A large part of a student’s educational journey involves writing, with students asked to develop both their physical and cognitive writing abilities as they progress through school. As with other academic skills, writing skills can be impaired due to a specific learning disorder – in this case, dysgraphia.

What is dysgraphia and how does it manifest?

Students with dysgraphia can struggle with the motor skills needed to write clearly and properly. Their writing can sometimes be hard to read, messy and lacking in form. The physical requirements of writing can be difficult, resulting in bad posture when writing and an awkward and excessively tight pencil grip. More broadly, these issues mean that drawing can also be difficult.

Students with dysgraphia may have trouble transferring their thoughts to paper and can often need to verbalize words out loud while writing. When completing written assignments for school, students may forget words or leave sentences unfinished.  As a result, the finished written product is not always a good indicator of what a student may truly know or understand about a topic.

Students struggling with this learning disorder often require extra time at school to work on written evaluations. Indeed, they should benefit from such an accommodation, as this extra time can make a difference in allowing them to more clearly get their thoughts on paper.  They may also benefit from being allowed to type their work, helping reduce the physically taxing nature of the actual writing.

Tutoring strategies for helping a student with dysgraphia

Other options to help students with dysgraphia can include encouraging them to use helpful tools; special pens or writing equipment that feel more comfortable in their hand can help ease the stress of writing.

Tutoring is also a great way to support a student with dysgraphia. With a tailored approach, it is possible to mitigate some of the challenges of dysgraphia by developing specific learning strategies. Some examples of useful learning strategies include teaching students to begin a writing assignment by first brainstorming with diagrams or pictures,  or encouraging them to practice writing by engaging in fun writing activities outside of school time, such as writing a diary or scrapbooking.

Helping students cope with dysgraphia is important – the ability to move from thoughts to expressing those thoughts in written form is a basic skill, and one that will be needed throughout their personal and professional lives.

For more info on dysgraphia, visit: What Is Dysgraphia? | LD Topics | LD OnLine

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