria Chivers, 2008
It is essential to recognise dysgraphia as soon as possible before it impacts on a child’s self-esteem. Just as there is no single set of signs that characterise dyslexia, there is no one cause of dysgraphia. The earlier dysgraphia is diagnosed, the easier it is to ensure the student receives the correct support at home, school or in the workplace. Although there is no cure, the problems can be alleviated with the proper tuition.
These difficulties often result in considerable frustration bearing in mind that people with dysgraphia are usually at least average intelligence.
Where does the Word Dysgraphia come from?
Dysgraphia comes from Greek words:
‘Dys’ = means ‘difficulty with or poor’.
‘Graphia’ = means ‘handwriting’.
Dysgraphia means ‘difficulty with handwriting’.
‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – The Essential Guide’ – Book
My book: ‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – A Parent’s Guide’ has been very well received over the years. It is useful for both parents and teachers. It contains extensive information on dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and other specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).
For a fuller description of ‘Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties – The Essential Guide‘ please click here.
‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies’ – Book
My book: ‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies‘ contains information on a wide range of alternative therapies and the way they can help people with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and other specific learning difficulties (SpLDs).
For a fuller description of ‘Dyslexia and Alternative Therapies, please click here.
What Causes Dysgraphia?
What causes Dysgraphia? We still do not know very much about dysgraphia, but it is thought the cause of this disorder could be due to a language disorder or damage to the motor system.
At present, there is hardly any research on dysgraphia, and therefore it is difficult to give definitive answers to this question.
There appears to be several sub-types of dysgraphia. Deuel (1994) divided dysgraphia into three sub-types:
*What are the different types of Dysgraphia?
While dysgraphia may be broadly classified as follows, many individual variations affect both treatment and prognosis:
1. Dyslexic Dysgraphia
In ‘Dyslexic Dysgraphia’, the spontaneously written text is illegible, especially when the text is complex. Oral spelling is poor, but drawing and copying of written text are relatively normal. Finger-tapping speed (a measure of fine-motor speed) is average.
2. Motor Dysgraphia
In ‘Motor Dysgraphia’, both spontaneously written and copied text may be illegible, oral spelling is normal, and drawing is usually problematic. Finger-tapping speed is abnormal.
3. Spatial Dysgraphia
In ‘Spatial Dysgraphia’, people display illegible writing, whether spontaneously produced or copied. Oral spelling is normal. Finger-tapping speed is average, but drawing is very problematic.
* Deuel, D. Developmental Dysgraphia 1995
What is interesting with this Deuel’s research in 1994 is there is no mention of; Phonological Dysgraphia and Visual Dysgraphia that was mentioned by the ‘National Institute of Neurological Disorders and stroke’ (NINDS) – ( Dysgraphia 2.doc NINDS), in June 2004.
While this is no longer on the NINDS’ website (or at least I couldn’t find it today), does this mean that these two problems do not exist, or there is no research to support this? For now, I am leaving them on the site, until we can find out any further information.
1. Phonological Dysgraphia
In**Phonological dysgraphia – writing words as a pure ‘sound’ spelling which is incorrect, e.g. writing ‘brought’ as ‘brot’ or ‘station’ as ‘stayshun’.
2. Visual Dysgraphia
In Visual dysgraphia – writing words, which are correctly spelt apart from some letters being reversed, e.g. ‘drink’ as ‘brink’ or the bizarre or abnormal and
‘irregular formation of letters. They may sometimes look okay, but they have been produced in an abnormal order of pen strokes.
**Dysgraphia 2.doc NINDS
Dysgraphia – Developing skills through play
You can help a student with dysgraphia, by using Multi-Sensory Teaching Methods, developing skills through play and hand strengthening exercises.
What is Multi-Sensory?
I am frequently being asked by parents and students, ‘what does multi-sensory mean?’ Multi-Sensory merely means, using: eyes, ears, touch, taste and smell; using some or all these methods have shown to be the most effective way of teaching students with dyslexia.
You can see from the lists below that there are lots of things you can use to help students. Most of these things are free or very cheap to buy. Most of the time the students, especially the younger ones, think they are merely ‘playing’, but just look at the skills (below) they are developing.
Dysgraphia Treatment – Playing with things like:
• Practising letter formation in sand/salt trays. (I use cat litter trays they are very cheap.)
• Using chalk or coloured pens, to do letter formation on black/whiteboard.
• Shape and pattern copying.
• Pre-formed letter shapes, children follow with their fingers.
•Templates – help to keep the paper in the right place/angle.
• Tracing pictures
• Using ‘Etch a Sketch’ to practice writing – write, shake it and it goes away.
• Tracking objects to their ‘homes’, i.e., ‘Mazes, trace along the line back to the rabbit hutch.
• Colouring in ‘mosaics’ or ‘paint by number’ are excellent to improve ‘fine motor’ control, (much better than merely writing).
• Colouring in old-fashioned ‘doylies’ (for cakes) is another way to improve fine-motor control.
• Colouring books – help children stay inside the lines.
• Threading coloured beads.
• Spirograph is excellent for hand control.
Dysgraphia Treatment – Hand Strengthening Techniques:
• Squeeze balls, ‘Squidgie’ balls, Tennis balls.
- Modelling Clay, Play-Doh, Plasticine, Blue Tac.
- Playing: hockey, tennis, swimming.
Dysgraphia Treatment – Developing Skills, including:
- Space organisation
- Directional awareness
Dysgraphia Touch Typing
Dysgraphia – Touch Typing
Touch Typing Programmes
There are a lot of ‘Touch Typing’ packages available. However, I think for people with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia or other learning difficulties (SpLD’s), it is advisable to use programmes that were specially designed with ‘dyslexic’ type problems in mind. The programmes listed below, have been tested and used for years. They are excellent.
Dysgraphia – Touch Typing Programmes
KAZ – Typing Programme
Children love this because it has a big yellow bird that helps to teach them to type. Designed for children 6+ years (This company now has a Dyslexia Edition which has been developed by the ‘Dyslexia Research Trust’.)
‘Nessy Fingers Touch Typing’
‘Nessy Fingers Touch Typing’, helps children improve spelling and keyboard skills. Designed for children between 8-12 years.
Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS)
Children who learn to touch type via a multisensory course like Touch-type Read and Spell also have their phonics skills reinforced.
Type to Learn 3
Students embark on time-travel missions to learn keyboarding skills.
Touch Typing Review
Why not give your child an advantage over the holidays and get them to touch-type? I am sure you would not mind sitting with them (although you don’t have to) for ¹15 minutes a day for five days.
This will give them an excellent start when they return to school.
KAZ is for children from six years of age, he is a ‘big bird’, and the kids love him.
The programme basically has five phrases, and each sentence will take about fifteen minutes to complete. ¹(Now the caveat on this is there is never any pressure on the child; it may take 15 minutes, 30 or just ten, they have to do it at their own pace.)
When they have completed the five phrases, they will have used all of their fingers and covered the entire keyboard.
After that, it is just practice to increase the speed and to get the whereabouts of the keys to ‘long-term memory’ (that’s my expression, not theirs).
There are also sections for punctuation etc., but they are separate, and you can choose to complete them or not.
My husband and one of our sons can type at 40wpm, using two fingers, so, I don’t necessarily believe in touch-typing per se, but I firmly believe that everyone should know their way around a keyboard well.
If they know the keyboard, when they want to write something, they can just get on and type – it definitely makes writing more accessible.
There are different programmes available; one for children with dyslexia, junior children, and even a version for children with ADHD. Furthermore, it is not just confined to children, so you may want to have a go yourself!
For further information, go to KAZ’s website: https://kaz-type.com/ or telephone 01926 423424. The lady on the other end of the phone is Sheraleen Bragenza. She is very easy to talk to, and she can answer any questions you may have.
by Maria Chivers
Congratulations to KAZ, they have just been
‘voted #1 Best Typing Tutor of the Year’ for 2018.
Dysgraphia - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
We get quite a few questions from people asking about Dysgraphia and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD’s), so I have tried to answer some of the more common questions.
What is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is a Specific Learning Disability (SpLD).
What Causes Dysgraphia?
Most specialists consider dyslexia to be a hereditary, genetic condition. Dyslexia often runs in families. The causes have not been fully established at the moment.
However, dyslexia can be caused by other ways i.e., stroke, serious head injury etc.
Do People from other Countries have Dyspraxia?
Dysgraphia occurs from all races, backgrounds and abilities.
What are the Symptoms of Dysgraphia?
For a full list of dysgraphia symptoms, click here.
Is Dysgraphia an Illness?
Dysgraphia is definitely not an illness.
Is Dysgraphia a Disease?
Dysgraphia is definitely not a disease.
Is Dysgraphia considered a Disability?
Dysgraphia can be registered disability under the Equality Act (EA) 2010, depending on the severity of the problem.
Is Dysgraphia hereditary?
Often people who have dyslexia, also have dysgraphia. Dyslexia does run in families. Little is known about dysgraphia at this time.
How many People have Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia affects approximately 10% of the population.
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