Speaking up for yourself can be hard when you’re in grade school. But self-advocacy is an important skill for even young kids with dysgraphia. You can help by practicing these sentence starters.
1. “Can I use another way to show what I know?”
The situation: Your child’s book report sounds vague and confused, even though your child read—and loved—the book.
Your child can say to you or the IEP team: “I need help knowing the important parts of a book report. Can my teacher show me how to do that?”
2. “Can I have a little extra time?”
The situation: The whole class is ready to leave gym, but your child holds up everyone else because it takes longer to tie sneakers.
Your child can say to the teacher: “I’m going as fast as I can, but it takes time for me to tie my shoes. Can I have a few extra minutes at the end of class?”
Your child can say to you or the IEP team: “I don’t like having to keep asking for extra time to get dressed. Can you ask if the gym teacher will let me wear sneakers without tie laces?”
3. “Can I have more space to write in?”
The situation: Your child’s math homework is illegible because of all the erasing, cross-outs, and slanting numbers.
Your child can say to the teacher after class: “It’s hard for me to write in that small space. Is there a different kind of paper I can use?”
4. “Can I be graded on the idea and not the writing?”
The situation: Your child gets a bad grade on a science project because there were so many misspelled words in the write-up.
Your child can say to the teacher: “I had trouble with the spelling, but I did the experiment right. Can you grade me on what I did right or give me a vocabulary list so I can redo it?”
5. “Can you help me with a problem?”
The situation: A classmate says to your child, “Why do you go with Mrs. Smith during writing time?”
Your child can say to the teacher after class: “Kids are asking why I leave with Mrs. Smith for writing. I don’t know what to say. Can you help me?”