Writing difficulties are common in many children but some parents may not realize when these manifest from a learning or attention disorder. Dysgraphia for example is characterized by chronic struggles with the written word, and using writing to convey an intended meaning. While there is no cure for this condition, there are steps both children and their parents can take to ease the negative effects and challenges it brings to a child’s life.
The first thing parents must trust is that Dysgraphia is brain-related, it out of a child’s control. Like dyslexia and other common learning disabilities, it should not be mistaken for laziness or a poor work ethic. For children who suffer from Dysgraphia, simply holding a writing utensil and organizing letters or words on the page feels like a foreign concept to their mind, let alone having the cognitive direction and confidence to spell correctly, or to recognize when they’re not writing legibly. For these children, school can become incredibly strenuous, stress-inducing, and discouraging, especially when their issues with language extend to the spoken word as well. In that case the disorder further makes it difficult to listen, think, and speak clearly, in addition to posing challenges with reading, writing, and spelling.
If you suspect your child might be struggling with this learning disability, examine their writing. Do they have trouble with shaping letters and spacing them appropriately, organizing words on the page, establishing a direction for their writing, or staying within the margins? Watch as they’re in the act of writing, how slowly are they copying text – do you see discrepancies in their fine-motor skills when they’re using a pen or pencil? When they have an idea, how quickly are they able to put it to paper? Do they further have difficulty comprehending the rules of spelling, grammar, or recognizing when they’re making errors?
When a child’s writing goes misunderstood or unread, when they can’t make out they’re own writing, it can hurt their self-esteem to a point where they avoid writing altogether, and as a result their grades and their academic experience suffers. There are professionals out there however that can ease your child’s experience with Dysgraphia. Occupational therapy from a dedicated provider like Therapyspot.ca can improve fine motor skills which will help with the physical aspects of a child’s writing ability, they may also work with an educational institution to make accommodations for the learning difficulty, such as encouraging teachers to test orally with the understanding that the therapist and child are working on writing outside of the classroom. At clinics like The Therapy Spot, they will assess all potential areas of learning difficulty first before diagnosing and creating a comprehensive treatment plan.
Difficulties with writing should not condemn a child to a painful learning experience, nor should they force them to suffer or feel powerless about expressing themselves simply because language is out of their grasp. Contact an occupational therapist today to see what can be done for your child, enabling and empowering them to take control of their Dysgraphia.