While much research has been conducted on learning disorders such as dyslexia, a lot is still unknown about dysgraphia, which is unfortunate since between 7% and 15% of students suffer from this problem. But what is dysgraphia and how can educators help students diagnosed with this disorder?
Like dyslexia, dysgraphia is not related to intelligence but is an unanticipated difficulty with writing and spelling skills that is usually discovered in primary or elementary school. It is characterized by:
- Underdeveloped phonemic awareness and understanding
- Challenges with correctly copying visual information
- Unreadable handwriting
- Inefficient grip on a writing implement
- Incorrect spelling
- Faulty letter formation
- Below average writing fluency for the grade level
Students with this disorder are deficient in processing phonics and manipulating language sounds. Often, they also have issues with visual and auditory processing, as well.
Fortunately, there are ways you can support students with dysgraphia and help them to be more successful in the classroom without drawing attention to their disability.
- Provide additional time to complete written work
- Give students a copy of notes from the white or chalkboard
- Permit students to use a “note taker” or tools for speech-to-text translation
- Allow students to write numeric formulas rather than mathematic word problems
If you have a student who has not been diagnosed with dysgraphia, but you suspect that it could be an issue, recommend the child to your school counselor or testing center for evaluation. It may be possible for him to qualify for additional special education and occupational therapy resources, as well, which can only benefit him at school.
Learning more about dysgraphia and other learning challenges can help all children succeed at school and allows teachers the tools necessary to reach every student in the classroom.
To better prepare for working with students with disabilities, see our inclusion course.