By Erica Patino
You may already know that dysgraphia is a brain-based condition that makes the physical act of writing difficult. Understanding the terms your child’s school and doctors use can make it easier to help your child get the support he needs.
The ability to remember how to write a letter or word and then write the word or letter accurately. Children who have difficulty with orthographic coding will often forget how to form certain letters and may have trouble with spelling.
A condition in which writing abilities fall below what’s expected, based on a person’s age and intelligence. This term is used interchangeably with “dysgraphia.”
Difficulty putting letters and numbers in the proper order. Kids with writing difficulties may write letters and numbers backwards or out of order. This can lead to sloppy handwriting.
Short-term memory, or the part of the brain that temporarily stores information before you react to it. Children with writing difficulties may have trouble retrieving information from their working memory because so much of their energy goes into the physical act of writing.
A visual tool to illustrate and map out ideas before writing (sometimes referred to as concept maps or mind maps). Kids with writing issues might find graphic organizers helpful for outlining assignments before writing.
The abilities required to control small muscles, such as in the hands and feet. Children with writing issues typically have weak fine motor skills and find it hard to manipulate objects like pencils and scissors.
Trouble making sense of what the eye sees. Children with writing issues might have visual-spatial difficulties that make it hard to read maps or differentiate left from right.
Making sense of what the ear hears. Children with language processing issues may take longer to understand what they hear. When coupled with writing issues, language processing issues can make it even more difficult to translate what’s heard into writing.
Moving fingers in a particular order; for example, touching the thumb to the pinkie finger, then to the ring finger, and so on. Handwriting requires this ability, but word processing doesn’t. That’s why many kids with writing issues have an easier time typing than writing by hand.
Kids with sensory processing issues can be oversensitive to taste and smells, from cooking spices to minty toothpastes to scented shampoos. An occupational therapist can help your child develop coping skills. There are also activities you can do to help at home.
Kids who struggle with sensory processing issues can be highly sensitive to noise. This can make everything from grocery shopping to school fire drills a challenge. Your child’s clinicians can help find long-term solutions, but here are some in-the-moment ways to help your child cope with noise sensitivity.
Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.
Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
What’s the Difference Between Written Expression Disorder and Expressive Language Issues?
My Child Was Just Diagnosed With Dysgraphia. Now What?
Dysgraphia: What You’re Seeing in Your High-Schooler
8 Expert Tips on Helping Your Child With Dysgraphia
Dysgraphia: What You’re Seeing in Your Grade-Schooler
Is Dysgraphia the Same Thing as Disorder of Written Expression?
Learn how school vouchers can impact special education services and legal rights.
These free handwriting tools can help your child practice writing.
Hear from a mom who tried a simulation that finally helped her “get” her child’s struggles.
Feb 25th at 10:00 am
Sign up for weekly emails with helpful resources for you and your family.
This email is already subscribed to Understood newsletters. If you haven't been receiving anything, add email@example.com to your safe-senders list.
Name must have no more than 50 characters. Email address must be valid. Email message must have no more than 140 characters and cannot include the < > / \ special characters. Please fill out all fields to send a message.
Don’t worry—we saved what you wrote.
Sign up to get personalized recommendations and connect with parents and experts in our community.
Only members can view and participate in conversations.
Child’s nickname is private and only you can see it.