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Dysgraphia

My Child Was Just Diagnosed With Dysgraphia. Now What?

By Lexi Walters Wright

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Kids with dysgraphia have trouble with writing—whether that’s handwriting, expressing ideas in writing, or both. But there are a number of strategies, tools and therapies that can help your child get better at (and more comfortable with) these skills. If you recently learned your child has dysgraphia and aren’t sure what to do next, start by following these steps.

1

Learn all you can about dysgraphia.

Dysgraphia is more than just messy handwriting. Discover the myths that surround this writing issue. Learn which other skills might be affected, including how it can affect your child’s social life. And find answers to commonly asked questions about dysgraphia.

2

Investigate dysgraphia treatments and therapies.

There’s no “cure” for dysgraphia. But there are therapies and interventions that can help. Occupational therapy, for example, can be helpful for kids who have trouble with the physical act of writing. Educational therapy can help kids cope with frustration around writing assignments.

3

Discuss dysgraphia supports and services with the school.

Schedule a meeting with the school and bring copies of any reports from doctors or specialists. Even if the school has done its own evaluation, an outside evaluation can help with the IEP or 504 plan process. Talk about dysgraphia accommodations and assistive technology. You can also talk about low-tech tools to help with dysgraphia, like pencil grips or slant boards.

4

Teach your child to self-advocate.

Beginning in grade school, your child can ask for help at school and beyond when her dysgraphia causes challenges. Middle-schoolers with dysgraphia might be embarrassed to draw attention to their challenges, but speaking up about what they need is a lifelong skill to practice.

5

Understand the possible emotional impact.

Kids with learning and attention issues can have a higher risk for mental health issues. Know the signs of anxiety and depression. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns.

6

Learn what you can do at home.

It may seem out of reach right now, but with time, you can help your child catch the writing bug—whether as a grade-schooler or as a tween. Your writing help at home can be more effective than you may think!

7

Find dysgraphia support.

Contact your local Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to learn about helpful services near you. And connect with other parents of children with dyslexia in our community.

8

Stay in touch with the school.

It’s good to stay in contact with your child’s teachers to find out what they’re seeing in the classroom. This can help you stay on the same page about whether her supports and services are working.

You may also want to talk to your child’s teacher about explicit keyboarding instruction, which is very helpful for kids with dysgraphia. You can also ask about handwriting programs like Handwriting Without Tears, which uses multisensory strategies.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright

A veteran writer and editor for parenting magazines and websites, Lexi Walters Wright has a master’s degree in library and information science and is proud to serve families at Understood.org.

More by this author

Reviewed by Bob Cunningham, M.A., Ed.M. May 24, 2016 May 24, 2016

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