Jump to content


dysgraphia discouragement


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,


I first posted about a year ago when Ds (8) first got the dysgraphia diagnosis. Last year we switched from AAS and WWE to Apples and Pears in an attempt to remediate the spelling and writing. I also suspected some stealth dyslexia, so we added in Abecedarian. He has been receiving vision therapy for the last 3 months and OT for SPD for the last 4 years.


I've become so discouraged lately. His reading has improved, but writing and spelling are stuck. He can read blends and digraphs well, but always leaves one of the letters out when he writes the word. Words that we have worked on for years simply don't stick.


He hates to write, and I think he works so hard making the letters and focusing on the penmanship, that the words and sentence structure get lost. He does better if I write and he copies what I've written. His OT told me last week that she feels his penmanship is legible now, so it's time to stop working on that and move on to typing. I agree that we should continue to work on typing, but doesn't he still need to be able to write at least to fill out forms, etc.?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am wondering why she suggested this. Does the OT think typing might be easier for him? I am certainly someone that thinks that penmanship is still very important. I do not encourage a lot of typing in my children at your son's age. However, if it will easier, I could then see encouraging it at a younger age. Otherwise, do you feel he is ready to take on another skill to learn?


It sounds like you have been working very hard for and with your son. Kudos to you! I am sure it has not been easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Eides mentioned in their blog the idea of kinesthetic memory and how typing can engage that to improve spelling. You also might try some visual spelling methods, now that he has had some VT. How much more VT does he have to go? We did 6 months of VT, and after that I saw dramatic gains for a number of months. He's so young, I'm not sure I'd worry about remediating a lot during the VT. Like I said, it all started to gel for us AFTERWARD.


About typing. I started my dd on typing software when she was young, and it was slowgoing. We ended up switching over to Dvorak. It's an alternate keyboard layout and more efficient. The Mavis Beacon for mac has Dvorak lessons, and someone else here found places to get them on Windows. I always mention it, because for some kids QWERTY is this slow, pecking thing. I really despaired of my dd ever even typing proficiently. When your writing is chicken scratch AND your typing is bad, that's really bad! :D


BTW, at one point, probably about that age, I had her doing the Calvert computer spelling. She did that on top of our regular mix of things (SWR phonogram-based study, dictation, etc. etc.). The computer was really marvelous for her because it was patient, FUN, and could be done at a level that was easy for her. At a time when she was saying she was DUMB and that she couldn't spell, the computer showed her otherwise. So if only for that reason, I'd at least get him *started* on some typing, just to open up for him some options like that. It doesn't have to be that you transfer ALL his writing over. And you know, an email penpal might be very motivating to him. At least it was for my dd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With my sons's dysgraphia, we were advised to stick to 10 minutes of writing practice a day. Cursive is good, and if he forgets how to form letters (which he still does at 9yo), I bring out the Montessori sandpaper letters for him to feel over. This does trigger some memory but coming back after a break is always tricky. Another way is to write huge letters (like letters in the sand), triggering gross motor muscle memory. We havent done this but it may work for your son. My aim is the same as yours- writing is a life skill, like for form filling, but for anything else, it's very onerous.


[We've done several years of VT on and off, HWT without much help, sadly. OT's been very helpful though.]


I'd definitely encourage typing too. This has been a life saver. It was slow going when we started at 8 but seems to have picked up pace in the last several months. Maybe it's developmental as well. What's very nice is that he's finally writing near the level of his speech. And when he does scribble a note, he no longer "dumbs it down" to suit his handwriting. It's just near impossible to read however! :D


Well done on what you're doing with your child!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our OT recommended HWT today. I am looking into purchasing what ds9 needs from it. (I was using Dubay Getty Italics.)


Ds9 has dysgraphia and has been in OT for a while. There is a minimum of improvement but he struggles mightily to write. :( Our OT also recommends 10 minutes a day of practice writing for the sake of writing practice, NOT writing for academic purposes. For that, she suggested we have him narrate and we write for him. She feels it takes too much energy and concentration for the writing that any academic aspect is lost. It takes ds9 a long while to write just 2 or 3 sentences.


Our current approach is to get him to a point where he can jot down a short grocery list, take down a name & phone number, and sign his name. Beyond that, he will need to be able to keyboard/type. He will basically need special accommodation for as long as we can see. (We discussed SATs and standardized testing and so forth today, even through college.) Ds9 is pretty severe, honestly.


It may be that your ds will need accommodations like mine for as long as is foreseeable and filling our forms will require assistance. :grouphug: My ds will need assistance filling out forms which can't be done online. (If your ds were in a brick and mortar school, would his dysgraphia require an IEP? Would he need a scribe? That is where my ds is. Our OT likes us to keep our expectations low and reasonable as ds isn't likely to ever write fluently and effortlessly.)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband has very poor handwriting.


He writes in block print on forms. Very often, he is able to take forms home for me to write, or print them out at home. Things like our vehicle registration -- all of the forms for that kind of thing can be printed out at home. I do that just so I am not trying to fill out forms while my kids are with me.


At work, it is surprising how often he is watching a power point, and given a copy of the power point... he can make notes on the power point, but its not like he is copying down the slides himself.


For a list -- right now he has an iphone and would put a list on his iphone.


He is also a pretty poor speller.


I think -- he is doing pretty well. He can type well. He can use spell check.


I think handwriting is worth some effort, but I really think typing is good and becoming more and more versataile.


My son is doing OT and using HWOT -- he is not doing bad right now. I am not sure if he will need a scribe or not. But I would pursue typing/scribing before I tried to make him do more handwriting. After a short time, he is just too miserable, and I don't think it is worth it. He is also working very hard at reading and I make reading a much higher priority. (He is in public school, and at this point he is okay with the writing needed for school, but there were some concerns last year and I think he might need accomodations soon.)


If my husband had more problems from spelling and handwriting I think we would feel differently. But we are pretty comfortable trying to really work on reading, and then having our second priority be things my son is actually good at. But still, I think 10 minutes a day is good to do!


edit: I have seen my husband write a note with capital and lowercase letters, and he writes cursive on his cards to me. But overall, anything for other people is written in all capital block letters. So I think that capital block letters and typing are enough to get my husband through the world. He is in the Army, so there are notes and he writes counseling statements and NCOERs (a form he does)... out of those things, only some notes are not typed. It is not the most writing-heavy job in the world, but he does make power points sometimes (even though he is enlisted and in the infantry) and that is typed. He just doesn't need to write too much, and when he does, I have always seen him use capital block letters.


My husband has taken one college class, and it was an online class (through eArmyU if anyone knows what that is). It happened that everything for that class was typed. He did good in that class, surprising himself. But he has been too busy to do another class (plus it will make more sense for him to do it in a few years -- he is not at a place in his life where it is the best place to put his energies). But I think he would have had a better experience in school if he had not spent so much time copying spelling words and having his handwriting criticized, and doing handwritten assignments.

Edited by Lecka
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our dd has dysgraphia, too, and sometimes it is even harder dealing with that and school than with the dyslexia and her hearing loss or other issues. When our dd was in K we had her privately tested- her discrepancy in verbal and writing/fine motor already showing up. We had her assesessed again in 2nd grade. We've done HWOT and then also this past year did the Writing 8 excercises diligently- this seemed to help...some. But honestly, even the evaluator back in K told us the best thing we could do would be get our dd typing by 2nd grade! Well, we're going into 4th and now teaching her typing. I also incorporate her practice of cursive into her writing lessons. We use IEW, and I scribe. Then I type the paper up on the computer in cursive, for her to trace. I'm hoping this both gives practice in her cursive handwriting and reenforces learning proper sentences, punctuation, etc. Just writing on her own, my rising 4th grader's writing looks like she was in K- loaded with spelling errors, lacking punctuation, and until this year had the "floating" letters, etc.


Do we think she needs to be able to fill out forms and sign her name? Yes. But we can only work with what she's able to do. I'm glad she lives in an age where typing is the norm and spell checker is a tool. :)




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all so much! I just really need to keep it in perspective, and remember that he has never done anything on my schedule. We still have about 8 months of VT left, and that should make a big difference. I know that typing is going to be very important, but I just don't want to feel like we're giving up on writing. I like the idea of scribing for him and then printing it for him to copy.


I will see how he feels about a dvorak keyboard, and I'll check out Calvert's spelling program.


He asked today if we could draw an alphabet with a special picture for each letter to help him remember the pictures when he spells. I clearly need to learn more about visual thinkers/learners.:001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:grouphug: hugs to you.


Dysgraphia can be hard. I'be been told for years by friends that I'm doing things wrong. My favorite is that I'm teaching math wrong. :lol: I scribe all his answers. He's done math orally forever and he's incredibly good at math.


For anything that isn't handwriting practice, I scribe. Last year I made him practice everyday writing his name. I figure this is the most important for forms, etc. Now he's 13 and very excited that he can remember how to write his name without thinking too much. This summer something clicked in his brain, and he picked up a pen and started wring math problems for the first time. I'm so excited. He's one of the top in the state in math, just don't tell anyone that he doesn't know all his lower case letters.


Fortunately, while he probably has a reading disorder, he's so bright he accommodates well.


Teaching spelling and the mechanics of writing (capitalization, punctuation, etc) is tough to teach as he never writes to practice this skill. Typing has been incredibly difficult to teach. Evidently this is often the case in dysgraphia. I think we are finally making progress in teaching typing.


I get very tired of hearing that he's smart so it should be easy to learn. That's not how his brain works.


I'd encourage you to separate writing form most subjects. Try to figure out how to teach things without the writing component. Be his scribe as much as needed.


Hang in there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have had great success with Diane Craft's brain integration therapy manual and the dysgraphia therapy in there. I has eased the flow of expression in my ds but we are still going to learn to type. Also, we found GD italic cursive to be very helpful for penmanship.


:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: to you, I know how frustrating it can be!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...