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Help for dysgraphia

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    Help for dysgraphia

    Hello! My name is Kelly Jo and I am new to this forum. I am currently homeschooling my 7 year old son using level 1 of the Simply Classical curriculum. He has not been formerly tested, but I am pretty sure he has dysgraphia and was wondering if any of you have any advice for helping someone who struggles with this. His cooperation goes down when presented with material he has to copy or write. Combined with his attention difficulties, my patience runs thin by the end of our school day. Thank you so much for any help you can provide!

    #2
    Good morning, Kelly Jo, and welcome!

    Yes, many of us face this challenge. A few tips:

    - Vary the writing by giving him choices in his writing tools when possible: mechanical pencil, Ticonderoga pencils, fine-tip dry erase markers on a vertical or mini white board, and even sidewalk chalk.

    - Reduce the writing by telling him, "I need to see only five good 2s written on this math page. If they are your first five, you will be finished. Take your time. Write neatly. I will place a star by each nicely-written 2. You may begin." This single technique saved us much angst and avoided having the child's writing deteriorate across the page. If he needs to practice more, vary as described above.

    - Alternate subjects requiring writing with subjects that do not require writing.

    - Consider a formal evaluation for OT if you suspect physical fine-motor challenges that are not being addressed.

    Comment


      #3
      Cheryl's advice about varying the writing tools has been tremendously helpful for us. Our writing issues are largely due to physical challenges, but using dry-erase markers or a special pen often helps shift their perspective from the challenge to the chance to do something a bit different!
      Jennifer
      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

      2021-2022
      DS18: Almost done!
      DS17: MP, MPOA
      DS15: MP, MPOA
      DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
      DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
      DD9: SC3
      DD6: MPK

      Comment


        #4
        We did all of these things with my eldest, whom I also thought had dysgraphia. As her fine motor skills grew, she largely grew out of her frustration and difficulty. Seven is still young for some children. My son got too caught up in the compunction to erase (or frustration that it did erase as a leftie), so we stick with pencil and a good, colorful grip. For my eldest, I got Montessori wooden number cards so she never had to write them her math problems (just answers). She developed in her own good time around 8, and she now has pretty excellent handwriting if she wants.
        Mama to 2

        Spring start MP1
        Summer start 5A

        Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
        SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you for these tips. I have noticed that switching utensils can be helpful (or even just a freshly sharpened utensil). We will add this strategy for sure! I have been hesitant to reduce the amount of writing required since the curriculum is already adapted. I think I might need to adjust my expectation as I realize how challenging writing is. He has particular difficulty copying a word when he needs to "jump" his eyes from one area to another (for example, the word problems in the Rod & Staff curriculum). We are doing eye exercises to try and help with this, but it is a very real challenge! Thank you for your insight.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Kelly Jo View Post
            Thank you for these tips. I have noticed that switching utensils can be helpful (or even just a freshly sharpened utensil). We will add this strategy for sure! I have been hesitant to reduce the amount of writing required since the curriculum is already adapted. I think I might need to adjust my expectation as I realize how challenging writing is. He has particular difficulty copying a word when he needs to "jump" his eyes from one area to another (for example, the word problems in the Rod & Staff curriculum). We are doing eye exercises to try and help with this, but it is a very real challenge! Thank you for your insight.
            Just a heads-up that switching can help because of novelty OR it can be a sign of a sensory issue. My son didn't like the sound of pencil on paper so he used pens for school. Some kids also have a hard time detecting pressure feedback from various writing instruments so writing is easier for them with one type of instrument rather than another. Since you're investigating other issues (eyes, etc) I wanted to mention this.
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2021-2022
            DS18: Almost done!
            DS17: MP, MPOA
            DS15: MP, MPOA
            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
            DD9: SC3
            DD6: MPK

            Comment


              #7
              Another variable might be the difference between near-point and far-point copying.

              Near-point copying, as with SC Copybook's exercises of writing directly below the words, is easier than far-point copying, as in transferring information from the book or board to the paper.

              Far-point copying not only requires eye movement but attention and working memory, as the student is required to read, note, and hold information in his mind while looking down at the paper to locate his place to write and then taking the information from his memory to transcribe it to the page.

              If it helps, you can change some far-point exercises to near-point for several months or longer if needed.

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, wonderful suggestion, Cheryl! Working memory & attention are also difficult for him, and he does do much better using the SC Copybook. Great idea.

                Jen - good point to remember sensory issues. Sometimes he prefers to put his paper on top of a 3-ring binder with a slightly bumpy texture. I notice that he doesn't press as hard with his pencil then. We tried a mechanical pencil today & that was a nice change for him.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Kelly Jo View Post
                  Hello! My name is Kelly Jo and I am new to this forum. I am currently homeschooling my 7 year old son using level 1 of the Simply Classical curriculum. He has not been formerly tested, but I am pretty sure he has dysgraphia and was wondering if any of you have any advice for helping someone who struggles with this. His cooperation goes down when presented with material he has to copy or write. Combined with his attention difficulties, my patience runs thin by the end of our school day. Thank you so much for any help you can provide!
                  Kelly,

                  Are you contemplating formal testing? It sounds as if you've got a few different issues at play. I know there's a chapter in Simply Classical about testing --- how to find a provider, questions to ask, etc.

                  Plans for 2021-22

                  Year 11 of homeschooling with MP

                  DD1 - 26 - Small Business owner with 2 locations
                  DD2 - 15 - 10th grade - HLS Cottage School/MPOA/True North Academy - equestrian
                  DS3 - 13 -6A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                  DS4 - 13 - 6A Cottage School -soccer -auditory processing disorder
                  DD5 - 9 - 4A, Cottage School -equestrian
                  DS6 - 7 - MP 1 - first time at the Cottage School this fall!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi Diana!

                    He was formerly tested last fall and received a diagnosis of autism, ADHD & SPD. He had some cognitive testing done then, but was too young for more extensive testing (ie: to determine if he has a learning disability). Would you recommend further testing? We're kind of on the fence about it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kelly Jo View Post
                      Yes, wonderful suggestion, Cheryl! Working memory & attention are also difficult for him, and he does do much better using the SC Copybook. Great idea.

                      Jen - good point to remember sensory issues. Sometimes he prefers to put his paper on top of a 3-ring binder with a slightly bumpy texture. I notice that he doesn't press as hard with his pencil then. We tried a mechanical pencil today & that was a nice change for him.
                      Speaking of sharpened pencils, I recently discovered that there are some sharpeners designed for colored pencils because they are filled with a waxy substance rather than graphite. This tends to break more easily so you don't want to lose too much of the wood support around it. Here is one such sharpener for that purpose. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

                      Using an electric vs this specific mechanical sharpener, here are the two results you get. These pencils are the Ticonderoga "Tri-Write" pencils (they have only 3 sides for easier hand grip). I feel like it makes the tips sharper, and the graphite doesn't break as often.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Melissa

                      DS (MP4M) - 10
                      DS (MP3A) - 8
                      DS (1) - 7
                      DD (Adorable distraction) 4

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