No doubt you have heard of some learning disabilities in children, but there is a high probability that you have not heard of dysgraphia. If you notice that your child has troubles with writing, you should read this article to the end as it just might be helpful to you.
Thinking that your child deliberately refuses to write or hates school is not right. Writing difficulties can be as a result of some problems. Knowing the signs to watch out for would help you find ways to make writing and school work more comfortable for your child.
What it is?
Dysgraphia comes from a combination of two Greek words days (which means impaired), and graphic (which means to write letterforms by hand). Dysgraphia is a brain condition and not a child’s deliberate attempt to avoid writing.
Many children with dysgraphia hate to hold pencils because they fear that they would write wrongly and get shouted at. Teachers and parents of children with this condition will notice that the handwriting of such children is usually scattered and illegible.
Writing words on a straight line, spelling words correctly, or expressing ideas in writing is often a daunting task for sufferers. Most doctors and psychologists refer to this learning disability as an impairment of the written expression instead of dysgraphia.
Some publications do not write about this learning impairment as Dysgraphia, but instead, they classify it as a “specific learning disability”. A specific learning disability is an umbrella name for learning challenges that include an inability to understand or make use of both written and spoken language. Such problems make it difficult for sufferers to think, read, listen, write, spell, talk, or do math calculations.
If your child is slow at writing or writes in a scattered manner, it means that he is trying as hard as possible to learn like other kids, but writing requires a complex set of motor and language processing skills that he might not have. Getting help for a child who finds it hard to write will go a long way in making life at school more accessible.
How popular is Dysgraphia?
Dysgraphia is not a popular term, but the symptoms are prevalent amongst young children who are learning how to write.
You might not notice it when they are making scribbles, but when they grow old enough to write the alphabet or learn spellings, you discover that they can’t write normal regardless of how long they practice.
If you notice a child exhibiting such learning difficulty, it would be wise to try to find out if what you are dealing with is dysgraphia.
What is the cause of dysgraphia?
Studies are still ongoing to find out what the actual cause of dysgraphia is, but as of now, experts are yet to come up with an explanation for what causes dysgraphia. What we know is that when it comes to writing, a person first has to retrieve stored information from his long or short-term memory.
However, for people with dysgraphia, it is either going goes wrong with organising information already stored in their memory or something goes off track when they try to represent words by writing or typing them.
It could even be a problem of both. Furthermore, what children with Dysgraphia write is not an accurate representation of their knowledge and what they intend to represent in writing.
It is also possible that children with dysgraphia find it difficult to remember new words, so its a challenge to spell them or write them down. Experts do not rule out the possibility that dysgraphia could be hereditary and some parents had agreed that they had similar challenges when they were children.
What are the symptoms of dysgraphia?
When a child starts to exhibit some of these six symptoms, and you notice that he isn’t learning as fast as he ought to, that child might have dysgraphia.
1. Fine motor difficulties
A child with dysgraphia might find it hard to correctly hold a pencil, tie his shoelaces, can’t colour a drawing without painting outside the lines, can’t handle a pair of scissors right, and maintains or positions his body in a weird position whenever he has to write.
2. Visual-spatial difficulties
Children have problems spacing words and are slow at copying texts. Has trouble organising words and drawing shapes. Writes letters in every direction and has troubles arranging words from left to right on a page.
3. Language processing issues
The child might not be able to follow the rules of games because they quickly forget them. There will be cases of inability to follow simple instructions.
4. Spelling and writing issues
The child will erase a lot, know how to spell things orally but can’t write the correct spelling down or may write different spellings of a particular word every time he has to write it.
The child might avoid having to read books, write, or spell things.
5. Grammer and punctuation usage problem
The child may write sentences that never end or overuse commas. General use of punctuation is a problem as words are written in lower and upper case alphabets.
6. The organisation of written language
The child may be unable to prove points and will mostly assume that everyone else knows what he’s trying to talk about. The child will be better at saying things than writing them down correctly, and when he tells stories, he might start from the middle and leave out valuable information.
How does dysgraphia affect a child’s life?
Children with dysgraphia are often seen as the dullest in class, and that affects them both emotionally and mentally. They find it difficult to play with their peers because they might not understand how to follow the rules of the games, so they become withdrawn.
When it comes to playing with colours and pencils like other children, they act uninterested. Kids with dysgraphia can display signs of depression which is why parents need to take it easy on them and find help immediately they notice symptoms.
Diagnosis of dysgraphia
If you suspect that a child around you has dysgraphia, contact a licensed psychologist for proper diagnosis.
Cure for dysgraphia
There is no cure for the condition and usually lasts a lifetime, but there are ways to help a child with dysgraphia learn to write better and make life at school easier than stressful.