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Book for Dysgraphia

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Not off the top of my head but hopefully someone else can come along with a recommendation.  Dysgraphia means your child has trouble with writing that is beyond the norm.  It can be caused by a lot of underlying issues, though.  Depending on what is causing the dysgraphia different things might help.  In some instances, support systems need to be put in place.  Also, dysgraphia can mean just the physical act of forming words on paper is challenging (letter formation, spacing, sizing, etc.) or it can mean the difficulty with pulling thoughts from your brain so you CAN write them or it can be a combination of the two.

 

What are the struggles you are seeing with your child?  Is this more the handwriting side or the cognitive function side or both?  

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Dysgraphia is the one SLD that I never read about and most educators are clueless. I believe the diagnosis itself is broken down into SLD Written Expression and Developmental Coordination Disorder. My DS was diagnosed on his 8th birthday.

 

Would you like specific recs? What are you seeing in your own child?

Edited by Heathermomster
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I think the only book I ever read that had any sort of useful info on Dysgraphia was The Mislabeled Child by Brock and Fernette Eide.  The bulk of the useful info I've gotten over the years was from posting here on the LC board with my questions and talking to some other parents further down the path than I was.  As Heathermomster said, most professionals don't seem to have a clue.

 

Is your child homeschooling or in a brick and mortar classroom?  We might be able make some useful suggestions either way if we knew what you were seeing as specific struggles/strengths for your child.

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I have an eleven-year-old with dysgraphia as well. He was diagnosed at age 7. In more recent testing, psychologist said it is the most severe case he has ever seen.

 

I second OneStepAtATime's comment that the most/only useful book-reading on dysgraphia is The Mislabeled Child.

 

I don't have any great advice because we're in the throes of it now... I have posted before about our struggles with Math. My son is very strong in Math but we have reached a point where the dysgraphia is really interfering even in his strongest areas. I can tell you that, in our case, no amount of OT (two years of private OT weekly with no time off ever) or practice at home (daily for years and years) improved child's handwriting. This is not everybody's story, of course, but it can happen to some.

 

The best decision I ever made was to start homeschooling in third grade and de-emphasize the physical act of writing. Homeschooling has allowed my son to grow in his areas of strengths and to gain back confidence academically. We can use different methods, there are no handwriting comparisons. One of my most important insights--and I think I got this from the Mislabeled Child, though I don't remember--is that my son, unlike so many people, not only does not learn through writing but rather the act of writing in fact impedes his learning. I repeat this message to myself again and again because... it goes so counter to my own learning style and education. But it is my son's reality. If i ask him to write down his Latin verbs, it will be an exercise in frustration and exhaustion that will lead to no learning. If I repeat them and mix -in some visuals, he learns easily. Of course, the struggle is always PRODUCTION. Has he really learned if he can't write it??  How much can he keep in his head with our methods?? how will this work in high school??

 

Still, I can't find any other way. I scribe for my son in every subject. When he has to write, he does as much as possible on the computer... which of course is slow-going. 

 

I'd be happy to talk more and share experiences...

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There are some lovely youtube lectures out there. I don't have time to post links right now, but I've found those to be more helpful than a lot of print material. Dysgraphia/ SLD-writing seems to be almost an afterthought in the SN-education world. IMO and IME, dysgraphia is much, much, much more than just messy handwriting.  I have found the overlap with Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder to be a bit helpful in my research.

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Dysgraphia: Why Johnny Can't Write : A Handbook for Teachers and Parents 
by Diane Walton Cavey 
 
Dysgraphia: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Dysgraphia and Helping a Dysgraphic Child
by Nathan G. Brant 

 

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http://www.handwriting-solutions.com/

 

This is a good website, too.

 

I don't know if Occupational Therapy is recommended for you, but that is how we got information specific to my son. It does seem to be mostly the physical act of writing for him. Now that he is typing well he does okay. What was frustrating for a long time was to see recommendations to type, and have my son still be learning to type and not having an easy time with typing. But he can now.

 

We were recommended to do more of scribing and not other things (like speech to text software) because they didn't think my son would be able to be independent with it (while he was a bit younger).

 

An OT who does this kind of thing can help with deciding what accommodations are going to be most helpful, they work with kids and see what kind of thing works for different kids and different situations.

 

My son is at a school now where they have Chromebooks -- it is one of those educational fad things, but it is so, so, so good and helpful for him. He can really type almost everything and right in the classroom. It is something you might look at if you are ever looking at public school.

Edited by Lecka

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Can anyone advise me how I would go about getting this as a formal diagnosis. I have already done testing and consulted experts. Even the school OT claimed it could not be diagnosed. 

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Do you need a referral for insurance? Ask about dysgraphia. If they don’t know what it is, ask about learning disabilities and then call whoever you are referred to on the phone.

 

If you don’t need a referral, you can google your location and neuropsychologist, and educational psychologist. See what comes up and call and ask what they would do if they can diagnose it or not.

 

What I was told by OT — they couldn’t diagnose because that is not part of their job. But they could have a personal opinion that it would be good to have him evaluated. They could have a personal opinion they thought he had dysgraphia.

 

If you are doing it for school purposes, I would consider trying to request an eval, seeing if the school psychologist will do an eval or not, and possibly talking to the special education director (or whatever) for the school district instead of for the individual school. If nobody at the school has heard of it I would try that.

 

Do you know if any of the testing you have already done may have ruled it out or not? I’m not sure but I think the score that ended up being the one the school cared about was from a section of IQ testing. The school wouldn’t directly take the diagnosis, they would look at the testing and were looking for a certain score. My son scored 1 point higher than the score they looked for, and he got approved but there had to be some more bureaucracy before it could be approved because of that 1 point.

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Okay — I am looking at my son’s paperwork.

 

He was administered the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-III. There are two sections there where he scored low, sentence composition and written expression. The written expression score I *think* is what the school looked at. There’s also written comments about what the evaluator observed about his handwriting during the testing.

 

Edit: but I think call or email and see what they say. I don’t know much about it, this is just what I happen to have.

Edited by Lecka

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Dysgraphia is not recognised as an official term.

A diagnosis involves a team approach.

Firstly by an OT, to diagnose Fine Motor difficulties.

Along with a diagnosis of a Written Expression Disorder.

 

What can then be recognised, is the Correlation between the two.

So that the diagnosis confirms the Correlation.

Which schools can then define under a Specific Learning Disability.

 

As their is no official term for this, Dysgraphia is then used.

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If anyone would share what they have found helps or works I would so appreciate it.

Some of dysgraphia depends on whether your child struggles with

Drawing shapes lines, symbols ( my son could not draw a line when we started OT)

Shapes of letters and what they mean

Can your child do Maze work stuff like that? Dot to Dots?

There are many ways that dysgraphia can present itself and it usually presents with another diagnosis

 

I have taken my kiddo to OT and VT as well as inventing my own method to help my son. Here are a few things I tried.

 

I studied the Arrowsmith method where they had students trace greek,latin and other symbols. I decided to create a method like this at home. We worked on tracing these type of letters and producing them for an entire year. We also worked on a ton of MAZE work, Perler beads, Scissor building skills and legos. I wish we had pursued this even more intensely.

Here is the link that I took the technique from

https://arrowsmithschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/raising_cognitive_capacity.pdf

 

 

 

After VT miracles started to happen and I could get my son to write a sentence without it popcorning everywhere.Shockingly I also was finally able to fix his pencil grip but we tried every kind of helper pencil grip and posture you can imagine. Each year I met with a different handwriting expert and eventually helped fix his grip. We tried three handwriting techniques and started learning to type. I will say that I think Getty & Dubay was the easiest on the hand and the most fluid. He mastered letter formation ( Getty & Dubay) . Shockingly my son retains a lot of spelling in his writing so phonetic elements seem to have made it in there.

 

Now I am working with him to have him use a tracing board to trace Art and work on motor control. Its easier to get him to practice fine motor control linking to the brain. My goal now is automaticity.

 

I have since read this article where it activates the brain if they picture writing and writing with toes to learn shapes . I am trying to find more ways to build up automaticity. I found this article super interesting

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982200003754

 

I also like this book. I don't think it has all the answers or even most of them but its a good starting point and inexpensive if you get the kindle version.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1499612753/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

 

Truthfully the science says there is really no cure for this or proven remediation that works. If i get it to work for my son rhey will just say he was misdiagnosed.....

 

They recommend accomodations....type etc but they show the brain really benefits from the writing and "thinking with your hands" process. It can be integral in memory formation.

 

If I homeschooled I might consider learning the old fashion skype finger typing motions for the letters and let my son write his papers that way on a tablet. Because their letter prediction is pretty accurate when you write on the screen. It continues to be a big struggle with public school.

 

the ipad has a program that you use a stylus and write on the screen and it converts it to text. I am trying to find one that is pretty good that will work with my sons poor legibility. I am trying Good Notes & Notes plus. I am also working on finding a voice to text so my son can be more independent with his written work.

Edited by exercise_guru

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My dd (12) is seeing an OT once a week for a variety of things. One is dysgraphia. The OT has been working with her using Handwriting Without Tears. She has been learning cursive. I am cautiously optimistic that cursive may be of great help to her. It keeps her from reversals, and it seems to help with sizing and spacing issues. Still...she is so slow. But she seems to have more confidence about cursive. 

 

 

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