Students with dysgraphia can have trouble with handwriting, typing, and spelling. What classroom accommodations can help? Here are some ways teachers can make all aspects of writing easier.
Classroom materials and routines
- Provide pencil grips or different types of pens or pencils to see what works best for the student.
- Provide handouts so there’s less to copy from the board.
- Provide typed copies of classroom notes or lesson outlines to help the student take notes.
- Provide extra time to take notes and copy material.
- Allow the student to use an audio recorder or a laptop in class.
- Provide paper with different-colored or raised lines to help form letters in the right space.
- Provide graph paper (or lined paper to be used sideways) to help line up math problems.
- Provide paper assignments with name, date, title, etc., already filled in.
- Provide information needed to start writing assignments early.
- Help the student break writing assignments into steps.
- Provide a rubric and explain how each step is graded.
- Give examples of finished assignments.
- Offer alternatives to written responses, like giving an oral report.
Completing tests and assignments
- Adapt test formats to cut down on handwriting. For example, use “circle the answer” or “fill in the blank” questions.
- Grade based on what the student knows, not on handwriting or spelling.
- Use a scribe or speech-to-text so the student can dictate test answers and writing assignments.
- Let the student choose to either print or use cursive for handwritten responses.
- Allow a “proofreader” to look for errors.
- Provide extended time on tests.
- Provide a quiet room for tests if needed.
Do you have a student who struggles with writing? Find out how dysgraphia and disorder of written expression differ from each other.
Does your child struggle with handwriting? Explore fun, effective expert tips to practice at home.
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.
Whitney Hollins is a special education teacher and adjunct instructor at Hunter College.