Updated: Jul 10
Dysgraphia is a difficult disability to overcome especially in the traditional school setting. I myself suffer from dysgraphia and public school was hard. A disability that affects all areas of written expression that often overlaps with other learning disabilities doubly impacting the individual. Homeschool gives a unique opportunity to make some easy changes to help your dysgraphic child. Even public school parents can use some of these ideas for accommodations for their child. My son also has dysgraphia and we have used a lot of these strategies in both of our lives.
Most all subjects require handwriting of some kind which can turn a favorite subject into a hated one when the writing becomes so laborious that all the joy is sucked out of it. It's often hard to judge where a student is academically when you don't know if they don't know the material or if the writing or worksheet were to difficult because of the disability. Here are a few tricks to try to help your child reach their full potential.
There are a few out there but our favorites are SnapType and Mod Math. Snap Type is an app that allows any worksheet to become a document you can type on instead of write and then email to its recipient when completed. This is one we used in the public school for my son whom also has dysgraphia and was able to use the app to fill out his worksheets and then email them to his teachers. ModMath is another great one that allows you to input the math problems on graph paper to help keep the numbers lined up. It's not as user friendly as SnapType but it's nice for the kid who hates writing.
Allow Work To Be Done Orally
Often times people with dysgraphia can convey a more in depth knowledge of a subject matter when done orally than if forced to write the answer. Worksheets are often just busy work anyways so why not just ask the questions in discussion form. This is also something that can be an accommodation in public school though often hard to get approved. While it is important for the child to practice writing mechanics, grammar and punctuation keeping the writing to instruction only will cut down on frustration and fatigue.
For several people with dysgraphia the looping style of cursive is often easier than traditional block style writing. The smooth transition from letter to letter helps to relax the hand which cuts down on fatigue. Cursive also helps with letter reversal of b, d, p and q. I know my son's handwriting drastically improved with the use of cursive and stopped all the letter reversals and random capital letters in the middle of words and sentences.
Dysgraphia does affect all areas of written expression including organizing thoughts for writing assignments. The use of a graphic organizer often can be an invaluable resource for the dysgraphic student. It helps to gets thoughts and ideas organized so they can be converted into complete sentences and then paragraphs. The ability to help get their thoughts and ideas organized in one place before writing eliminates lots of pressure and stress when writing is needed and it can't be done orally.
Be A Scribe For Your Child
Writing for your child is NOT cheating. Writing for your child is NOT against the rules. By writing down what your child says you are modeling proper writing technique for them. Scribing can make already challenging assignments more manageable and less stressful. There are many ways you can scribe for your child. In math you can write out the problems and the steps as your child describes them to you, for spelling you can write down the words as your child spells them orally and during language arts lessons you can write for your child as they tell you what to write using proper grammar and punctuation.
There is lots of technology out there that can help a dysgraphic student. There are voice recorders for helping to take notes in class especially once you get into those more advanced classes in middle and high school. Speech to text is another great option when it comes to having large writing assignments. It is a lot easier to get your ideas out when you are not at the mercy of sloppy handwriting, poor spelling and hand cramps from bad mechanics. Typing is also an option that is helpful for reducing fatigue and stress.