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Welcome!  There are many here who might help but it would probably help us to have more information.  I will share a few questions.  If you don't feel comfortable answering I understand.  These are just to try and get us info so we can get you information that might actually help your particular child.

 

1.  What have you used to help with writing?  And are you talking the physical act or getting thoughts onto paper or both? (There are two main forms of dysgraphia.)

2.  Some people with dysgraphia are not able to improve physical handwriting so they do better shifting to typing/speech to text software/and scribing.

3.  Depends on what the issues are.  Is it letter formation?  Spacing?  Sizing?  Do they struggle even to make writing legible with tracework?  Copywork?  Or is it mainly that writing degrades with free hand writing of ideas?  Or is it sort of legible or very legible but they struggle to get thoughts on paper?

4.  How old is your child?

 

Suggestions that have worked (at least a bit) for several others, depending on severity and underlying cause:

  • Cursive (New American Cursive worked pretty well here, going slowly and doing it daily in short stints)
  • Separating handwriting practice from writing down ideas by having someone scribe for them and/or using speech to text software so they can focus on the physical act of writing separately without getting bogged down trying to also process ideas/spelling/grammar (This is assuming the dysgraphia is mainly the physical act of writing issue.) 
  • Writing letters in sand, or with big body movement on a big dry erase board or with water on concrete with paint brushes or anything else that brings in more sensory and bigger movements.
  • Playing with clay, squeeze balls, etc. to strengthen hands.
  • Keeping handwriting practice short but consistent and daily.
  • Starting typing lessons (but typing is usually not accurate enough/smooth enough/fast enough for academic output for quite a while, sometimes years).
  • Occupational and Physical therapy

 

 

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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My dd's OT is using Handwriting w/o Tears--cursive. She is doing much better with it than I would have ever dreamed. She's even able to use a correct grip now--I thought being 12 yrs old, we would never be able to correct that. She still reverts back to wrong grip doing math, but if she thinks about it, she is able to write legibly with the correct grip. She's still very slow, but she can sign a b'day card without being embarrassed. :)

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Dysgraphia is a really tricky thing.if you search there are different kinds of dysgraphia. Some are more related to phonological structures. Some are relates to dyslexia.Some can be related to visual spatial issues. Still others can be motor and dexterity related.

 

It's important to figure out what your dealing with. I personally don't care for hand writing without tears as a choice because it made my son write so slowly and painfully. I have a lot of ideas but it would depend on what the child is dealing with.

 

You can't go wrong with a lot of improvement in upper body and retained reflex work.

 

Writing on a whiteboard on the wall or on a window with chalk windowpaint helps build control and the entire shoulder girth.

 

I personally really like Getty and dubay and teaching the child "shoulder" writing I will try to find a link. I learned it from reading some calygraphy sites but it keeps the fatigue low and helps build coordination. My son writes much better now and much faster and longer doing this. Also look into turning the paper using a large mechanical pencil and using the "helper hand" to stabilize the paper. Also you have to find a way to fix the grip.

 

My son has a combination of spatial and fine motor dysgraphia. He would popcorn letters everywhere up and down and couldn't space anything.

 

His spelling was good but he couldn't do art ,draw shapes or copy work. He also had some auditory

 

We spent 2 years trying HWT and OT. With no improvment.

 

Then we did vision therapy which didn't fix it but opened the door. During that time

I also spent a year doing mazes, dot to dot and tracing symbols. We did retained reflexes during that time.

 

 

After he had good core and grip we started Getty and dubay on the whiteboard

Edited by exercise_guru
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I agree with previous posters that a lot depends on what the student needs. Some have upper body or strength weakness and need strength training. Some might need vision therapy.

 

We used HWT for print and started with cursive. We’re now using Logic of English with cursive because we started it for spelling, not because we didn’t like HWT.

 

As long as the print strokes are minimal and pencil lifting is minimal, any method is fine. Whole body writing (with arm in the air, with feet on the ground, with eyes closed), can help cement the letter formation.

 

Practice and age/maturity can help with desire to practice. DS9 just recently has been willing to write independently and chooses to do so over typing sometimes. He’s also old enough that his desire to be perfect in everything is lessening and he understands that isn’t practical so the speed has increased.

 

In general, cursive has been easier and more legible for DS, typing is a requirement for most subjects, and practice will be necessary for a while still.

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Agreeing with all of the above, and noting that whatever program you do, you might have to make up your own sheets with in-between steps, teach letters in a different order, etc. 

 

Also prioritize formation and then neatness. If they are making the same letters the same way every time, the neatness will improve even if it's not amazing. But doing the same motions over and over is really crucial. 

 

I would emphasize what the PP said about minimizing pencil-lifting and steer you far away from "ball and stick" methods of any kind. That's way too much guessing where the pencil would/could/should land!!! It also reduces the letters to a series of circles and sticks arranged in different ways vs. a letter that is formed individually and differently from every other letter. In fact, if you have a child that starts out writing one letter and ends up switching partway through, you might want to find a writing curriculum where every letter looks and feels distinct to minimize that sort of easy error.

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Peterson Directed, followed by Essential Learning Products

 

cursive first, its much easier than print and its a fresh start as the student may view self as failure

 

With PD, we used it until the muscle action made sense and was becoming habit - the student needs to write, not draw a letter at a time

ELP has practical instructions on legibility vs perfection

 

also important is finding the implement that gives enough feedback to the fingers ... we used a bic flair marker for a while, then eased into a pencil with a gripper and a fat barrel pen

 

 

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