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Dysgraphia: How can I help my child?

Is your child struggling with handwriting? The cause may be more than just laziness or lack of motivation; it could be a neurologically-based learning issue called dysgraphia. This post explains the signs and symptoms of dysgraphia and the steps you can take to help your child succeed in reading and spelling.

What Is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia: How can I help my child? - All About Learning Press

A child with dysgraphia has handwriting that is worse than you would normally see in a child of his age, intelligence, and education level.

But dysgraphia isn’t just about messy papers. A child with dysgraphia may also appear to be unmotivated or lazy, or what we sometimes refer to as a “reluctant writer.” Because he has trouble expressing his thoughts and ideas in writing, he may avoid writing altogether.

Dysgraphia can also make your child avoid seemingly normal situations. For example, does your child avoid Scouts or clubs because he may be asked to fill out forms? Is he hesitant to participate in any activity that involves writing, even something as simple as signing his own name? Has he been teased because of childish penmanship?

If so, you have probably experienced firsthand the frustration, anger, and anxiety that dysgraphia can cause.

Symptoms of Dysgraphia

As with most learning challenges, the symptoms of dysgraphia can range from mild to severe, and the symptoms may vary in the way they show up in children of different ages.

In general, a child with dysgraphia may have trouble with the following:

  • Forming letters, numbers, and words
  • Spelling words correctly
  • Organizing thoughts and ideas into written expression

Simply put, dysgraphia makes the process of writing quite difficult, so a child with dysgraphia often has a much easier time expressing ideas verbally than in writing.

Symptoms of Dysgraphia Download

Here are some additional signs of dysgraphia:

  • A tight or awkward pencil grip
  • Tires quickly while writing
  • Writing is illegible, inconsistent, and has poorly formed letters and numbers
  • Incorrect spacing and positioning of letters, words, and lines of written text
  • Writing is slow and labored
  • Complete avoidance of writing
  • Difficulty following spelling and grammar rules
  • Trouble aligning columns of numbers in math problems
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
  • Trouble with tasks that require concurrent thinking and writing

If you recognize some of these symptoms in your child, read on!

Compensation is the First Step

Compensation means helping your child “work around” his handwriting issues so he can still continue to learn.

You may be surprised to hear me say that. After all, dysgraphia is a serious issue, and surely we don’t want to just “work around” the problem, right?

Well, at first we do want to work around the penmanship issue.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t eventually going to tackle the problem—that step will come next—but it does mean that you are going to reduce the stress that your child is likely experiencing, and at the same time make sure your student can continue to learn.

But exactly how you compensate will depend upon your child’s age and the subject areas being studied.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Work on keyboarding skills. Using a keyboard instead of paper and pencil can be a great way to motivate a reluctant writer to express his thoughts and ideas.
  2. Do work orally. Many assignments can be completed orally with a parent.
  3. Use speech-to-text tools. Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Sound Note are good examples of speech recognition software. These tools allow your child’s work to be dictated orally and automatically translated to text.
  4. Use alternatives to written assignments. Until your student has stronger handwriting skills, consider using some of the interesting ideas below.
dysgraphia-alternatives-to-written-assignments-700x400

Once the pressure is off and your child is learning in other subject areas without pen and paper, it’s time to work on penmanship skills.

Check for Proper Handwriting Position

Since so many kids with dysgraphia have incorrect writing posture and pencil grip, it’s important to establish proper handwriting position before attempting to address specific penmanship concerns. The graphic below is a handy guide for evaluating your child’s handwriting position.

dysgraphia-handwritingposition-1200x540

Tackle Handwriting Remediation

Once you have checked and corrected your child’s posture and pencil grip, it’s time to actually put pencil to paper and start writing.

Please keep in mind that it’s important to allow your child to acquire writing skills at his own pace. Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap. Your child has a special need, so let him progress naturally and not at the pace recommended for his age, his grade level, or his curriculum.

Also, as you work to improve your child’s ability to write, continue to reduce the amount of writing that is required to complete his schoolwork. Allow learning to happen without pen and paper.

Try these tips to help make penmanship lessons more productive and enjoyable for you and your child.

  • If your child reverses letters, my free report on “How to Solve Letter Reversals” will be a huge help to you.
  • Use a research-based handwriting program. Handwriting Without Tears has been effective for many children with handwriting problems.
  • Provide short bursts of handwriting exercise instead of long, drawn-out sessions. Many kids with dysgraphia need to work on fine motor skills. Activities such as coloring, cutting, painting, model-building, working with clay, working pencil mazes, and threading beads will increase dexterity and build fine motor skills.
  • Schedule penmanship practice time for 5-10 minutes a day.
  • If your child can’t remember how to form letters consistently—writing them correctly at times, but incorrectly at other times—it could be a sign that he has problems with his working memory.
  • Work on correct letter formation by using multisensory methods and techniques that don’t require writing. Finger-writing in the air, in sand, in shaving cream, or on sandpaper are all great exercises that can encourage improvement in proper letter formation.
ig-teachingthroughspecialneeds

Dysgraphia Also Affects Reading and Spelling

For a child with dysgraphia, the very act of writing takes so much energy that it actually interferes with the process of learning, which can then negatively impact his ability to learn.

Because your child’s dysgraphia affects the way he learns to read and spell, it’s important to remove the handwriting barrier from both of these subject areas. All About Reading and All About Spelling are designed to do just that! In fact, both programs can be completed without requiring any handwriting at all.

Here are some features that will help your child learn more quickly:

  • AAR and AAS are multisensory. With a multisensory approach, children take in and interact with information in various ways. Learning happens through multiple senses, primarily through sight, sound, and touch (kinesthetic). The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a child who has expressive language struggles.
  • AAR and AAS are incremental and mastery-based. In both programs, students master one concept before moving on to a new concept. This helps reduce frustration and confusion and allows children to move at their own pace through the curriculum.
  • AAR and AAS use color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding a concept and not understanding it. The letter tiles provide a kinesthetic method for practicing spelling words without the need for paper and pencil.
  • AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties benefit from lots of review. Customized review allows you to target the areas in which your child is struggling.
  • AAR and AAS are highly motivational. Both programs use a wide variety of fun, hands-on activities that minimize the need for writing. Short, engaging lessons and the ability to track their own progress keep kids motivated from the very first lesson.

But what do moms who are in the trenches with their struggling learners say about overcoming dysgraphia?

Some Hope and Encouragement for You

Helping a child who is struggling with dysgraphia takes patience. Change may not come quickly, but trust that it will come! And to encourage you during this process, I’d like to share a few success stories from our community.

Here’s Tauni Records story:

dysgraphia-letter-tiles-200x200

“My daughter has dysgraphia and she is thriving with AAS! We just finished level 4 (starting 4th grade). The tiles are great for spelling when writing is just too much.

I like that the lessons are at our own pace, and that she can master the material in a way that works best for her! Thanks!”

This is from Becki, another mom who is finding success with AAS:

“Although we haven’t pursued an official diagnosis, our eight-year-old son has all the characteristics of dysgraphia. The best thing we ever did was back off from writing for a while. He still struggles, but it’s getting easier. He loves his AAR, and we will be starting AAS soon. Things are finally clicking, and I am so thankful that spelling, reading, and writing no longer involve tears!”

And Shannon Hurt shared what a difference All About Spelling is making for her son:

dysgraphia-erasing-words-200x200

“My son used to feel defeated, but now he has so much more enthusiasm for reading since he doesn’t have to write. He doesn’t dread school when his hands don’t hurt and get tired. He also doesn’t waste erasers from erasing so often!

“He uses his magnetic letter tiles to build his words now, and he’ll often ask to handwrite the words he has built. The tiles help him tell his b, d, p, and q apart, which make writing and spelling easier. Being able to look at the letters while writing has helped his handwriting improve, too!”

The Bottom Line: Don’t Let Dysgraphia Rob Your Child

Handwriting may seem like a small part of education, but it affects your child’s ability to express ideas. It’s important to address dysgraphia, and to prevent it from stealing your child’s motivation, his joy of learning, and his self-esteem.

Starting today, you can help make learning easier for your child with dysgraphia by implementing three simple ideas.

  1. Compensation: Minimize the distractions and frustrations of the writing process by using alternatives to handwritten assignments.
  2. Evaluate: Establishing proper handwriting position is critical to handwriting success. Begin the process by checking your child’s handwriting position.
  3. Remediation: Work on improving your child’s penmanship skills by using the ideas in this post.

If you have any questions about your child’s dysgraphia and how it affects reading and spelling instruction, please feel free to call or email us. With All About Reading and All About Spelling, your child can continue to learn without frustration, and we’re here to help!

Does your child struggle with dysgraphia? What has helped? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

How to Solve Letter Reversals

Photo credit: @teachingthroughspecialneeds via Instagram
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Leave a Comment

Vanessa Bathfield

says:

Holy wow. My 9 year old is on the spectrum and even after 5 years of therapy he can’t hold a pencil and write. The teachers keep pushing him to write and I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to explain to them that he just can’t and I keep pushing him to be taught typing skills (I even brought him a tablet for school). Now I read this and I have an actual diagnosis for him. I feel like a the sun just came out on a rainy day. Wow. Thank you.

Nancy

says:

My 26 year old nephew on the autism spectrum still struggles with handwriting and getting his thoughts down. Several years ago, he had a story in his head and he spent six months dictating it to me as he paced the floor. It ended up being a short book, which we self-published. The Magic Quest, on Amazon. His sense of humor comes through. He could never have done this if he’d had to write it all down, or even type it. It’s not the most compelling story, but it has a plot, protagonist, and bad guys. Just keep encouraging your son to voice his thoughts as best he can, help him get them down. My nephew will now write short notes and cards, as well as use text messaging. But if we limit our kids to what they can write, we’ll miss out on some pretty interesting thinking!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Vanessa,
I am so happy to hear that this article was so helpful for you! You can request the school evaluate him for dysgraphia, or you can request your pediatrician refer him to an occupational therapist for an evaluation.

Susan smith

says:

My grandson we think has this how do we get him tested! His teacher says we need him to work with clay or cut paper tear paper!! He is very good speller and is a good reader he is in the first grade but is in second grade reading level! Could he be still have this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
It is possible for a child to be at or above grade level in reading and spelling, but still to have dysgraphia and struggle greatly in all tasks requiring writing. If you want to get him tested you can request testing through his school. Your pediatrician may also be able to refer you to a psychologist that specializes in learning disorders.

The recommendations his teacher has given can be helpful with building fine motor skills, but with an official diagnosis you can get accommodations and the focused attention he may need.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Julie

says:

Thank you for this wonderful article! I had never heard of dysgraphia, but it sounds like what has been causing my youngest son’s writing problems. I can’t wait to try out all your tips!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Julie. Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything.

Molly Lasate

says:

My 10 ds has dysgraphia and teaching him to type has been the best decision! He is able to get his thoughts down without the struggle of forming letters with a pencil.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Molly,
I am very happy to hear that typing has made such a difference for your son. Thank you for sharing this.

Thank you for sharing resources and knowledge with those of us who can benefit so much from it. Your materials and strategies will be put to good use in my classes and tutoring sessions!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Alison. :D

Susan

says:

My son is 8 and has all but one of these symptoms. He’s been diagnosed with a fine motor delay and autism. Never with dysgraphia. We do all 3 suggestions mentioned here. He still avoids anything having to do with his hands, even cutting or any crafts. However, he’s very smart and has no issues in spelling. Even when writing, he usually spells things correctly. I guess what I’m saying is, occupational therapy has helped my son the most and I’m going to ask them if they think he has it.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
Fine motor delays and dysgraphia can be related, and dysgraphia can co-exist with autism and other learning disabilities. I do think speaking with his occupational therapist about dysgraphia is an excellent idea.

Stacy

says:

Thank you. I have a teenager that has always struggled with written assignments and note taking. He reads well, but when writing sometimes has letter reversals. I have recently started using AAR with my kindergartner.

Dina Grinshpun

says:

My son loves AAS. We actually divide the dictation portion up between keyboarding and handwriting so that he gets some handwritten spelling practice without getting overwhelmed. We’ve also found that whiteboards really help him. He finds writing on both small, handheld whiteboards and a big one that hangs in his room to be easier than writing with on paper. Dyslexia and dysgraphia are such interesting manifestations. My son is 9. He is a wiz at grammar–he can diagram most any sentence. He is flying through Algebra 2. But he can’t remember which side the stick goes on the form a “b” versus a “d,” gets his 6s a 9s backwards, draws 2s and 5s upside down, and can only draw an 8 as two cookies. Before AAS, his spelling was awful. Now, when he focuses, his spelling is wonderful. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dina,
Yes, many children find writing on a whiteboard easier than writing on paper. I love how you are dividing the dictation between written and keyboarding, so that he gets practice without being overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing your son’s success and struggles with us.

Cheryl

says:

I just printed the symptoms list to show my child’s primary care provider. My 1st grader struggles with many of these symptoms. Thank you for blogging this information.

Jennie Chatman

says:

Oh My! Oh My! I think this is us. I am going to print this out and put the tips to use.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m happy you found this article helpful, Jennie. Do let us know if you have any questions.

Amy

says:

My DD11 has dysgraphia, and it’s been a long, hard struggle learning to write. AAS has been instrumental in getting her over some serious spelling humps (although we’ve only finished level 2 – these things take time with dysgraphia!). Recently, she said she might try writing something without dictating to me first!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
This is wonderful! Yes, with learning difficulties things take time, but the biggest thing is the increase in her confidence. That will make a huge impact, and I am happy that we had some part in it. Thank you for sharing this. I’ll be passing it along to the entire AALP team.

dudu mokoena

says:

I like what I’m reading cause my 12 years daughter has a problem of reading and writing too

JoAnne G.

says:

Thank you for the wealth of information that I receive through emails. I save them and constantly refer to them as I use them as training tools for my teachers.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, JoAnne. We are pleased to be able to help you help teachers!

Mary Height

says:

It is a good idea for children to say sentences before writing them. Place a coloured counter for each word and a plastic brick on which the conjunction is written. Children can touch the counters and brick/bricks to rehearse the sentence. At this point you can use prompt questions that will enable children to include adverbs and adjectives to enrich their writing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Interesting activity, Mary. Thank you for sharing this idea.

Melanie

says:

My daughter struggles with writing. Her reading has improved over the past months, but writing or taking a test that requires spelling etc seems to set us back rather than forward. Would this be something we should look into?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melanie,
Dysgraphia may be the issue, but it may not.

What is your daughter doing for spelling? Has she learned to spelling with direct and explicit instruction? Or, is she being giving a spelling list that may not make sense and is being asked to memorize the words?

If your daughter has not been instructed in spelling in a way that works for her needs, what you are observing about her writing could be related to her spelling struggles. You may consider All About Spelling, if you aren’t using it already. AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

It wouldn’t hurt to look into dysgraphia, however.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions.

Sherene

says:

I had never heard of dysgraphia before. It really can be empowering to learn not only that this is “real”, but that there are helpful resources available in finding a successful path. I am grateful for this post and looking forward to using the tips. I am thankful to also be reminded that it is not laziness, and that it is okay and at times beneficial to continue providing other ways of “writing” for my child.

Tina

says:

In Canada it’s referred to as developmental coordination disorder or DCD. McGill university is a leader in doing research on this collection of
Issues and their website https://canchild.ca/en/diagnoses/developmental-coordination-disorder also has some good printouts you can bring to your child’s school to help staff understand and implement adaptations.

It really helped me understand my child’s anger and frustration and why he often melted down or flew into a rage at public school.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sherene,
I am very happy to hear that this post has been helpful and encouraging to you. Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can help.

Steve

says:

Learn Overcome, and it will permeate through your life.

I have a relatively mild to moderate case of Dysgraphia, along with ADHD. Only because I have learned to work harder than the person next to me I have overcome these disabilities. I have also learned how to attack all challenges I wish to overcome in the same manner. That has been a GIFT. I am 35 and am still am very poor with spelling, punctuation, reading quickly, handwriting; and depending on the situation/mindset organizing my thoughts on paper(doc, excel, etc) but I make it work and always get better. I still find myself writing rambling emails and other written tasks for work, I still have tendency to agonize over emails at times if they are important, but I continue to get better. That’s the key, just keep trying.

I have a 4 yr Degree, held titles like VP and Director and worked with CEO/CFO/COO’s etc. I have worked very hard and now hold a job that is highly sought after in a career I love. It into the 6 figures in an extremely competitive field. When Leaving college my adviser in college told me i could maybe sell frozen foods, but I would never use my degree. My public school said I would never graduate HS if I did move to normal classes at a private HS, which I did and yes I passed. This has been hard, as it is for anyone, but knowing where I need to put extra attention and building a support system have helped me. Here are some tips below.

TIPS
1. Work Hard. This hard work will never stop, silver lining is this – you learn and improve with hard work at any age and that work ethic will spill over into everything you do. Learn this early, it took me too long, to understand that by working harder than anyone in the room was my key to success. This is really the biggest key to overcoming anything, disability or not. Hint – first one in, last one out.

2. Become resilient, after hard work being able to getup after you fall is something you will need to do well. Fail faster, failure is everyone’s best teacher. Understand this, harness it, ask for help if needed, and try again. Failure is a constant, how you respond to it will define your character- universal truth.

3. Learn to ask for help. It’s a show of strength. Rare have I needed to say i have a disorder to get the help I need, I just find the person I need help from and ask. It’s amazing hp;w willing people are to help a hard working person.

4. Never allow negative self talk. Because you can’t read fast, write well all the time, or spell doesnt mean you are dumb… you are just built different. Don’t allow yourself to think of your self as other, slow, stupid, less-than, apart from other and never let anyone get away with it – a teacher, a peer, a boss, a family member. Being sensitive about your issues wont help you a bit, people will pickup on it and treat you differently.

5. Never play the victim, it will get you nothing. Just look at some people with much larger challenges and picture yourself making excuses to them (Stephen Hawking for example.) Venting to a friend, family member, or spouse is okay but just make sure your not making excuses

6. Just because you learn different, there is a good chance your still smarter than most of the people you come in contact with. I have hired hundred of people and never once did I consider their handwriting or spelling (unless a mistake on a Resume, that’s lazy)

7. Do the most important writing of the day when your fresh, in the morning. Maybe it’s just me, but communicating via email is much faster and easier the more fresh I am. The same task at the end of a long day takes 3x as long for me.

8. Ask for help when you need it, have mentors and a support system that knows your issues that you can openly talk to. These people should be trusted and know not share what you tell them.

9. Don’t shy away from white collar jobs if that’s what you want. With handwork, spellcheck, google, and mentors anything is possible.

10. Learn to be concise, most executives follow 3 sentence email rule. Learning to be concise in email communication has been key for me.
I write emails all day, and typically follow this rule which executives respect – if an email is more than 3 sentences, it should be a conversation. When I need to be more verbose I proof it, I have someone that works for me when needed.

11. When put in situations when you need to write or spell, Just laugh it off and do it as best you can, ask how to spell really hard words with a smile. Tell the person(s) you can’t spell, act like it’s no big deal and move on. People accept that and don’t care about it if your ideas are good. they wont even notice after you tell them twice. Same with hand writing, do it but say my handwriting is terrible. These meetings, white-boarding sessions, presentations etc are uncomfortable got you, but the trick is to not let them see you sweat. If you move address you stink at spelling quickly and keep it moving, so will they. Don’t let everyone you know you have a disability, they probably wont get it and most don’t really care. Again, it’s about what ideas you have add value you can bring. Nobody cares if you are a great speller. If someone does, make fun of them, it would be called for.

12. Avoid special ed if possible. There is no safety net in life, learn to compensate early and run with the pack as best you can. Go to a private school without those programs and just get extra time, it’s really all yo need with google..

Things NOT to listen to.

1. Look at careers that don’t require written communication.

2. You won’t pass high school if you don’t d special ed. You will never pass college so go to a trade school (unless you LIKE that type of work, and know it as a kid it’s silly advice). To be clear blue-collar work no less valuable, I’m only saying you shouldn’t limit yourself.

3. Get a note taker in school, no – record everything and practice taking notes. When you enter the working world you will have no other options so practice and get good. There are cases where this isn’t possible, but you know fi that’s the case. Still take notes, make lists, etc. Re-listen to key meetings or lectures.

4. Make everyone aware of your condition so they can accommodate you.
No, disclose when it’s absolutely needed and keep your medical conditions to family and close friends and mentors. Sorry to say there is a stigma, and you are better served not finding out if your new boss, peer, interviewer, are enlightened between the differences in cognitive impairment between different disabilities.

5. You will never be a good writer. Not true, my improvement since leaving college has been staggering, I’ll never spell well or have readable hand writing but I am a strong writer most of the time (when I take the time needed).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stephan,
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us your unique perspective of a successful adult that just happens to have dysgraphia and ADHD. You make some insightful points, and have given us much to think about. I especially appreciate your comments about becoming a better writer even after leaving school. Yes! Any skill, when practiced regularly, will improve. Thank you again!

Christy Maloney

says:

I just want to say that All About Reading and Spelling have been wonderful for my son! I don’t know for sure if he has Dyslexia or Dysgraphia but I do know that even if I never find out for sure…AAR and AAS will help him. Thank you!! I love this program!!

Big momma t

says:

Best thing I’ve done for my son was pulling him out of public school 2/3rds of the way through the year. The public school system paid lip service to accommodating him but never actually seemed to “get it”. They kept giving him exercises that would lead to him dissolving into tears of self loathing or raging episodes of explosive frustration. Which earned him a reputation with his peers and the staff as being “that kid”, you know, the one everyone gives a wide berth to and makes quick assumptions about. He was so frustrated and anxious about school that he was on medication for anxiety and cried daily.

We’ve been homeschooling 2.5 years now and we do a lot on the computer. We use khan academy for math and his math anxiety is pretty much gone. We use graph paper for pencil work in math.

When doing reports he makes bullet point lists of points he wants to make and then I rewrite as he fleshes the list out into a paragraph. Sometimes he dictates into my iPhone notes and we import it to a word program for editing before printing.

He does a few minutes on the iTrace app on my phone daily with a stylus. This has helped with proper letter formation although he still struggles with starting letters in the correct spot.

The most helpful thing has been just backing off. Not stressing about it and finding ways around so much handwriting. He’s still learning. He’s still bright and curious and with the pressure off of him he’s actually beginning to invest more effort in learning and doing school work.

For anyone fortunate enough to be in a position that they can homeschool after your child has struggled at public school, I would offer this advice: back off. Chill out. Have some fun. Read daily to your child from chapter books. Play board games. Turn off the cell phone and video games and connect with each other deeply. Let him rest, recover from the trauma of public school and ease into schooling at home. And don’t get too attached to any one curriculum or idea of what homeschooling should look like. Not everything works for every child. Find what does and walk away from what you thought would work but isn’t.

Dawn

says:

So beautifully said! And I would add that “backing off” is still valid after homeschooling for a few years. Sometimes to find peace we need to back off and build relationships so school “works” for our kids. As they get older their needs change and so school can change too– like you said, there is no one “picture” of what homeschooling should or does look like.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for this! It was wonderful to read your son’s story and how far he has come.

Lydia R.

says:

I feel that some of these symptoms are developmental stages and not necessarily indicative of dysgraphia.

“Trouble aligning columns of numbers in math problems” >> My 8 y.o. has beautiful handwriting, but he usually doesn’t align columns of numbers even when I ask him to (probably because he’s not required to do that at school).
“Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper” >> Even adults have this problem sometimes.
“Trouble with tasks that require concurrent thinking and writing” >> If they’re a kindergartner, that’s not strange at all.

“a child with dysgraphia often has a much easier time expressing ideas verbally than in writing.” >> What young child doesn’t find talking easier than writing? My oldest spoke in paragraphs even at age four. Until I explicitly begin teaching him writing (not handwriting) as a subject this recent summer, his writing often rambled all over the place.

Dawn

says:

Lydia, you are right about everything you observed. I would venture to add that those parents who observe these symptoms in their kids are seeing something different than the normal ramblings or mis-aligned columns of normally functioning kids. I have six kids and we homeschool– I would be willing to stake my reputation and more that my 9 year old daughter is both dyslexic and dysgraphic. She reads like a fiend and has amazing comprehension and vocabulary skills– but ask her to write an extended math problem in straight columns and you crush her soul despite the fact that she can add and subtract beautifully. Ask her to write a story or paragraph– or even several one word answers and she loses all positiveness. But if I allow oral answers or drawings instead of sentences she asks for more.
Why do I write such a long answer? Because I believe we all know our kids best and we can really sense when something is not right. But the world second guesses us all the time and suggests that experts know more about our individual kids than we moms and dads do. It is the most wonderful blessing to say “my kid does that skill just like the textbook says he or she should at this age” because we parents are then free to move to the next step without worry. But anytime a parent recognizes a behavior as different, society wants to prove us wrong. I want to prove myself wrong about my daughters issues with writing, but that won’t help her. And in the same boat, I shouldn’t want to find something wrong with her twin brother’s writing just to validate a missing skill set.
So yes, you are completely right that almost everything on that dysgraphia list is “normal” for most kids– but at a certain point parents can see a lack of progression and a struggle with those components and that’s where normal and dysgraphia or dyslexic or any other learning challenge diverge.
I chose to write this much because I have found it so frustrating to be told “she’ll grow out of it” when my mothers heart knows instinctively that she won’t. Fir those of you who read that list as “normal” be thankful that your child has moved through those milestones and say prayers for those kids who are stuck in those spots trying so hard to have pretty handwriting like their siblings or read as fluently as their friends. 🙂

Dawn

says:

Please forgive my “phone typos”– I still prefer pen and paper myself! 😜

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your daughter’s story so beautifully, Dawn.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lydia,
Of course you are correct. Many, if not all, of these symptoms can be normal occurrences developmentally.

Your last comment, “Until I explicitly begin teaching him writing (not handwriting) as a subject this recent summer, his writing often rambled all over the place,” is a great example of what this article meant when saying a dysgraphic child is “worse than you would normally see in a child of his age, intelligence, and education level.” If a child is of an age and intelligence where these skills are developmentally appropriate and he has had direct instruction to teach him these skills, yet he still struggles greatly, then it may be time to look into dysgraphia.

When thinking about dysgraphia, we aren’t suggesting parent should be concerned about a difficulty here or there, but rather they should look at the pattern of symptoms and the level of difficulty a student has with them, compared with what is age appropriate and what the student has been taught. It sounds like you have considered all these things with your child.

Thank you for bringing up this excellent point.

L Hollingsworth

says:

One of my best friends has a daughter who seems way behind in handwriting. I help in a couple of classes at the homeschool co-op we attend, & I have been surprised by how much she struggles with it. I had never heard of this term before. I will share this with her mom. Thanks for sharing this information.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome. Please let your friend know that we are happy to answer any questions she might have as well.

Amy

says:

Thank you for sharing this helpful information. This may be a clue to what my son is struggling with, and I will be more sensitive to his special needs.

Is it possible to get this report in printable form? Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nancy,
This is the link to the printable Symptoms of Dysgraphia report. As of yet this article with tips and such is not available in printable form. However, I think it would make a great addition to our reports, and I’ll pass that suggest on. Thank you.

Christina

says:

I’m so thankful fpr all the info about dysgraphia!

Cindy Linstad

says:

This may explain the struggles my 11 year old son has writing. Thank you for the insights.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Cindy. Let us know if you have any questions.

Jessica

says:

Thus fits my child to a t! I’ve been doing diane crafts brain integration therapy and it has already helped! It is fixable!

Becki

says:

I totally missed sending in my update. :( My son is now 9 1/2 and is almost finished with AAR 2 and AAS 1. He is devouring chapter books and is thinking through the spelling process for writing. He is enjoying learning how to write in cursive. We also don’t have the battles about writing that we used to have. He still won’t write a paragraph, but is working towards it. We are so thankful for AAR and AAS!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for this, Becki! It’s wonderful to hear that your son has made such progress and is still growing in his writing. Keep up the great work!

a

says:

I find that, for my dysgraphic child, it is helpful to separate the many components of a task–handwriting, spelling, idea generation, language formulation, demonstration of content mastery (math, history, science, reading comprehension), so that challenges with lower-level skills don’t interfere with the development of higher-level skills. For example, my child spells much better out loud (or with tiles) than on paper, because the handwriting aspect has been removed. When we were at the math facts stage, we did those out loud, as well. (I also allow a calculator any time the point of the exercise is not basic arithmetic. Many dysgraphics have difficulty not only with writing math minutes quickly, but also with memorizing math facts, even when they have demonstrated that they completely understand the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.) We do as much of our schoolwork as possible orally, scribed, or using speech-to-text (speechnotes.co is our current go-to).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for taking the time to write up some of the many ways you allow your student to progress in in areas without his or her difficulties getting in the way!

Maria T.

says:

My third grade son can read but simply can’t write. I didn’t realize how behind he was until I saw his writing on a board along with the rest of his classmates. His was illegible, more like a kindergartner. His teachers have been telling me he has a problem with writing since grade 1. I took him to doctor and he recommended occupational therapy. We at time thought it was only a physical problem. Now 3 years later we see it’s more than physical. I have an appointment coming up with his paediatrician at schools request. Meanwhile the school put him back at kindergarten level reading books which simply broke his self esteem and spirit. He can read at a much higher level than that! They also started him on lexia. I have a meeting with the school team what should I ask for to help my son succeed and restore his self esteem? I don’t think reading kindergarten level books help. Am I wrong? Help!!!

I don’t understand what working on reading at a lower level than he is capable of reading has to do with improving his handwriting. Do they feel he is missing specific reading concepts, or that he’s not comprehending what he reads? How are they working on his handwriting?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Maria,
Prior to the meeting with the school team, collect a few books that your son has comfortably read with good comprehension to take with you. Then, ask what his test results showed for reading and why that has led to his being placed in such a low reading level. Show them the books he has been reading, and that you are very concerned that his dysgraphia is affecting their perception of his reading abilities.

There is a chance he really did test that low. I’m not saying that he necessarily reads that low, but rather that for some reason he did poorly on the test and the results don’t adequately show his abilities. Kids, like adults, have bad days. Or his teacher could be judging his reading ability by his written answers to worksheets, which would give a false low. You should be able to find out at the meeting.

I’m sorry your son is struggling in this way. Hopefully your pediatrician can get him started down the right path for help, and I hope you find the school team meeting to be encouraging to have a plan to help your son start to succeed. Please let me know if you have further questions. I’m interested to hear what the school team has to say.

Carrie Seibert

says:

My sons have all struggled with handwriting, in some way or another, but my youngest seems to have the most difficulty. One thing we’re doing in our family that helps him (and, really, all of our children) is daily copywork. We choose to use Bible verses that coordinate with topical subjects we’re concentrating on and they choose one verse for the week from a list I give them. Each day they are required to copy the verse as neatly as possible. It has been beneficial on many levels, and for my son that struggles with writing it has helped him feel more confident and successful in his handwriting.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carrie,
I, too, have found daily copywork help for improving handwriting. Also, copying verses is a great way to help memorize them. My 13 year old son struggles with memorization, but by copying his memory verse every day he can successfully recite it for his Sunday School class.

amber

says:

I am so grateful to have read this because I’ve noticed my daughter struggling with reading but now I recognize this as an issue my son is having. I’m happy to get some tips on how to help him see there are other ways to demonstrate your knowledge.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amber,
I’m happy this article has helped you get some ideas for your son. Please let us know if you have any questions or need further ideas.

Andrea

says:

How I would have longed to have been identified in the late 80’s/early 90’s… sigh…

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
I’m sorry you never received the help and accommodations you needed.

Shannon

says:

My son doesn’t have an official diagnosis, but his hatred of written work, even at beginning levels impacted his feelings toward all school work. Making adjustments like these to ease the pressure has helped him tremendously.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shannon,
Yes! These adjustments can make a huge difference in the student’s attitude about learning. It’s great to hear that these have helped your son. Thank you.

Melissa

says:

This was an eye-opening post. Thank you!

Jenn Khurshid

says:

Thank you for all the great ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jenn.

Andrea Halstead

says:

Some great ideas!

Mary Beth

says:

All three of my sons are dysgraphic. They have benefitted greatly from keyboarding and using graph paper for their math work. And in spite of the combination of that and dyslexia, they have done very well with their standardized testing. We have also used lapbooks and a LOT of hands on activities for history and Science. Plenty of cut/color and paste for everyone!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary Beth,
We have done a lot of lapbooking as well. They are fun to do, and such a great record of their learning too.

Helena

says:

Where can I get these book called AAR and AAS

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Helena,
AAS is short for All About Spelling and AAR is short for All About Reading.

Dawn

says:

Do dysgraphia and dyslexia often occur together? My 9 year old daughter has several issues–we have not had her tested because, as homeschoolers, we can adapt what we are doing to be successful for her. She reads like a fiend and has amazing comprehension; but her handwriting is less legible than my 5 year old’s and she has a terrible time with reversals (I’m sure she’s dyslexic). We do use AAS and AAR; AAS is what actually got her to read–she could decode things after learning the spelling rules and then she took off! AAR wasn’t around yet when she learned to read. What would you do to make sure this student continues to be successful?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
Dysgraphia is somewhat common among people who have dyslexia.

As for what to do to help your student to be successful, keep teaching her at her own level in each area separately. For her, that likely means you will need to remove the physical act of writing from all subjects other than writing. History and science can be project based and oral, for example. If forming letters is still very much a struggle for her, you might need to do all of her spelling with the tiles or orally as well, although some kids that struggle with pencil and paper do okay with writing large on a whiteboard.

I hope this helps some, but it is difficult to give specific recommendations without knowing more details about her struggles and what you are already doing. Please let us know if you would like further suggestions and help.

Alena

says:

I am an EFL teacher and a mother of two. So I see children struggling to write in English not only at work but at home as well. And although I have only peeped into the free samples of the AAS books, I have found the whole approach and the curriculum well-organised and highly effective for the kids, who learn English as their second language.

K. Bailey

says:

Thank you for providing accurate information that can be used immediately.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome!

LMC

says:

Thank you for the wonderful resources!

Evi K.

says:

Great information! Thanks for posting and sharing!

KB

says:

What a great resource!

Holly

says:

Great information!

Christina Burns

says:

Great information!

Linda

says:

Thank you.

Stefanie Gade

says:

Your timing is perfect. I was just working on a Neurodevelopmental Drawing Series, Draw to Read, and my son was getting frustrated. I noticed his grip changed from when using his triangle crayons to a colored pencil. The insight you provided along with a pdf from HWT was so helpful in knowing how to help teach him. Thank you so much.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stefanie,
You are welcome! We’re happy this was timely and helpful for you.

Laura A

says:

Thank you so much for this article. It has been very helpful!

Tracy

says:

Thank you for this post. My 9-year-old son has struggled with written expression for years, and I had started to suspect dysgraphia. He has many of the characteristics you’ve listed. Your post is very helpful to me, especially in pointing out ways I can help him work around the difficulties and keep learning enjoyable. Thanks again!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tracy,
I’m happy to hear that this post was so helpful to you. Let us know if we can help or answer any further questions.

Elizabeth

says:

My son has some of these symptoms, I am going to look into this. Hopefully it will help us!! Thanks!

Lindsey

says:

This is really helpful.

Evangeline

says:

I think my daughter might have this. I’ll have to try some of the suggestions

Michelle

says:

Interesting information thank you. My son has a lot of the symptoms, the one that is the hardest for him is incorrect spacing of letters and words.

Denise

says:

Great advice. Will try your suggestions

Zer

says:

Thank you! I was just thinking that my son was lazy but he is not. I really need to help him in other ways.

Marie Rippel

says:

You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that this post provided some insights into your son’s situation.

6peppers

says:

I have a son who was officially diagnosed with severe dysgraphia by a neuro-psychologist. This article is spot on. I just wish I had read it 6 years ago. It would have maybe saved us both a lot of frustration. :)

For those parents who are struggling with this, here are some other things I have learned along the way from experience and from the professional.
1) It is common for kids with dysgraphia to have other underlying learning disabilities as well. My son was also diagnosed with audio processing disorder, severe ADHD (hypo not hyper), and mild dyspraxia. So if you suspect dysgraphia, it may be worth getting a professional involved. There may be other issues that are contributing to the frustration.
2) Get a 504 and other documentation of the dysgraphia and other LDs even if you are homeschooling. These kids usually have very high IQs and will probably want to go onto college, but they often handle testing terribly and need accommodations. So you will need the paper trail to get the SAT/ACT accommodations. They may need these accommodations in the college classroom as well. This is another reason why it may worth seeing a professional.
3) Be realistic and celebrate improvements. The professional said that there is nothing that will “fix” the dysgraphia, just work arounds (Dragon software, verbal dictation, etc.). I didn’t take this as a license to give up. We still continue to work on penmanship and AAS, but his statement helped me accept that my son will always struggle and that it’s okay that he will never be grade level in these areas.
4) As the article said, use other means of expression. Once we threw out writing, his attitude about school completely improved. We rely heavily on verbal dictation, and now that he’s in high school we have implemented Dragon. Even keyboarding skills may not help. It did not for my son. Dysgraphia is more than a handwriting issue. It is a neurological problem in the language area of the brain which makes all written expression difficult.
5) Get a small tablet size dry erase board with the handwriting guides and use the fat markers. We use this for anything where writing is required, like AAS dictation and penmanship. The lines help with spatial recognition and allows for larger writing. And the glide of the marker and the quick erase helps writing go faster than paper and pencil. We also turn it sideways and use it to line up math problems. This simple tool has made many schooling tasks so much easier, and it’s portable.

Hope this is helpful.

Marie Rippel

says:

This information is very helpful, 6peppers! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. It will certainly benefit other readers!

AUGIE

says:

Interesting. My son shows some signs; now I can look for more details and see if this, indeed is an issue with him. Thank you

Rebecca

says:

This is very helpful! Thanks so much!

cassandra campbell

says:

Thank you.

Christina Marie Taylor

says:

This was so helpful!

Terry

says:

Thank you for this very informative article and the practical strategies.

Lidia

says:

Can this also be prevalent in children with Dyslexia?

Marie Rippel

says:

Hi Lidia! Yes, dysgraphia is quite common among people who have dyslexia.

Jennie

says:

Thank you for this article. I do have a son with extremely messy handwriting, but this article made it clear that dysgraphia is not the culprit. While I believe children can be made to write more legibly, some just will never have beautiful handwriting, and this is okay too!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Very true, Jennie! I’m glad that this article clarified that for you!

Jill

says:

Good information and thank you for the tools!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You are most welcome, Jill! :)

Ashley

says:

Thankful for your resources!

Lacy van Vuuren

says:

I had heard of dyslexia, but dysgraphia is a new concept for me. My daughter has “writing days,” on which she can neatly write a page without difficulty. Sometimes she’ll tell me, “This is not a writing day.” She complains of hand and arm pain as well as sloppy writing on those days. Is there such a thing as intermittent dysgraphia?

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Lacy! There are three subsets of dysgraphia: dyslexic, motor, and spatial. The symptoms you are describing are very much like “motor dysgraphia.” With motor dysgraphia, the act of handwriting can take intense focus and can involve cramping of the hand, arm, and shoulder. Some people with motor dysgraphia (but not all) can write neatly for short periods of time, but if they are tired or if there is extended writing required, it becomes much more difficult and even painful. I hope this additional information is helpful!

Hoosier Mom

says:

We started using AAS and AAR in the past few weeks and the children really enjoy it. While my son’s handwriting still needs some refining, I was pleased to realize he certainly doesn’t have dysgraphia!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Yay! This is good to know!

Brittany

says:

We just started using AAR this year and are really enjoying it!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Excellent! I’m so glad to hear this! :)

Tamara W.

says:

I love this comment: “Once the pressure is off and your child is learning in other subject areas without pen and paper, it’s time to work on penmanship skills.” This is a good use of compensation. It is hard to work on multiple skills at one time for my students. Gradual implementation of penmanship into subject areas can only be done once the student has gained facility with the basic penmanship skills. I also appreciate your article on “Respecting the Funnel”, and this applies here too. I often am too eager to implement more than one skill at a time. I appreciate this website and the many helps and programs. I have used Handwriting Without Tears and hope to use more of the resources available at All About Learning. Thank you!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You are most welcome, Tamara! And thanks for bringing up the Funnel Concept article (http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/the-funnel-concept/). The funnel concept definitely applies to teaching handwriting, especially for those kids who struggle.

Trina

says:

Thanks so much for all your tips! Love AAS and AAR!

Donna LeFlore

says:

I’m very happy with All About Spelling. It’s even helped me become a better speller. It’s so much better than just being given words to memorize. I help a student that goes to public school and gets a list of words to memorize every week. Two weeks later they have forgotten the word. Almost as if they never heard it. That’s just a waste of time. And this advice is right on about writing. Writing is just a skill. Like art. In my opinion. Not everyone is an artist. We used the keyboard early on. Learned typing from an old typing book just a few lines a day until we learned the keyboard and then moved on to Mavis Beacon to go through it again at a faster pace. Then as they get older you work on the writing a few lines a day. As a little student working on art is the spring board to beautiful writing. I’ve always wanted to do Calligraphy, however, it takes so much work and I just don’t have the skill for it or am just very self-critical. But that doesn’t stop you from doing other things. Keep up the good work.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Thanks for your kind words, Donna, and for sharing your insights! Here is an article about “Spelling Lists that Don’t Make Sense” (http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/spelling-lists-that-make-sense/) that may explain why your students forget the words so quickly when using typical spelling lists.

Heather

says:

Thank you so much for the list of alternatives for writing assignments. So often in the “heat of the moment” I struggle to come up with a different option when my guy has just had more writing than he can handle.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Hi Heather! I’m glad to hear that the list of alternatives to handwritten assignments was helpful to you!

Wendy

says:

I taught 1st grade for years and loved Handwriting Without Tears. The transformation for some kids was amazing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for your experienced recommendation of Handwriting Without Tears, Wendy!

Maya

says:

My older one does not like writing at all. I’ve been looking for information how to help him to improve his handwriting. I found a book called ‘Speed Up!: a Kinaesthetic Program to Develop Fluent Handwriting’. This article also very useful. Foam writing is definitely will be fun learning activity.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the book recommendation, Maya.

Tabitha Moon

says:

Thank you for this. I love the list of alternatives to handwritten assignments. This is so helpful with our daily struggle in handwriting and now having more “tools” in my tool box I can help my son so it isn’t such a struggle.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad we helped you have more tools in your box, Tabitha!

Julie

says:

This looks like a good fit and help for my two sons who struggle with reading and spelling.

Thanks for this article. I have a student who dislikes the actual act of writing and we have found that by decreasing how much the student has to write has been very beneficial in helping them when they do have to write.

Tamara Abboud

says:

Thank you for this article. I did not know much about dysgraphia … and now I feel much more informed.

Carrie

says:

This approach has helped my child!

Laura Walton

says:

These are great ideas. Thank you for being such an incredible resource!

Amy

says:

Thank you so much for the information & fun learning ideas you provide. I have a child you struggles with this and some times there are tears from frustration. I plan to try the shaving cream first!

Alessia Miller

says:

When does having trouble forming letters and writing turn from just an age and developmental issue to dysgraphia. My 8 year old son has some of the symptoms but i feel he is still young developmentally to lable them as dysgraphia. He is thriving in AAS and AAR and we do practice handwriting daily. Forming cursive letters seems to be easier for him.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alessia,
Generally, if a child has received appropriate handwriting training (that is, the child has consistently been shown the correct way to form letters using a structured handwriting program) and the child is still having issues at age 8, then you might consider looking into dysgraphia. However, one of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can provide him with the help and accommodations he needs without requiring a label. Still, keep dysgraphia in mind if he isn’t showing improvement.

Some learners to find cursive helpful because it is very difficult to reverse letters as the look and formation of them are so distinct. For example, no one would confuse cursive b and d, but those are the most commonly confused letters in print.

I hope this helps. Let us know if you have further concerns or questions though.

Jenn s

says:

Thanks for the wonderful information. My oldest always complains and struggles with writing. And he will constantly misspell words when he has spelled them correctly numerous times before.

Jenny L

says:

I have been struggling with reading and writing with my eight year old son and confused about why he just doesn’t seem to be “getting” it. This has really opened my eyes and shown me how real his struggle is – thank you for this great information and for both your reading and spelling programs!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenny,
I’m happy this article was helpful for you. Please let us know if you have any questions, or if we can help you help your son.

Maxine

says:

I love All About Learning Press.

Karen S

says:

Thanks for the free info and resources. I will share with my colleagues.

Keshia

says:

This is how I found your program, I was searching for a spelling program that did not require writing lists of words because my son was horrible at spelling, HATED to write and he would write the words in the word list wrong anyway. At the time, we didn’t know why writing was so difficult for him. I was thrilled to find your system with the hands on magnetic tiles, just what I was looking for. Then as I got into the program I love the step by step approach, mastering one thing at a time. It just makes sence. I personally alway did well with spelling but often didn’t know why it was spelled a certain way until go through lessons with him. Now I use AAR and AAS with my 4 youngest and have found the same to be true with AAR, they often ask to do their ‘ Ziggy reading’ i only wish I had known about it with my oldest 4 Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Keshia,
It’s wonderful to read that All About Spelling helped your son so much. Thank you for sharing this!

Leslie

says:

Is dysgraphia also part of dyslexia? My two oldest sons and myself are dyslexic. Both my sons have poor pen,a ship and always reversed letteers up to now. One is 14 and one is 24. Both avoid writing at all cost. However, if they can type it seems to help with the ‘not wanting to’ write. Also, I was the same way until many years of college. When I finally was able to study. It was a weird way, but one that worked for me. My 14 yo isn’t to the point I could show him how it worked for me. However, I am showing him that writing in cursive seems to help with that reversed letter problem. I don’t know why it works for me but it feels more fluid like? Learning to type very well. On a standard typewriter really helped also. Another thought, I’m a waldorfians at heart and my youngest three went to a Waldorf charter school. They learn though, art, music and movement. One of the biggest steps to being able to read and write is the ability to cross midline. I personally lose my place as I cross midline as does my son. Would this help children with who are disgraphic and not dyslexic? The kids at the Waldorf school also wrote with s thick beeswax crayon, not a pencil or pen. They tend to have a better grip on the writing utensil then they would s thin pencil. They get to use ink pen in a much higher grade, I think it is 5th. This is after they master the thicker pencil.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leslie,
Disgraphia is distinct from dyslexia, but the two are found together fairly often.

Cursive helps many learners with reversals, because the way letters look and are formed are much more distinct. For example, in cursive it’s very hard to confuse b and d, or p and q.

As for thick crayons and pencils for young writers, the research I have seen suggests thicker writing instruments may be more likely to lead to incorrect pencil grips. Handwriting Without Tears, for example, strongly recommends small, half sized golf pencils for little hands. The idea is that small hands need smaller instruments, not bigger.

Thank you for bringing up so many interesting points!

Miriam

says:

Very thorough and positive!

Marilyn Fuqua

says:

Good information. So many kids struggle and feel so frustrated, when all they hear is “try harder”. They need positive feedback as reachable solutions.

Ann

says:

So professional. I consider you an expert I can look to for great advice. I can feel so much trust towards your approaches and recommendations. Thx for all the helpful information you provide. The free stuff has been very insightful for me, imagine how my children could thrive if I had the complete sets of AAR & AAS!!!

Heidi waye

says:

Be patient with little ones. It will come wroth spry consistent practice.

Anita C.

says:

I wondered how many symptoms on the checklist would point to a definite diagnosis? My son exhibits some of the list, but not a preponderance. Is there a test to confirm? We just happened to use Handwriting Without Tears and he did well but still struggles with similar letters like h, n, a, g, q and occasionally mixes his b’s and d’s but usually catches himself. He doesn’t write in complete sentences and is very “behind” in language arts. His spelling is really improving with AAS, but it’s work for him. As he gains confidence spelling, he has shown a greater willingness to try writing on his own answers because he does know them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anita,
A checklist isn’t sufficient for a definite diagnosis of dysgraphia. A child would need to be evaluated by an Occupational Therapist for a definite diagnosis, and with most insurances that would mean beginning by speaking with your pediatrician. Generally, if a child has received appropriate handwriting training (that is, the child has consistently been shown the correct way to form letters using a structured handwriting program) and the child is still having issues at age 8, then consider looking into dysgraphia. It is developmentally appropriate for kids 7 and under to reverse letters or need help with letter formation.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions. It’s good to read that AAS is helping.

Chris Welke

says:

Thank you for sharing your knowledge about dysgraphia. I work with children who have dyslexia and this has helped me.

CKJames

says:

I am excited about the possibility of this helping my youngest son. Thank you for what you do.

Loreen G

says:

I wish I’d had this article 11 years ago when my little guy was starting Kindergarten. He has all the signs of dysgraphia and we were in a virtual school at the time and they did not make allowances for learning differences. By 2nd grade I knew this was a challenge we needed to address on our own and we became independent homeschoolers and started using AAS. It has made the BIGGEST difference and I still get teary-eyed thinking about when I discovered your curriculum and we started using it. If often said it should be called Spelling Without Tears because the tears stopped (for both of us!) when we started using AAS and I learned how to work with the dysgraphia issues. Many thanks for an awesome curriculum and all your informative and helpful blogs.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Loreen,
*I* almost had tears reading this! Thank you for sharing your son’s struggles, and how you and he moved on toward spelling success together. I’ll be sharing this with the whole AALP team.

Jenna

says:

So much great info!

Catherine Barrett

says:

On AAS Level 1 and our family loves it!

Iris

says:

Just the article I’ve been looking for! Thank you!

T

says:

I know someone who might be interested in this!

Morgan

says:

Interesting! Thanks

Sarah W

says:

We live AAS & AAR!

Diana Matlock

says:

I had never heard of this before. While we don’t have this issue so far with any of our children I was happy to see the article about letter reversal. This seems to be a common problem we run into with reading and spelling that contain certain letters.

Julia Minges

says:

Interesting! We’re just starting our kindergarten journey… If we run into trouble, it’s good to know there are solutions!

Ashlee Geesaman

says:

We are working through dysgraphia and dyslexia with my 7 year old and are currently trying to figure what level to start at for AAR and AAS.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ashlee,
You can find placement information here, but feel free to ask us if you have further questions or are unsure.

Christine Mayfield

says:

This is a great article! I just heard about dysgraphia the other day in a homeschool group. I am looking forward to trying different things for my kids.

Ashley Miller

says:

Good info! Thanks for this!

LeAnn Harbert

says:

My 3 boys all have illegible handwriting, one of their teachers said she thought it was a disability.

Mindi

says:

I so appreciate your product and all the wonderful and very helpful information provided. Just wondering, at what age might this problem become clear? Thanks again for all you do to make teaching so much easier for me, and learning so much more efficient for my kids.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mindi,
Generally, if a child has received appropriate handwriting training (that is, the child has consistently been shown the correct way to form letters using a structured handwriting program) and the child is still having issues at age 8, then it would be appropriate to start looking into dysgraphia. It is developmentally appropriate for kids 7 and under to reverse letters or need help with letter formation.

I hope this gives you some idea, but please let us know if you have further questions or concerns.

Sarah

says:

My son hates to write, but doesn’t seem to have any of the other symptoms of dysgraphia. I’m finding using different methods that allows him to view writing as a fun activity, such as creating comic book pages, really encourages him.

Allison

says:

Helpful tips!

Deann

says:

This is very helpful, thanks!

Anne

says:

My daughter has dysgraphia as well as dyslexia and dyscalculia. We find that writing on graph paper is helpful for math and general writing. We also have her turn her lined paper sideways so she can use columns for math.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great tips, Anne! I can see how graph paper would be especially helpful.

Aimee

says:

Thank you! Great info!

Janet Caley

says:

I am an elementary resource room teacher and like to read these blogs because they give very practical information and solutions to real issues! Keep up the great blogging!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Janet!

Katherine

says:

Thank you for your informative blog posts! I can’t tell you how much your AAR and AAS programs have meant to me! I am a homeschool mom of 5. I have two with dyslexia. I wish I would have known about your program when I was teXhing my first 2 to read! Your programs have helped my younger children tremendously and I am seeing wonderful results! Thank you for all the work and energy you have put in to such a systematic and comprehensive program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We are so happy to have had a part in your children’s wonderful results, Katherine!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for the tips! My daughter struggled with writing for a while, but we think it was due to her not knowing how to spell words and wanting everything to be correct. Now she is much better. I think typing is an excellent tip! My daughter really was encouraged to write more when we started letting her type. We also have just started using Handwriting Without Tears.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this, Jennifer. It’s great to read that your daughter is improving through many of the tips we have recommended.

Amanda

says:

I taught a very gifted student who struggled with this problem once. His parents and previous teachers had lots of good strategies in place.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Thank you for pointing out that bright and even gifted students can struggle with dysgraphia.

Callie

says:

This had so much info! A friend’s daughter has dysgraphia , passing this on to her!

Michelle Hollenbacher

says:

Oh my gosh i think my kid has this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
I’m sorry to hear your child is struggling with this. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

kate McVeety

says:

Thanks for an interesting article. It has given me something to think about as I move forward with teaching my kids.

Jennifer

says:

Thanks for all the great tips!

Joy

says:

My daughter struggles with writing numbers and letters correctly. Mostly, she reverses digits in a number for example if asked to write 108 she will write 810. Is this still dysgraphia? The letter tiles in All About Spelling have really boosted her confidence in spelling and she is finally improving in that area.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Joy,
If your daughter doesn’t have the symptoms of dysgraphia mentioned in the blog post, letter and number reversals and writing words and numbers with the letters or digits out of order may be something else. Prior to the age 8 or so, reversals are considered a normal part of a learning. After that age, they can be a sign of dyslexia.

So, look through the other symptoms of dysgraphia in this blog post, and also look over the symptoms of dyslexia checklist. You may find our blog post on How to Solve Letter Reversals helpful as well. In the comments we discussed number reversals a number of times, so you may find additional information there.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns.

Carol

says:

Valuable information. I am trained in O-G and think your program really supports that approach.

Caroline

says:

Great tips here! My son works with OT (and PT) on gross and fine motor skills, and has many fine motor delays and dysgraphia characteristics. All of these tips are awesome and so applicable! We also just recently found out that adding pressure to his forearm helps provide a good amount of sensory input and stability to help him press down on the paper more (just enough to be visible, because that’s tough for him depending on the writing implement!), as well as give him the stability to form letters better. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes! So, I either press down lightly on his forearm while he waits or we strap on a small 1-pound padded ankle weight to his forearm. (He actually prefers and asks for the ankle weight because then he’s almost totally independent besides my verbal cues!)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Caroline,
Thank you for sharing this. I was surprised to read that something as simple as a 1 pound weight could make such a difference. Very interesting.

Amy

says:

So much information!!! Thank you!

Sandy

says:

I have seen this post several times and it finally hit me that this might be part of my daughters problem. Thanks for some helpful advice.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sandy,
You are welcome. Let us know if you have any questions; we love to help!

Karrie

says:

Fantastic post about dysgraphia!

Emily

says:

Your information on “b” and “d” reversal was so helpful! We had been struggling to master that concept for sometime and with the help of your ideas, it finally clicked!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Emily,
Thank you for letting us know that you were able to help your child finally conquer these tricky reversals, and that our How to Solve Letter Reversals blog post helped. Hurray!

Chantel

says:

Thanks for the info!

Tamara

says:

Very interesting! I always enjoy these articles.

Amanda

says:

Very insightful !! Thank you

DP Thompson

says:

I have suspected my child has disgraphia; she has some of the same characteristics. Glad we are using All About Reading/Spelling!

Jessica

says:

Good article

Melanie

says:

It is good o know that this is something to look out for. Thanks!

Gail Timmer

says:

The letter tiles are wonderful. Dividing into syllables makes total sense. Thank you!

Sarah Ter Maat

says:

Hmmm… I almost wonder if my oldest child has this. Things (spelling, grammar, and especially writing) have been really difficult for her. I have been second guessing myself for the last 2 years that I pulled her out of public school to homeschool, and have even considered sending her back. Maybe this is why? I’ll look in to this further. Thanks for the post!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have. We are available here, through email at support@allaboutlearningpress.com, or by phone at 715-477-1976.

Colleen

says:

Articles providing help bad information for dysgraphia are few and far between. Thank you so much for the information and advice.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Colleen.

Tara Bailey

says:

My son is currently struggling with this. This article is so helpful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tara,
We aim for helpful, and it’s great to hear we hit the mark!

Sarah M.

says:

Good information to know and look out for in my children.

K. Mahmood

says:

Very interesting to know.

Kay

says:

I love your material. It is so user friendly.

Debra

says:

Hello! I so love reading all the great tips and tools on your site. Very informative, thank you!
I suspect that my son has dysgraphia and possibly dyslexia. Do you have any info as to where / how I can get him formally tested (i.e., other than me diagnosing him)? We are not in public school. Are there any online programs that do this?

Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

You can take him to an occupational therapist for the dysgraphia. You can also go to Handwriting Without Tears and look for a handwriting specialist in your area. If you have Scottish Rite language centers in your area, they will test for dyslexia at no charge.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Debra,
It depends by what you want from a diagnosis. If you simply want a confirmation of what you suspect, many tutors can do that for you. You will want to seek out a person to test your child and look over his work in person, however.

If you want an official diagnosis that will allow for accommodations in college and such, you may want to look into seeing a pediatric neuropsychologist for testing. This typically involves multiple days of testing and very detailed reports. However, colleges often want to see testing and a diagnosis (or retesting and a confirmation of diagnosis) within three years of beginning college.

Interestingly, in many states public school testing will not result in an official diagnosis. My state, for example, tests only if the student is behind or not and doesn’t get to the root of why the student is behind. Other states, however, do test for the root causes and can give a dyslexia diagnosis. Lastly, many states public schools are willing or are even required to provide services to homeschoolers, if requested. You may want to speak to someone that works with your state wide homeschool organization for specific information about this.

The decision to have your student tested or not, and at what level of testing and when, is complicated and personal. I’m sorry I can’t give you clearer direction on this.

Kristin

says:

We took our son to a diagnostic psychiatrist this spring. We’d asked around and she was recommended to us. She performed a Neuro-psych evaluation, which is very thorough testing, and resulted in an official diagnosis of ADHD Inattentive, Dyslexia, and Dysgraphia. While I was on the right track in my own research and conclusions, she gave us really conclusive answers, with concrete advice specific to our son. I’d definitely recommend getting a Neuro-psych evaluation of you suspect these kind of learning issues.

Jen

says:

I have a son who continually struggles with his writing and spelling. He never puts spaces between words. We know he is super smart- he had super high CoGat scores. His teachers have said that he has ideas that are well above his age group, but this area is a constant struggle. He has lost confidence (since everyone else writes with comparative ease. He now really hates school. He also seems to struggle in class with paying attention (maybe an auditory issue ? ). This is a very helpful site

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jen,
I’m sorry your son is struggling in this way. It’s great to know this site has been helpful to you. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Linda Neal

says:

I am so glad to get some clear information about dysgraphia. We have struggled with getting our children to write as well as handwriting. As a teacher I have also seen children give up with writing causing additional problems such behavior. Glad to get some information I can use as well as share with my fellow teachers.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
We are very happy to be a resource to help teachers help their students!

Rita

says:

All About…products are great! I use them in my second grade classroom.

Kelly Spicer

says:

Hi,
My teacher and I believe my 8 year old son has dysgraphia. His main issue is spelling and sound (mainly vowel) mix ups. I can find no resources to help him even though his teacher and I have scoured the internet. Even his school counselor has never heard of it and offered little help. Do you think this program might work for him?

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
We have had good reports from parents of dysgraphic students, so I do think All About Spelling might help.

All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way, students have begin to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

We do offer a one year “Go Ahead and Use It” guarantee. You can spend up to a year using our products and still return them if they don’t work for your son.

Let us know if you have any further questions!

brandy

says:

So, with a 15 yo. who can spell pretty okay, but has issues getting things on paper….where would you suggest to begin and what would I need to buy?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brandy,
It doesn’t sound like your student needs more spelling practice, but may need to work on things like typing, or programs that help the student work on writing skills, like working through the thought process and so on. It’s hard to give specific advice without knowing where in the writing process your student’s struggle begins. Is it the physical act of writing? It is organizational?

I was just informed that emailed us as well this morning. We’ll be emailing you a reply as well.

Lora

says:

This is an excellent post~and truly highlights my son’s struggles with writing and spelling. He’s a great reader and does well with grammar but the physical act of writing and the creative act of writing and spelling are his greatest frustrations. He also has a nonverbal learning disability (basically a processing disability) so we are working on some simple writing exercises right now to strengthen the ability of his left brain to work with his right brain. As we continue with this program–and hopefully see progress–I am looking for the next step to help him with spelling. I am very curious about AAS but have not used it before.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Lora,
I’m glad you found this post helpful and informative. Let us know if we can answer any questions you have, or help in any way.

Becki

says:

Our oldest son struggled with this for nearly three years before we knew there was a name or that it was all connected. He finally took off reading after finishing AAR 1, and is loving it. We are in level 2 now and starting spelling. Definitely still a struggle there. I don’t want to push him too hard. He recently was super excited that his new math level had a smaller font, and he no longer dislikes math. We take things as he can handle them, but spelling and writing look to be a long term struggle. I know it will get better, and AAS will definitely help get him to that point.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Becki,
Thank you for sharing your son’s struggles. Please let us know how we can help you help you son. That’s what we’re here for.

Celeste

says:

Thank you so much for the tips to use with kids with this problem. I just found out that my son has this learning difficulty, but knew nothing about it. This has been very helpful.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Celeste,
I’m glad that this article was helpful for you. Let us know if we can help you any further.

Nicole

says:

I greatly appreciate this article. You go beyond a list of symptoms and offer practical suggestions. The greatest need of a parent is often the ability to help our children. You have given me help in an area that has been a great source of frustration

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
Thank you for your appreciation of this article. We really want to be a source of help and encouragement.

Kristin

says:

Thanks for this article. I came across it while googling “children who struggle with writing”. My 11.5 year old son has always struggled in school. It’s just been the past year or two that he’s made real progress with reading and is now able to haltingly read Nate the Great books and some Beverly Cleary. Attention has also been an issue- he understands his math lessons for the most part and does well in math, but it can take hours to get through one lesson because he is so distractible. His math book is more full of doodles than actual math, I think! When he was small, he needed speech therapy, and improved with that in a matter of months. He also says, “what?” constantly, to the point that we had his hearing tested, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. As far as writing goes, it really taxes him. He writes neatly but it is slow and painstaking. He told me that he has to think hard about how to make each letter. I had thought that he needed more practice but what this article is making me realize is that having to focus so much on his writing is hindering his learning. I wish I’d concluded that sooner. I’m feeling like this could be a piece of the puzzle- do you think we’re on the right track, and do you have any suggestions for other avenues to explore? He’s a bright, sunshine kid, I hate to see him hating school.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Hi Kristin,

My mom took me to have my hearing checked for the exact same reason–I said “what?” all the time! Like your son, my hearing tested fine. I learned to stop saying “what?” all the time, to pause, and to wait for the sounds to separate into meaningful words in my mind. Sometimes when I hear, the spaces between words disappear and my mind has to tease out the sounds and decide which ones form words–

somethingakintotryingtoreadasentencewithnospacesbetweenthewords.

That usually works for me, but sometimes not. As an illustration–here’s a conversation I had with my daugher 2 years ago (she was 14):

Me: how are you doing this morning?
Daughter: Fine…forgetting a plate.
Me: forgetting a plate?

I’m wondering…what bearing does this have on how she’s doing? Where is the plate–in her room? I’ve told the kids not to keep dishes in their rooms. What’s so important about this plate?

Daughter: For. Getting. Up. Late!

Thankfully my kids and I can laugh when this happens!

Have you read about Auditory Processing issues? With his background of speech issues and saying “what,” I think it’s likely he has some struggles in this area. Marie has a great article here: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/auditory-processing-disorder/

It can definitely impact reading ability.

You may find that his distractability relates to auditory processing as well (sounds or lack of sounds can make it hard for some kids to concentrate, for example). Things like listening to certain types of music or wearing noise-cancelling headphones can help.

Kids with CAPD can sometimes appear to have ADD-inattentive type, but it’s also possible for a child to have both, so if focus/concentration issues interrupt school a lot, I would look into that as well. Enjoy the doodles though. My daughter doodled all over her math in elementary school! No more doodles now!

As far as the writing goes–I wouldn’t give up having him practice daily, but I would allow him to do more of his work orally. Think about the focus of the assignment (is it to work on writing? or is it to show what he has learned in science or history etc…?) I did lots of scribing for my kids (they spoke, I wrote what they said) when they were doing longer projects, until they were ready for more writing. Sometimes I had them recopy their work in their own writing as their writing assignment for a couple of days. That way they could focus just on writing, and not on putting thoughts together, grammar, syntax, etc… Think of ways to break some writing tasks into more incremental steps.

Make small goals and slowly build up to more writing. Start with where he is–what can he do without too much struggle? Maybe it’s write 1-2 sentences, and you want to work him up to a paragraph. Maybe it’s less. Assess and then give a goal to work towards. Beyond that each day, let him work orally.

My daughter (now 16) started doing rough drafts orally a year or two ago–she uses the email on her Kindle Fire, which has a microphone, and has even learned how to tell it to add punctuation and paragraph breaks etc… Then she’ll email it to herself and polish it on the computer later. I find she writes a lot more this way. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a program you can buy to do this as well.

Whenever I see a kid hating school, I try to find something he or she wants to learn about. What’s your son interested in? Let him have one subject a day that is high interest as an elective, that he can just have fun exploring, without a lot of requirements (like writing). Find some place that he shines, whether it’s something hands on (art, baking, music, building models, legos…), being kind to others (holding open doors, serving others), an area of science or history he’d like to learn about, etc…

I hope this gives you some things to look into! Merry :-)

Kristin

says:

Oh, man, this is SO helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply so thoroughly! I will definitely do some research based on this, and will begin implementing some of these suggestions. Thank you!

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Kristin! Feel free to email any time if you have additional questions (support@allaboutlearningpress.com). We’re glad to help.

Kristin

says:

Thank you! : )

Gina

says:

Hi so pleased I found your article. My 8 yr old hates writing. He can not form letters yet or even hold a pencil well. He gets so frustrated when I try to get him to form numbers or letters. He has slight autism but not officially diagnosed .He was diagnosed with hypermobility. He knows all his letters and can read some words but seemingly by memory not by phonetically sounding them out. Again he gets very frustrated especially if he gets things wrong. Does this sound like dysgrahia.

Gina

Gina,
This does sound like dysgraphia, with possibly some dyslexia too (the two often go hand-in-hand). Since he cannot even hold a pencil well, I would make increasing his fine motor skills and strengths the first focus. Spend time daily doing things like playing with play dough, cutting and pasting, using tools like a screw driver, coloring and painting, using tweezers, and more. A google search of “fine motor activities” will give you lots of ideas.

However, the fact that he knows letters but is unable to sound a word out makes me wonder about his phonological awareness abilities. This is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds in language. Take a look at the phonological awareness portion of this checklist and see how he does. http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/is-your-child-ready-to-learn-to-read If a child struggles to manipulate the sounds in words orally, it is even harder for them to do it from print.

Let us know how we can help you further. We are available at support@allaboutlearningpress.com and at 715-477-1976.

Debbie

says:

This is great, understandable information. Thank you! I have six children with Aspergers and I suspect our 19 year had/has issues with this. We have a natural learning approach to home education which I am grateful for, and I am currently working out if our 9 year old has any ‘co-morbid’ conditions. Your article has definitely helped.

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear that this information was helpful for you, Debbie. Best wishes as you navigate this time with your children.

Julie Summerfield

says:

I have 4 children, 3 of which are boys. Each boy has a different form of dyslexia. I have one that has more the visual processing form, one that has more auditory/memory issues, and one that has more of the dysgraphia side of it. Sometimes I wonder why God gave me 3 dyslexic sons….let alone with all different forms of it. I am thinking he might want me to work with dyslexic kids when my kids are grown so he gave me one of each of the major categories to help me gain skill with each style of learner. Anyway, my son with dysgraphia seems to have nice handwriting and doesn’t struggle too bad with forming his letters properly, BUT he just cannot get his thoughts onto paper…..at first I thought he was being stubborn and making it hard! Then I realized if I offered to write it for him, he’d rattle off a fun story or idea for me to write down. Then I also noticed that I could set up a video camera and he’d come up with some creative and funny story orally. It is just the writing aspect that he can’t seem to do, he CAN do spelling words, and fill in the blanks (but he really does hate to have to write for the most part), but if he has to creatively think and get it on paper too….forget about it. It has been so frustrating to me, I wonder how he will ever write a paper for high school one day let alone college etc. I could use some suggestions on how to build things up from this point. He is in the 5th grade now.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Julie,

I’m sure you would be an asset and encouragement if you do decide to help dyslexic kids when your children are grown. I ask similar questions with regard to my husband’s disability–maybe it keeps me putting my trust in God!

My oldest also struggled greatly with getting his thoughts on paper, and in 5th grade, I still did a lot of scribing for him. You really can help him though (my oldest is now a senior in high school and although writing is still challenging, it’s no longer overwhelming–he’ll be going to college in the fall and definitely writes papers now!)

Start with small goals. I saw in your other post that you had just ordered AAR 1–I don’t know if that was for this son or one of your others. If it was for this son, work on reading first. Once he completes AAR 1, you can add in spelling. (If it was for another son, and this son is already reading, you could start spelling any time).

AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing that’s very helpful for reluctant writers. It starts with just words and short phrases in Level 1, bumps up to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, and progresses to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. This way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments. Dictation and the Writing Station both serve as an important bridge between spelling words in the context of lists (where the patterns are similar), and more “real world” writing. By the end of Level 3, students have mastered about 1000 words from the regular and reinforcement lists, and they have developed stamina and some beginning editing skills that will help them in outside writing.

I found that writing started becoming easier for my oldest after Level 3. It’s a good time to introduce a more formal writing program. I tried several, but the one that worked best for my son is Essentials in Writing by Matthew Stephens. The author describes it as a Math-U-See approach to writing. In the elementary levels, this program incorporates grammar with writing. The lessons are presented in short video segments of 3 to 5 minutes and then the student works on the concept that was taught. This is a multi-sensory and incremental program that is very easy to use. Anyway, that’s one you could check out.

Programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking can be helpful for kids who have dysgraphia. My youngest found out that her Kindle Fire can work similarly–she can dictate a whole paper into the email and send it to our computer! Sometimes it makes mistakes with words, so it does need to be edited, but it really seems to help her get her thoughts down more quickly. I haven’t gotten my oldest to try that yet though!

Anyway, there is definitely hope. Hang in there!

Sandee

says:

I love how you describe how the different levels of writing progress thru the AAS levels in your response above.

We are using AAS2 but DD is not currently able to do all the writing (I suspect dysgraphia, but she reads at a 12th grade level, at age 6, talks about asynchronous!) so I have her spell the words with the tiles, trace them on a worksheet I create and have her spell them a third time on the iPad using the app Word Wizard.

As her hand writing improves through the years and possibly with therapy, I’m trying to envision how to incorporate the sentence writing and dictation in the upper levels of AAS. Can you tell me how level 3 and up handle this, will I need to make adjustments that aren’t included in the manual?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Sandee,

Wow, your 6 year-old is doing great. Is this her K or first grade year? Many first-graders are working through AAR 1 and would just be starting spelling with AAS level 1. So, while she may not be super-advanced in spelling the way she is in reading, she’s still ahead a bit here.

It doesn’t surprise me at all to hear the writing is too much for her. Some younger students are still working on basic handwriting formation. So…it may or may not actually relate to possible dysgraphia.

I think I would slow things down and spread those dictations out. Have her do some writing each day, and gradually increase her stamina. For example, if she can write one word easily now, gradually work her up to two words. If she can write two phrases, gradually work her up to three. In other words–look at what she can do now, and set doable goals for her. You can do a mix of oral spelling and handwriting, but don’t skip the handwriting. Remember that the overall goal is to help her become fluent in spelling in writing. When she is thinking about a note to write to someone, or a story, or a school assignment, you don’t want her thoughts interrupted with worries about how to spell a word. You want to develop automaticity in her written spelling so that aspect will not interrupt her train of thought as she writes. With that in mind, the dictations serve two important purposes:

One, they allow a student to practice new words as well as review previously-learned words.
Two, they allow the student to build up stamina in writing, and serve as a bridge to more independent writing later on.

For a young student like this, I would keep spelling lessons short (15-20 minutes is plenty for her age), and spread those dictations out over as many days as she needs. If she can only do one per day, that’s fine.

I would also incorporate some alternate methods–for example, maybe she does one dictation in writing, and one she might like to write with her finger in shaving cream. This blog post has other kinesthetic and tactile ideas you could try with her: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/kinesthetic-learning/

I probably would not focus a lot on tracing. That can be a good scaffolding step when first teaching letter formation, but doesn’t help a lot with fluent writing. If the student doesn’t know how to form a letter (or if they are trying to be “perfect,”), then they are always having to stop and look at the letter they are tracing–so they aren’t writing a letter with smooth strokes. If the student does know how to form the letters, tracing spelling words this way may keep the student from paying attention to the process AAS is encouraging–listen to the sounds and write what you hear.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. You can respond here, or feel free to email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

Becki

says:

Although we haven’t pursued an official diagnosis, our 8 year old son has all the characteristics. The best thing we ever did was to back off writing for a while. We also did cursive early. He still struggles, but it’s getting easier. He loves his AAR and we will be starting AAS soon. Things are clicking at his time frame, and I am so thankful that spelling, reading, and writing no longer involve tears!

Jeanelle

says:

wondering if there is a connection between dysgraphia and dyslexia?

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Jeanelle,

There definitely can be. Many children who have dyslexia also have other learning struggles such as dysgraphia. Certainly a child can have just one or the other, but they do often seem to go together. Here’s a fact sheet about dysgraphia from the International Dyslexia Association: http://eida.org/understanding-dysgraphia/

Tracy

says:

I homeschool my son. He has Dysgraphia which goes along with his Dyspraxia. (Exectutive functioning is affected). Also known as Developmental Coordination Disorder. It’s a slow process to get him to write, but he is making a little progress. One thing we’ve found that helps is the Writing Claw. He loves using it, and he doesn”t have to think about how to hold the pencil. Learning keyboarding is very important, too. Thanks for writing about this!

John Massey

says:

What a wonderful site. So glad I stumbled upon your blog. My child is in the forth grade and has long struggled with writing, but his reading has been off the charts. I have often wondered if he is left-handed and and trying to learn to do things right-handed. But he was also born early, and this article makes me curious as to possible other causes. Thank you for this information.

Sharon Fry

says:

My 9 yr old is dyslexic but I’ve also often wondered about dysgraphia. There is so much useful information here for me to use. Thank you, thank you. I’ve never used your material but I’m seriously considering it now.

Rhian Landowski

says:

Thankful for this post. Thought we may be dealing with dysgraphia, but I guess not!

scathapennicat

says:

very interesting read, thx.

Olivia Hansen

says:

This is incredibly helpful! I have a daughter that is an amazing reader, but when it comes to writing we hit a brick wall. Even trying to express her thoughts verbally are extremely difficult. She is very smart, but cannot sequence or organize her thoughts well at all. She is currently seeing a SLP for this problem, but knowing there are programs that can help at home makes a big difference. Thank you for writing this!

You’re so welcome, Olivia! Feel free to get in touch with our customer support if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to help!

Sharlene

says:

This program has helped my dysgraphic son so much – thank you!

Laura Norris

says:

My 10 year old son has dysgraphia and trouble with spelling. We are just starting the AAS program and I am hopeful that this will improve his spelling. We have started with level 1 and are reviewing the phonograms in step 1. He did quite well with the constants, but struggled a bit with the vowels when they have more than two sounds. I have put those in the phonograms to review section. My question is now do we move onto step 2 and keep reviewing those phonograms he hasn’t mastered, or keep working in step 1 until he has mastered them? He has a hard time with memorizing things, so I am afraid it will be a while before he has them all mastered.
Thank you for your help! I am excited to see how he does with the AAS program.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Laura,

Yes, you can keep going with the lessons. As long as he knows the consonants and at least the first sound for every vowel, he’ll be able to do the first half to 2/3 of Level 1, and you can keep working on the other sounds so that when he needs them, he’ll know them.

Generally it takes kids a bit of time to remember the vowels. I found it helped to work on just one or two at a time because of the multiple sounds, and to quickly review the card(s) at the beginning and ending of each lesson time: say the sounds, have him repeat. That exposure at the beginning and end of each lesson can speed up the time they remember them.

I found that Y and I went together pretty well because they have 3 sounds in common.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Pam

says:

Thank you for your articles and great ideas. I am excited to share this resource with teachers at my school.

Sarah C.

says:

Such great information!! Thanks Shelly B. for sharing your story as well with your son.

Pam

says:

Thank you for the helpful information you have posted!

My son was diagnosed with apraxia of speech at age 2, then participated in early intervention until pre-school at age 3 when he entered our local elementary school’s special needs classroom for the next 2 years. In kindergarten he was mainstreamed in a regular classroom, taken out twice a week for speech therapy. For 1st and 2nd grades, he was in a regular classroom without any speech, but had an extremely difficult time with phonics and spelling. When I questioned his teachers as to why seemingly simple words (was, this, etc.) eluded him, they just commented that sometimes it takes a little longer for things to “click.” I began homeschooling him in 3rd grade and noticed that when I had him read aloud, words that he stumbled on at the beginning of a selection, continued to be a problem for him throughout his reading. It was as if the word “disappeared” from his memory!

Fast forward six years to today: he is a 14 year old who excels at robotics (his First Lego League team just won first in the state for robot innovation and strategy due largely to his input and ability to think “outside the box.”), but struggles with anything language-based. He is studying American Literature with accompanying writing assignments that are just “killing” him, and I am at a loss as to what to do next. He types almost everything for his other subjects as well, but the typing is painfully slow. Spelling still eludes him (words that his 3rd grade sister can spell without batting an eye!). His writing struggles have led some to diagnose him with dysgraphia, a disorder that seems to “fit” him and his struggles.

Bottomline: I am extremely nervous as I think about him taking the PSAT or SAT or ACT in the next year or two. How in the world do I help this bright young man prepare for college? Anything you or your readers can suggest would be so appreciated!!! Thank you for your consideration!!!

Pam,
First, I must say congratulations on the FLL Robot Strategy& Innovation Award! That’s huge. I coached FLL this year and all my boys were involved (two on the team, one helping me coach), so I know what is involved. I hope your son seriously considers finding a FRC team to participate with next year. F.I.R.S.T. is an amazing organization.

In the short term, consider allowing your son to dictate his writing for American Literature. You can type for him or you could invest in a speech to text software such as Dragon software. Also, some electronics like tablets and smartphones have speech to text capabilities. He will still need to edit, punctuate, and otherwise format his writing assignments, but it’ll help get the words on the screen.

For more long term, I recommend starting All About Spelling with him at Level 1. For children who have language difficulties of any sort, phonological awareness is the key to progressing in spelling. This article describes the importance of phonological awareness in children with apraxia and might be helpful for you.

Here are some ways that All About Spelling can help kids with learning disabilities:

– AAS is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids who struggle with memory issues, because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. The kinesthetic approach can be very helpful to a student who has expressive language struggles.

– AAS uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Spelling letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAS is scripted, so you can concentrate on your student. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAS has built-in review in every lesson. People with learning disabilities generally need lots of review in order to retain spelling concepts. After a concept has been taught, don’t assume that the student knows it. Quickly revisit that concept again in the next lesson, and add in as much additional review as needed. With AAS, your child will have a Spelling Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your son needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that he already knows. Customized review is important because you want every minute of your lesson to count.

– AAS is logical and incremental. AAS provides the structure, organization and clear guidance that kids who struggle need in order to learn.

-AAS includes dictation that starts out very short and gradually gets longer. This way he’ll experience success with writing short things and gradually build up his abilities instead of approaching writing from the other angle where he has to come up with the thoughts and correct spellings on his own, and the task seems impossible. Gradually his skills and stamina will be built up, and then in level 3, an exercise called the writing station is included. With the writing station, students are given a short list of words and can create their own sentences (using all the words in one or several sentences–it’s up to them). Students who struggle with writing often find it starts to get easier after Level 3, and some people even choose to hold off on a formal writing program until that point.

Here is an article that you’ll find helpful, Using All About Spelling with Older Students.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Also, know that we provide lifetime support for all of our programs–you are free to call or email any time. We are glad to help.

Robin E.
Customer Care Representative
All About Learning Press

Rochelle Morais

says:

Dictation is a great tool for kids with dysgraphia. In regards to standardized testing, there are accommodations that can be obtained such as a scribe or use of a computer. I have helped many students get these accommodations although it is not always an easy process. If you would like further information I would be happy to talk with you. Please email me at yourway2learn@gmail.com
Rochelle
Educational Consultant

My son,a 13 year old, always complains about the reason that the rules don’t work. So much complaining that he can’t move forward with learning and my other kids are wanting to finish and move on to the next lesson. He is really good at putting his thoughts on paper but the spelling and writing are very difficult. The way he puts sentences together is amazing. He is my best writer and story telling with detail and expression. We just started cursive writing and it has been slow. Homeschooling is always willing to try something new to get the results you want.

Thank you

Cindy Garfield

says:

I teach many dyslexic middle schoolers to write. We need to decide what is our goal? Do we want those amazing thoughts on paper or focus on penmanship, spelling, and grammar. I choose the amazing thoughts so will scribe for my students or have a parent write their thoughts as they flow. That system allows for the student to express his or her thoughts. Since cursive instruction is taking place, have the student then write their work in cursive once the spelling and mechanics are in place. A scribe should write double spaced so that the students can rewrite their thoughts just underneath. Keyboarding instruction should also be taking place. I begin with 5 minutes on a typing tutorial per day and then increase by 5 minutes each week. Writing is a process that will progress gradually. To avoid instilling a dislike for the process, scribing for a dysgraphic student prevents avoidance. I hope this was helpful.

Tracy

says:

This is a great and informative article! My 11-year-old son struggles with dysgraphia. The public school was no help with this. I started homeschooling him this fall and we are very slowly beginning to address it, with some of these strategies and others. He was actually diagnosed with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and dysgraphia is one of the symptoms. Some of the other symptoms that he has are: clumsiness, he was delayed in sitting up, crawling, and walking, problems with gross motor coordination (for example, jumping, hopping, or standing on one foot) problems with visual or fine motor coordination (for example, writing, using scissors, tying shoelaces, or tapping one finger to another). He still can’t successfully tie his shoes so they stay tied, but he is getting there! Patience is a key, and encouragement. His self-esteem was battered around a bit at school, but hopefully will improve. He’s experienced these “complications” of DCD: learning problems, Low self-esteem resulting from poor ability at sports and teasing by other children, Repeated injuries, Weight gain as a result of not wanting to participate in physical activities (such as sports). I had never heard of DCD until we had him tested for a learning disability. Sorry to go on, but I so appreciate it when dysgraphia is acknowledged as a LD and not laziness! Thank you again for this article.

Tracy

says:

And I forgot to add — he is a very bright and smart kid! He reads at a 7th grade level and is at his grade level with math. He’s a sweet kiddo and loves to talk about anything and everything!

Melinda

says:

My 5 year old was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech at the age of two. Speech has been mostly resolved, but I suspect that he also has dysgraphia, which is not uncommon with kids that have apraxia. Thank you for this article, it has given me some ideas on how to approach handwriting with him.

Juliana

says:

My child (age 11) struggles with handwriting and organizing her thoughts & ideas into writing (getting to the point of anxiety)… but she excels in spelling (she read quite a bit, and I think that is where this comes from). Could this still be dysgraphia, or some other issue that I need to keep digging about?

Any resource you can point me toward would help.
Thank you!

Merry

says:

Hi Juliana,

It’s possible that she has dysgraphia, since she’s demonstrating some of the symptoms. Try some of the strategies listed above and see if they help.

As far as handwriting, if she struggles with letter formation (tends to make her letters different every time, doesn’t form them correctly etc…), then you might look at Handwriting Without Tears. This is a program that was developed by an Occupational Therapist, and the tips on forming letters can be very helpful.

For those writing assignments: I did scribing for my kids for years (they dictated, I wrote what they said). Sometimes I had them recopy it so they could see it in their own handwriting, and to continue working on stamina. This was a scaffolding type of approach, where I helped them at various stages so they could reach the goal, rather than leaving a struggling student with no support.

My daughter recently discovered that her Kindle Fire HDX can allow her to dictate her writing, in the email function. At first she just dictated and would end up with one long paragraph that had no punctuation or paragraphs, but that’s something that can be cleaned up later. Now she has learned to add in punctuation and paragraphing by saying “period” or “new paragraph.” She then emails it to herself on the computer where she can edit it or print it out, or she’ll email it to me so I can help with it.

Writing paragraphs or essays is a very complex activity. It requires the student to think about ideas, content, and creativity, while also considering audience and remembering grammar, syntax, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and neatness (or how to keyboard if they are typing) all at once. Some kids simply aren’t ready to put all of these various skills together until junior high. So…expect it to be messy and instead of trying to perfect the whole thing, find as many things to praise as possible and maybe just one thing she might improve.

Let’s say your goal ahead of time is for her to come up with a great hook. Let her know that, and talk about what makes a great hook. “I’m going to tell you about ice cream” isn’t very enticing, but starting with an interesting fact, a luscious description, or a question can draw the reader in.

So if she turns in an awful paragraph full of mistakes but it has an interesting hook–focus on how well she did the hook. You’ll have opportunities later to help her improve other parts. Think about helping her with her writing in little baby steps, as a process over several years.

A program that worked well for my kids is Essentials in Writing by Matthew Stephens. He does a nice job of breaking things down into incremental parts, and also models writing, the thought process, and what to do when you make a mistake. Some others that have been helpful for kids with dysgraphia include IEW, Writing Strands, and Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King. There may be others as well–those are just a few I’m familiar with.

Look for instruction that breaks things down into doable parts for your student, and something that you think will be easy for both of you to use (I say both because if it doesn’t seem to fit your teaching style, you’ll be less likely to be consistent with it).

I hope you find something that will work well for you and your daughter!

Jennifer

says:

I love reading these articles. They are so helpful in determining if and how my child is struggling. We love the AAR/AAS program for our four boys who all learn very differently.

Allison Haugan

says:

I just had my son diagnosed with dysgraphia, we have been using this program for a while and I have seen great help with him. Thanks for the encouragement and the tools to help my son.

Jennifer

says:

All About Spelling is exactly what my third son needed. He is in the fifth grade and we are finishing Level two. This is our third year, so we are taking it slow. While writing still doesn’t come easy for him, He is consistently spelling his words correctly. He is reading voluntarily and does better with spacing and letter formation when he uses cursive. He says he likes AAS because it teaches him why to spell not just what letters to use. I recommend AAS to anyone who is looking for a spelling curriculum. It literally made the difference in all of his other subjects. Thank you, Marie Rippel!

Merry

says:

That’s great, Jennifer! So glad to hear how AAS has helped your son!

Penny

says:

While my grandson hasn’t been diagnosed with dysgraphia, he does see an occupational therapist to assist him with handwriting and other grasp related needs. I hope the early intervention pays off. An easel is the thing that has encouraged him to write and draw. Before he was not interested. I think there is something about standing that makes it more comfortable. I am looking for a phonics program for him. He is showing all the signs of being ready to read. I like organization and structure mixed with fun. Does your program have those qualities?

Merry

says:

Hi Penny,

Yes it does! Play is important to learning for kids, and well-organized lessons are important for teachers as well as students. Here’s a bit more about our reading program:

AAR is multisensory. It approaches learning through sight, sound, and touch. This helps kids remember what they learn because they take in information in various ways and also interact with it in various ways. It includes research-based instruction in decoding skills, fluency, automaticity, comprehension, vocabulary and lots and lots of reading practice. Reading practice includes readers as well as games and activities.

Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching. The program is designed for you to move at your child’s pace, so you can go as quickly or as slowly as your child needs through each step.

Lessons are Incremental. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept. The lessons are scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Some children need lots of review in order to retain concepts, while others don’t need as much–so you are free to adjust this to your child’s need. Your grandson will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that he needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that he already knows.

Another benefit of the review is that you can practice with your grandson what to say–you can rehearse as many or as few times as your child needs to help her become fluent in reading the words. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids to gain fluency.

Here are the All About Reading samples and scope and sequence links for the various levels of the All About Reading program. You can see inside the Teacher’s manuals, which lay out the lessons, and then the readers and activity books that contain reading practice and other activities for the students: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-lesson-samples/

To get an idea of where your grandchild would start, here is a link to all of our placement tests for AAR: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/reading-placement/

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Merry :-)

Sarah

says:

Thanks for the article! This describes my son perfectly. All About Spelling has really helped him.

anne

says:

This sounds a lot like my son who is now in the 10th grade. I’m loved sing AAR with my daughter. Hopefully we will be able to purchase AAR level 2 and AAS very soon.

Angela Frye

says:

Thank you for post!

Pearlann

says:

Never heard of this before very interesting

I.H

says:

Thank you for the information.

Bette

says:

Wow! The Dysgraphia article nailed it! But I needed it years ago for a teeenage boy, and also for 1 or 2 younger.boys. I am looking for help with the Brain Integration Therapy of Diane Craft as well but can’t afford expensive books. Just reading your article pumps up the hope. I would hope to get the All About Spelling.

Yvonne

says:

Great info, thanks.

JenniferS

says:

I always just thought I had the stereotypical boy child who really, really disliked writing. While I still don’t believe he has any learning impediments like dyslexia or dysgraphia, I did benefit from understanding that his brain, even if functioning normally (for him) is waaaaaay different than mine. And it has given me a greater peace, and with that, more patience, to work him through the process. After 3+ years homeschooling, you’d think this would have been a lesson I would default to when things get rough. Why do we seem to forget these things though?

On a side note: we have had improved success with his writing (legibility and his desire to do the work) by moving him to cursive. I wish I had done it sooner.

And because I would be remiss for not mentioning it: We love our AAS lessons. :-)

Merry

says:

Hi Jennifer,

As a homeschool mom, I find there are many lessons I need to learn again and again to internalize them or to apply them to new situations–every year of teaching has something new as our kids grow!

I’m glad you enjoy your AAS lessons :-).

Karen

says:

I read the article on dysgraphia. Thank you for providing this information. My son is 11 and while I have never seen problems with learning to read, he definitely avoids writing any time he can and his writing isn’t very neat, but not terrible. Also, with any letter which involves a vertical line, like t, i, l, etc., he always writes it from the bottom up. Coincidentally, my 8 yo daughter does this and frequently writes letters and numbers backwards, although she has done a stellar job at reading. Please, can you tell me does it sound like either one may have dysgraphia?

Thank you again!

Merry

says:

Hi Karen,

To diagnose dysgraphia, you would really need to do an evaluation with an occupational therapist. With your oldest, it could be that he simply developed the wrong habit. Working to correct it could help make writing faster and easier for him.

For your daughter, reversals could be related to dysgraphia or a mild dyslexia (I say likely mild since she does well with reading). Sometimes dyslexia issues come out in spelling instead of reading. Again, though, one really woudn’t know for sure without doing an evaluation for one or both of these.

With regard to reversals, Marie has a wonderful article about reversals with tactile ideas and activities using large arm movements: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/how-to-solve-b-d-reversal-problems/

It can take quite awhile to undo these. Babies have to learn that objects are the same regardless of orientation–a car is a car whether it faces right, left, or is upside down. They spend 5 years or so solidifying this understanding. Words, letters, and numbers are the first thing they come across where directionality matters–and now they have to unlearn and relearn what they’ve always known. So, know that this doesn’t correct overnight, and expect to spend daily time on it for awhile. You don’t have to spend a lot of time (5 minutes a couple of times a day can accomplish a lot), but daily reinforcement will really help.

I hope this helps!

Karen

says:

Thank you Merry. It does help because after reading the article, there were only a few things that sounded like my son and daughter’s issues. Unlike the article on Auditory Processing Disorder, which hit me like a ton of bricks, it sounded like so much like my son. Thank you for the reversal links also. I’m very interested in reading about that.

Also, looking forward to using the AAS program.

tiffani

says:

This is our first year homeschooling and we have been using the all about reading program. It has been perfect for us, my kids are 8 and 9 and REALLY struggle to learn to read so we began at level one and I am so glad we did, we are sailing through it and both the children and myself are gaining confidence every day!

Erin

says:

As a previous homeschooling mom, I used this program with success! Now I’m in the classroom. This article was so helpful with a student who is struggling with writing!! Thanks!!

Janey Goude

says:

I’ve heard wonderful reviews about your program. I was blessed to receive the All About Spelling program but it doesn’t have the CD with it. Is it possible to purchase the CD separately?

Merry

says:

Hi Janey,

The CD-ROM was replaced by our Phonogram Sounds app: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/phonogram-sounds-app/.

The app is more flexible as it can be used on a computer, tablet, or phone, and also is easier to update. You can also use it online without downloading it by following the link above.

We do have CD-Roms available for sale on the web site if you need one. (Please note that they will not work with the latest Mac operating system.) http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/phonogram-cd-rom/

I hope this helps!

funmi Aluko

says:

funmi Aluko
this for me is the article of the moment. My son is in 6th grade. I live in Nigeria. How can I get these tools? I could not open the e mail. The response can be published please. I am waiting for your response. Thanks.

Merry

says:

Hi Funmi,

We are not currently able to ship to Nigeria, but you may be able to order All About Reading or All About Spelling through one of our distributors. See if Conquest Books in the UK can help: http://www.conquestbooks.co.uk/index.php. Or, check with Sonlight.com for spelling, or Rainbow Resource center for reading or spelling, as they both ship worldwide. I hope you can find a way to make it work!

LD

says:

We have found the multisensory approach for learning to spell very helpful with our oldest. She is excited that she can now begin to spell things on her own without having to ask for help.

melody knudson

says:

I have a struggling learner ad well.

Joan

says:

Always looking for ways to help my kids with spelling and writing.

Rebekah Bishop

says:

There is a book, by Dianne Craft, called “Brain Integration Therapy”, that has been a lifesaver for my son.
There are exercises that address several different neurological problems children can have, that affect academic skills. Dysgraphia is one of the easiest problems to remediate. It also has exercises for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, and eye tracking problems. My son struggles/struggled with all 3 of these. His eye tracking problems and dysgraphia have cleared up, thanks to this book! We are now about to start in on the CAPD exercises.
I can’t tell you the amount of tears that had been shed from us both over his struggles, out of shear frustration. All about Spelling is the best system I’ve used that is successfully getting his spelling up to speed, (we had tried 3 others over the years, with little improvements).
Children will often be misdiagnosed with ADD, and unless you know the child, it can appear to be such. Unfortunately, they won’t get the help they actually need if this happens.
I hope this information can help someone out there, to be able to avoid all the heartache we’ve been through.

heidi

says:

Thanks for mentioning a specific book to help parents understand children’s brain issues. We use AAS (and love it!) and yet struggle with handwriting.

Leah

says:

Thank you for this article and the great resources and ideas you mentioned! This is so encouraging!

Lynn

says:

I had several dysgraphic students when I taught high school International Baccalaureate English. One also had severe ADHD. This student was absolutely brilliant, especially in class discussion and oral commentaries on literature–but we had to tolerate him constantly hopping up and down out of his chair, tapping the table with his pencil, scribbling frantically on paper, etc. (He was 16 and 17 at the time.) I gave him Playdoh to mess with during class because it was quieter, and that helped some. When he could type his work, it was good (not perfect, but the insight in his ideas overcame the lapses in expression), but if he handwrote it, it was a disaster. We had him type as much as possible, and he took his IB written exams with a computer (everyone else handwrote them). He earned a very high score in IB higher level English–6 out of 7!!! I share this success story because I know how frustrating it can be to work through dysgraphia.

Lesa Dale

says:

With two out of three of my children being dysgraphic, this has been a real struggle. My oldest wasn’t diagnosed until she was in college. The school system where I live didn’t test for dyslexia or dysgraphia when she was in school here. When she went to live with her dad it was even worse, the small town school didn’t have anything to help her. She worked around it in high school, but it became a problem in college. Her first semester was almost a total loss. Her professors wanted her to write in class. She changed schools and a history professor heard her verbally answer a question that was on the test before the test started when another student asked about the subject. She wasn’t even able to get half the information on paper. He asked her about it and she told him that things didn’t always go from her head to her hand correctly. He sent her to the special ed department for testing.

After going through all that, I knew more about what to do when my youngest was having problems. I had him independently tested. He has both dyslexia and dysgraphia. It can be a FUN ride sometimes…

Maggie Graham

says:

Several of my kids have had this. I would like to try these products. I wonder if they will help.

Ellen

says:

While I don’t think either of my kids have dysgraphia, they both struggle with writing. The tips in this article and the comments are helpful. Thank you!

Here is another resource that called SnapType that anyone can use. It’s available on the app store for free and I’m hoping to help as many kids as I can by reaching out to OTs, teachers and parents.

Here is my story:

Steven* is a 5th grader that I met during my occupational therapy fieldwork this spring. He is diagnosed with dysgraphia however his mind is sharp, but his handwriting is so messy that he can’t even read his own writing. His OT tried countless ways to help him improve his penmanship but nothing seemed to work. The caring OT went so far as to scan his worksheets into a computer but that consumed too much time during class was quite a hassle. Even worse, Steven was very frustrated and getting left behind in class because he couldn’t complete the worksheets with the rest of his peers.

I thought that there had to be a better way to help Steven keep up with the other kids in his class. Then I had an idea, what if Steven could take a picture of his worksheet using an iPad and then type his answers directly on the screen? I searched all over the app store, but there was nothing that did what I wanted. Well, there were a few apps but they were designed for business people and were far too complex for a child to use.

So I sketched out my idea on a napkin and shared it with Steven’s OT. She loved the idea. So I put together a detailed mockup of the app and worked with a developer to build it. A few weeks and a few dollars later, I had a working app!

Steven’s OT and teacher are thrilled. However, the real joy comes from seeing Steven use the app. It’s effortless for him to take a picture of a worksheet and use the iPad keyboard to type in the answers. He’s no longer left behind in class and is now more confident than ever! While he continues to work on his penmanship, he’s now able to keep up with his peers.

*Name changed for privacy.

–About The Author–

Amberlynn Gifford is a 2nd year OT student at Springfield College in Massachusetts. When she’s not studying, which is rare, you can find her coaching gymnastics and working on all sorts of creative projects. She will graduate with her masters degree in January of 2016 and looks forward to working in pediatrics. Connect with Amberlynn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberlynngifford.

Cynthia L Campbell

says:

My child suffers from Dysgraphia and dyslexia. I first heard about dysgraphia from Susan Barton. When it was a light bulb that clicked on me. I started using All About Spelling When it came out because I thought it looked alot like Susan Barton and the Orton method. It helped my child tremendously. But I had not seen a post on all about spelling about dysgraphia. I am so happy to see a post on this topic and that your material helps with it. Always looking for ways to help my child. I just experience the help that All About Spelling did for my child.

Jennifer

says:

All of this applies to my now 12-year-old who was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in second grade. He specifically struggles with dyspraxia. His handwriting is still pretty bad but when he cares, he can make it good. We also had him evaluated by a neuropsychologist who said the reason he wrote his letters backward 50% of the time was a visual memory problem. The Dr. said he would outgrow it and 2 years later, the only thing he gets backward now is the “5”.

Becky

says:

Love these ideas. My son has so much anxiety when he has to write. Love the ideas of using a keyboard and orally voicing his thoughts.

Barbie

says:

All of Maria’s advice is spot on! The AAS program has enabled us to remove the writing obstacle from the process of spelling, especially during times when we are working hard at remediating other skills. Because my child struggles with multiple LDs, including dysgraphia, I have found we achieve better results by isolating skills.
If you suspect that your student has dysgraphia, I would also recommend an full vision assessment–– not merely a visual acuity test–– preferably by a Developmental Optometrist. My child easily passed all vision screenings, and we only discovered his severe visual system disorders when he was 10. He never described his difficulties, because he could not know that things looked so very different from his perspective. How he ever learned to read or write, however poorly, is a testament to his courage, determination, and compensation skills. Once my child’s vision was remediated, reading, writing, spelling & maths vastly improved because his brain could finally interpret visual input. Composition is still a major struggle, but with so many other frustrations alleviated, I have great hope that this skill will begin to emerge. I have found that disorders can be co-morbid, and that helping our special children is a process of the identification of difficulties, and sometimes the elimination thereof. For more information on vision, visit http://www.covd.org
Frequently, children who appear lazy or disinterested do so because seemingly simple tasks may be extraordinarily difficult to them.They are usually trying harder than we imagine, and we owe it to them to equip them with tools that will ease their burden. AAS, Hand Writing Without Tears, Keyboarding Without Tears, and Math-U-See have all proved sturdy scaffolding for us.

Merry

says:

Great post, Barbie! My oldest also had vision processing issues, and we found similar “sturdy scaffolding” (great expression!) with AAS, HWT, and MUS.

Amanda

says:

This makes sense for my son, other than he can spell very well. This is something I need to look into!

Angie

says:

Thank you for the wonderful information regarding dysgraphia! I need to look more closely at your products and decide where to start.

Merry

says:

Let us know if you need help with placement.

Kathryn

says:

People may find this page of help. It is to the Yale dyslexia site on assisted technologies.
.
http://dyslexia.yale.edu/Technology.html

Kassandra

says:

Any input? I have a 9 year old son who was diagnosed with dysgraphia. Wow, is it crazy, the things he puts on paper, compared to his normal vocabulary and the normal way he speaks! I am wondering how I would incorporate this curriculum with his school work. He has a large volume of homework already as a 4th grader, in addition to online requirements for math, Spanish, and keyboarding. Can this only be used if he homeschools? I do homeschool my 7th and 6th graders right now, so there is a definite possibility that this one will HS next year.

Kathryn

says:

My oldest son, although he now has very nice handwriting, still has some level of dysgraphia. He is in high school and takes his computer to school and types his notes while the teacher lectures. This really isn’t ideal, since studies show that handwriter-note takers do a better job of retaining things, but he can’t keep up if he uses his pen, so what can he do?
.
We used Handwriting without Tears as a penmanship curriculum and lots, and lots of practice. We use narrow line paper which forces the kids to write smaller, tighter letters. They started typing about age 11 I think. I also had two of my boys take piano while young. Now the oldest one takes guitar. I think this helps strengthen and loosen up the fingers, but I don’t know that for a fact.

Merry

says:

Hi Kassandra,

We do know a number of people who use All About Spelling (and/or All About Reading) for after-schooling, so it’s possible–but I do understand wanting to make sure your student isn’t overloaded. We recommend working for about 15-20 minutes per day on spelling, 4-5 days per week.

Keyboarding skills have made all the difference for my son!

Gale

says:

Great article…though I imagine at an early level it’s hard to tell whether it’s disgraphia, or just common problems all children have when starting to write.

sabrina

says:

What a great post! I think I’ve been guilty in judging my children in thinking that they were lazy but it’s so much more than that!

Stephanie Olmsted

says:

I am having a bit of issue with my daughter writing. She is only a kindergartner but still working on it.

Merry

says:

Very normal at her age. Have fun working with various tactile media, which reinforce skills but in an easier way than putting pencil to paper. (I remember being so anxious to just “get to writing” and wish I’d spent more time on activities like this with my kids): http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/tactile-surfaces-for-practicing-letter-formation/

Kelly

says:

We figured out about a year ago that my 8 yo dd struggles with dysgraphia. We couldn’t figure out why such a bright girl, who reads way above level, would complain every time she was asked to write more than one or two words! Now we know why. Spelling is a huge struggle. Letters are frequently reversed within words that she spells. We try to compensate by doing as much school work orally as we possibly can. AAS has been great as well, with all of the multi-sensory approaches. She loves to tiles and tokens. We usually skip the writing part. Also, check out Dianne Craft’s DVD, “Smart Kids Who Hate to Write,” lots of great ideas and exercises to help.

Michelle Y.

says:

I recently learned that two of my three boys struggle with dysgraphia and just purchased All About Spelling. I am looking forward to teaching them with your curriculum.

Liz

says:

Very intriguing. Will definitely be reading more about this!

Bette

says:

I wish I had known about this years ago! Some of the strategies we accidentally stumbled into, but not without much distress. Now I would like to review spelling with a teen boy and assist two or three others as soon as possible.

Alicia

says:

My daughter was complaining about handwriting just this morning. My son has never loved it. Thanks for the information on this topic.

MC

says:

I am still watching my son who is 5 now. Writing definitely seems to be difficult and not fun for him. I know it is early, so again, I am just watching to see if it continues to be an issue.

Londa

says:

Great article!

Wendy

says:

My daughter has almost completed AAS Level 1 and I am looking forward to her improving her attitude about writing. I think/thought that her hesitance about writing was due, in part, to her lack of spelling knowledge. However, she has been flying through Level 1, so it may also be part of a confidence issue.

Missy Staggers

says:

Great article. Very helpful. Thank you.

Judith Martinez

says:

My son is good at reading but he struggles with writing. He consistently forms some of his numbers backwards when doing his math and his handwriting is really bad. I’m not sure if there’s a problem or if it’s just something that will get better with time.

Merry

says:

Hi Judith,

Here’s an article about reversals that will have some helpful tips for you: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/how-to-solve-b-d-reversal-problems/

Let me know if you have additional questions.

Lynn

says:

Hello, I am excited to try AAR Level 1 Program with my 3 year old son. He has speech disorders I seek to counteract with early reading intervention. As we live at 95% poverty level, I believe a raffle is a wonderful opportunity to help families in need. ♥ Much Gratitude ☺ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23

Lisa

says:

This was a very interesting article explaining about dysgraphia. My friend’s son has it so I will be passing this information on to her and it gives me things to look out for in my own young children.

Amanda B

says:

I have a child with special needs and the AAR program has been wonderful! We just started about a month ago and already have seen progress!! We are able to go as slowly as we need to until she is able to complete each lesson which is great!! This article has some great tips & as always I really appreciate all of the information! Thank you!!

Kate Cameron

says:

I am so grateful for this program and the information you have shared here. My so. Really struggles when it comes to writing paragraphs, and even sometimes filling in worksheets. I never even considered letting him dictate to me. And we will most definitely be trying out paragraph writing on the laptop!

Dymphna Zaydon

says:

I feel blessed to have found AAR and AAS, after trying to implement a couple of other programs. I have not yet purchased AAR and AAS because I am trying to figure out where to start with my daughters. I think we need to start on Level 4 of AAR and Level 1 of AAS. This gift certificate would be very helpful financially. Blessings, Dymphna

Merry

says:

Hi Dymphna,

If you have any questions about placement, feel free to email me at support@allaboutlearningpress.com. I’d be glad to help. With reading, use the placement tests, but then also have them read the online sample stories for the previous level (so if it looks like they are ready for 4, have them read the level 3 stories to you). You want to make sure they can read them fluently and easily. If they are working to sound out words from earlier levels, you’ll want to take a look at the previous level.

For spelling, almost all students start with Level 1. You can fast-track through if they have memorized the words, but need to learn the rules and concepts. Here’s an article that explains why: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/faqs-for-all-about-spelling#older

And here’s an article that explains how to fast-track: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling-in-action-2/

Let me know if you have any questions! Merry :-)

Stefanie

says:

While neither of my girls struggle with dysgraphia, my youngest really hates to write. The only exception her spelling and dictation in AAS. That she loves. All of the different approaches used in the program really help her to learn without being pigeon-holed into one particular method. We love it!!!

(And she’s tickled to have made it onto your blog doing what she loves.)

Merry

says:

So cute! I’m glad she enjoys AAS! Some kids don’t enjoy writing at young ages–that can change as she grows. It’s hard to put all of the skills of grammar, spelling, handwriting, punctuation, capitalization, and syntax together at once, and also generate ideas, correct answers, and so on. Let her enjoy building up her skills for now. It will come together in time.

Nancy S.

says:

Though my 11 year old son has not been formally diagnosed, I believe, after much research, he has dyslexia and dysgraphia. Last year, we slowly worked through AAS 1 and are beginning AAS 2. Other than the writing that he does for that, I scribe almost everything for him. Even though we are at the start of this remediation journey, his improvement after Level 1 has been so inspiring!

Jenni Earleywine

says:

I have a child that struggles with writing. This article was very helpful to me. Thank you so much!

Rebecca

says:

Same here! We have struggled with my son’s hand writing for the past few years. I had no idea that there was an actual issue or that there was a name for it. He was in PS from K-2 where they used Handwriting Without Tears. It did not work for him. (He even saw an OT, but no one EVER mentioned dysgraphia). What he needed was the definitive boundaries of the old-fashioned 3-lined paper. He is now schooling at home and there has been improvement. I have received many of the tips above from veteran HS moms and it has helped. Now I know that he’s not being lazy or obstinate. Thank you so much for this article!!

Although I can’t say any of my children struggle with dysgraphia, this article can help me to understand and have compassion for those mothers/children in our homeschool group. I am so happy that there are so many resources out there for all kinds of learning disabilities and difficulties. We love AAS and are level 2 already this school year. My son really enjoys the short, quick lessons which build off of previous mastery!

Karen Sunderland

says:

All my children struggle with writing. We’ve used AAR and AAS as well as Handwriting without Tears. We manage but I don’t feel particularly successful with them. I need to really reread this and see what I can utilize with my older kiddos (17, 13 and 10).

Merry

says:

Karen, I sympathize, it’s hard when older kids struggle! A couple of things that have also helped my kids:

1, my daughter discovered that her Kindle Fire (which she saved up for!) has a microphone, and actually works pretty well for papers! She’ll go to the email function, dictate her paper, then email it to herself. Then she retrieves it on the computer, adds in punctuation and revises. She does still do some long-hand writing, but she adds and embellishes as she dictates it.

(As an interesting aside–think about how many things are written by dictation in the business and medical world–it’s not “cheating” to write that way! Though we do want to continue to build up our kids’ skills, especially looking ahead to college and other times they may need to write. But realizing how widely dictation is used can be freeing.)

2, Essentials in Writing by Matthew Stephens does a great job of breaking things down incrementally into doable parts, and helped my oldest get past some of the road blocks with writing. He works through sentences, paragraphs, and essays, and teaches in short 3-5 minute video blocks; then the student works on that one task for the day. I haven’t used levels 11 and 12, but when I spoke with him on the phone, he mentioned that the first two high school levels (9 and 10) would have more incremental instruction than the last two years–so if you do look at it for your 17 yo, you may want to consider 9 or 10 instead of 11 or 12.

Hang in there! Merry :-)

Cassie

says:

This was helpful. Thank you!

Nora

says:

Both of my sons have dysgraphia. In addition to using All About Spelling, we have also used Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to work on the writing skills. The other thing we’ve found that really helped is improving core trunk strength through horseback riding and other strengthening exercises.

Cindy Garfield

says:

Hi, I am an O-G Therapist/Tutor and greatly appreciate the excellent information shared regularly from this site. This was helpful information regarding dysgraphia. My greatest success has been with cursive instruction then practiced until mastered. Significant research has shown that more brain connections occur with cursive writing rather than printing or keyboarding. Did you mention cursive in this article? I didn’t notice if you did. Voice to text requires significant instruction and practice. Why not just teach cursive writing supplemented with keyboarding? I work with children individually and also many homeschool families. I often scribe for my students or parents scribe to quickly put thoughts onto paper. The student may then copy their thoughts in cursive or keyboard. My writing instruction is sequential so that small amounts of writing “stretch” into the completed paragraph or essay. Expanding an outline is much less intimidating than a larger work from the start. Keyboarding is essential and is taught concurrently. Again, thanks so much for all of your wonderful information. Cindy Garfield

Jaime

says:

Cindy,

I have a daughter who is severely dyslexic and has dysgraphia. I have found that she enjoys cursive writing much more than print. And while you can’t always read her print, her cursive is just about perfect!

Tomi Keating

says:

This sounds like my son but he is in public schools how do I go about having the school test or help with this?

Merry

says:

Hi Tomi,

I would start by talking with his teacher about your concerns.

You could also check to see if your health insurance would cover an occupational therapy evaluation.

a

says:

Tomi,

Definitely talk to your son’s teacher. You also have the right to request a comprehensive evaluation for special education eligibility from the school system (though it is usually better to have some conversations with school staff before making the formal request). To do that, you would write a letter to the department of special education requesting that he be evaluated, listing the specific academic concerns you have for him, including a possible learning disability in reading or written expression.

Maya

says:

Very helpful post. Thank you!

Sarah

says:

My son struggles with disgraphia. Just this school year, we have discovered Dianne Craft’s methods for helping him overcome. We have been compensating for his challenges for years, and he struggled SO much. I didn’t know that I could help him heal. I am overwhelmed with the results of the exercises we have been doing. We have been using right-brained teaching techniques to teach him everything, and I can’t believe how much easier it is for him. Once we have completed one year of these remediated exercises to help him heal, I plan to try AAS again because even AAS was too much for him. We talk at home about how each exercise we do chips away at that wall in his head, and he is discovering that he is SMART for the first time.

Anna D

says:

This is something I was wondering about with my 6yo boy. I think it has more to do with “wiggle” issues than dysgraphia because his reading and comprehension are top notch and even above his age level. He just doesn’t like to write. We are trying to incorporate him writing for FUN and that has been helping a bit. But I am glad I read this to keep in the back of my mind as I have 3 more following big brother!

Sarah

says:

I think that 6 might be a little early to tell, but I would certainly keep an eye on him if it were me. From personal experience, dysgraphia doesn’t have anything to do with reading and comprehension. My 8 year old reads above grade level, and has tested at a 9th grade science level. BUT he cannot even write his own name properly. We are so grateful to have found a way to help him! When he was six, I backed off asking him to write so that he wouldn’t get overly frustrated. I fed him books like candy and acted as his scribe so he had a voice when he had something to say. He told stories into the audio recorder and used the video camera on my phone liberally. Now, we have discovered a way to help him, and he is learning quickly without having to try to get his head around the emotional baggage he might have had if I had pushed him at 6. Keep on loving on your boy and following his cues! I hope he’s wiggly! :) Even with a gentle approach, dysgraphia is difficult to overcome.

Merry

says:

Great post, Sarah! I agree, 6 is young…not at all unusual for 6 yo boys to dislike writing!

joyce

says:

I love how this article explains Dysgraphia. Thank you! The pain I feel for my son is almost too much at times. His pain is tremendous. I just dont know what to do or how to help him more. He has almost completely shut down. He has been shouting “Im lazy and stupid” for the past year. He’s 13 and just diagnosed one year ago. The school always said “Specific Learning Disability”. We now know its Dysgraphia/Dyslexia/ADHD but the damage has already been done. The school is giving me the run-around. I feel hopeless, i just want to help my son and dont know how. Any suggestions will help, Thank you

Cindy Garfield

says:

Dysgraphia often mimics ADHD. Perhaps your son loses focus and begins to wiggle when tasks are too uncomfortable. You may find that cursive writing instruction with extensive practice in letter formation to small words to phrases will benefit him greatly. Be certain that he reads EVERYTHING that he writes in cursive. This is essential if he is to learn to read his cursive and that of others.

Merry

says:

Hi Joyce,

“Specific Learning Disability” is a general, umbrella type of term that is often used now for dyslexia and other learning struggles. (It doesn’t seem very “specific” to lump these all together though!).

Some possible courses of action:

1, the school should have an IEP for him that clearly addresses the issues. You may have to push for what he needs–and that can mean doing some leg-work and understanding what types of things will help him. For example, you mentioned dyslexia. If his reading and spelling are suffering, he should be doing Orton-Gillingham remediation to address dyslexia. Find out what specifically they are doing and how it’s designed to help.

2, consider outside tutoring with someone in your area who is reputed for having success with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or ADHD.

3, For the ADHD part, look for ways to accommodate (help him with organizational tools he can keep up with), consider natural supplements or diet changes (eliminate dyes and chemical additives as much as possible, include protein at breakfast as well as other meals, or consider a specialized diet like Feingold–though that’s certainly a bigger change), limit technology and make sure he’s getting time outside (exercise and time in nature is always important but especially for these kids), talk with his doctor about the pros and cons of medicine (they really can help significantly but it can take time to find the right one). As far as more natural ways of helping to address ADHD, the first 6 on this list are pretty universal to most lists I’ve seen: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/5774.html

4, Consider homeschooling. You may find that less stressful than wrestling with the school, especially if they don’t have a lot of funding for meeting special needs. You’ll also be able to provide one on one help for him that way. It can also be easier to build a positive environment and help him move past the negative self-talk.

Something that can be encouraging–google “famous people with dyslexia” or “famous people with ADHD,” and you’ll find some amazing names on those lists–people like Thomas Edison, Leonardo DaVinci (remember how he wrote backwards!), Frank Lloyd Wright–many very intelligent people have also struggled with these conditions. Help your son to see that he has giftings too, and not just areas of struggle. Maybe he’s awesome with legos, or is kind to others, or enjoys art or science…Help him see himself not just through the lens of what’s a struggle for him, but what he enjoys or can do well, or his deeper character traits that you want to encourage.

Hang in there! I know it’s a long road–but your son has a huge asset in you, a loving, caring mom. Keep encouraging him.

a

says:

Sorry it’s been such a tough road for your son.

Just so you know, schools don’t use the terms dyslexia and dysgraphia on much of their paperwork because the federal law on special education uses the category of specific learning disability, with additional references to the area of disability (reading, writing, mathematics).

Janet

says:

Thank you for the article. I have wondered for 5 years why my 10-year-old couldn’t write. The school ignored my concern, but after reading this and having removed her from school and brought her home this year, things are changing. Her reading is improving, her writing is improving, I don’t have her write in her workbooks, it is to small and confined. We have big lined beginning writing paper when she does need to write. For math we use a white board and write the problems large for her. Her math has improved drastically as well. For spelling I discovered that teaching to spell the words using the alphabet in sign language help her remember how to spell. I am taking her for some screening in the next couple of weeks and now have a clue what we may be looking at. Thanks again for the article.

Laura

says:

Thank you for this great information! We’ve been using AAR and AAS for almost a year now. It has been a gradual process with my dyslexic 7 year-old, but looking at where he was reading a year ago I am amazed as the miraculous progress he has made!

He struggles with handwriting as well (possibly dysgraphia?). We’ve done daily copywork for over a year now. With the copywork (only one sentence long) he doesn’t have to think about spelling, grammar, etc… He only worries about making his letters as nicely and correctly as possible. His handwriting has come so far since we’ve started daily copywork, and he doesn’t dread it like he used to.

In other subjects like science and history, I allow him to dictate his ideas to me then I record them on his paper so that he still has a record of what he is learning without having to struggle with the actual writing process.

Thank you for your wonderful programs and for the supportive community you provide.

KMarie

says:

Thank you for this interesting article. AAS and AAR are lifesavers for chidren struggling with dysgraphia and dyslexia.

Thanks for this information. We’ve been using AAS from the start and it actually masked some of my son’s struggles initial because using the letter tiles, he can spell quite well. It wasn’t until it became obvious the writing and reading were a struggle that we realized there were some learning disabilities. My son’s speech therapist just mentioned his writing today so I really appreciate having more information!

Abbie

says:

I have taught several students who have dysgraphia. One of the best helps for both of them was to use Dragon Naturally Speaking. Evernote sounds very similar. It significantly cut down the amount of time spent on homework every night. Having students take their tests orally was another wonderful idea for the classroom.

Tamber

says:

My daughter has always been frustrated with writing despite being a well-spoken, avid reader. She has progressed on her own timetable and is now moving beyond some of the frustrations is her early years. AAS helped tremendously in this process. She is a great speller and it was wonderful to have a spelling program that did not require her to write her spelling words repeatedly. She loves AAS and masters the lessons quickly and enthusiastically.

Jen

says:

I’m not sure if my 9 yr old son has this or not. He is very resistant to writing but he can write neatly when he tries. He is working through italics for handwriting but when he needs to write for other subjects he makes a huge deal of it, even one sentence. He is lefthanded and didn’t start writing “correctly” until he was about 7. (He would not hold a pencil correctly before then.) It seems like writing is so laborious for him that he just bogs down. We do a lot of his work orally and he does well with that.

renate braddy

says:

I’ve never heard of this, but it certainly describes my son!

karen

says:

Very interesting article and tips!

Nancy

says:

Hmm…interesting!

cynthia

says:

we use the reading program with our dyslexic son and also with our autistic one, it is a God send!! We can’t wait to start the spelling program, thanks for the info on dysgraphia (it looks like we are dealing with this too!), I want everyone to know the program works for typical learners as well Blessings, Cynthia Lilley

Audrea

says:

Love your products for my dysgraphic kids! We’re using All About Reading and All About Spelling and are so pleased!

Kathy Sothman

says:

My daughter has dysgraphia along with her dyslexia. I’ve found it is improving this year–5th grade–but it’s just something we are slowly working on, and giving lots of time. If it’s important, we work on neatness. If it’s not, I don’t stress her!

Heidi K

says:

Interesting stuff. My kids are too young to worry about this yet, but good to know.

Sarah

says:

terrific suggestions for dysgraphia. thanks for the great products for teaching at home!

Ari

says:

This is an interesting and helpful article. My daughter is showing early signs of something and I’ve wondered if it’s dysgraphia. We are already using AAR. I’ve held her off of AAS until she becomes a stronger reader.

Kimberly

says:

I’ve struggled with teaching a couple of my kids how to get their thoughts organized and written on paper. Do you have any suggestions?

It’s a definite challenge for many kids to get their thoughts from their brain to the paper. I’m checking out a program to use with the students I tutor. It’s from http://www.projectread.com/pages/Written-expression.cfm and is called Framing Your Thoughts. From their site:

“The Written Expression curriculum by Language Circle Enterprises focuses on the art of sentence and paragraph development, using multisensory activities and sequential instruction to develop the basic skills of writing.

Activities center on 8 graphic symbols that explain sentence structure in a concrete manner. These activities evolve sequentially from simple to complex sentence-building, and ultimately to paragraph composition.

The Framing Your Thoughts Sentence Structure program is a sequential and systematic method, designed to help students construct and design thoughtful and creative sentences.

The Framing Your Thoughts Applied Writing program transfers sentence structure to paragraph development.”

I’m anxious to see if it is as helpful as it sounds.

Another thing to remember is that in addition to getting their ideas down on paper, kids have to remember grammar, spelling, punctuation, sequence of events, word choice, letter formation, etc., etc. and that can be so challenging!

Starting with a graphic organizer to get their ideas down can help. Another alternative is to have them dictate to you, and you write down what they say. Then they copy from your dictation.

Merry

says:

Kimberly, I’ve had really good success with Essentials in Writing by Matthew Stephens for my kids. He teaches using short video segments (usually 3-5 minutes), where he models the writing process (including mistakes/changing your mind etc…) and focuses on one aspect at a time–and then the student works on just that aspect for the day. He breaks writing down into very doable parts–it seemed to unlock the door for my oldest. Writing isn’t easy, but he knows how to structure his work and now has a process that will work for him. (The course teaches outlining and also how to use graphic organizers, and the student can use the process that works well for them). So, that’s one that you could look into.

You may find it easiest to begin a writing program sometime after Level 3 of AAS. By the end of Level 3, students have mastered over 1000 words. AAS has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words.

In this way, students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments. So, that’s one to look into.

You may want to look for programs that are incremental or mastery-based, or programs that are specifically recommended for students with learning struggles and disabilities. Even if your child doesn’t have a diagnosed disability, children who struggle with spelling and writing often benefit from similar approaches. Some to consider:

IEW (incremental approach, author’s son had learning disabilities), Writing Skills by Diana Hanbury King (who has worked extensively with dyslexic students–I was going to try this one next if Essentials hadn’t worked for us), Writing Strands (author was dyslexic, also incremental approach), or Jensen’s Format Writing.

Hopefully this gives you some places to start looking. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you come across another program that uses a similar approach or that would be good for students with learning disabilities, please let us know.

Jo

says:

Our homeschooling grandson (13) is a very good speller and a constant reader, but anything that requires eye to hand application (writing, typing and working math problems) is VERY difficult. We have wondered how to prepare him for college classes. He is in the 9th now. What concessions do we allow and/or what is there that will help him that would be allowed in college?
Thanks,
Jo

Merry

says:

What the college will allow may depend on the school or individual professor. If you are looking for formal accommodations possibly, your grandson would need an official diagnosis (usually through a neuro-psych evaluation where they test IQ and do a battery of tests to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in learning). With my own kids, I look at where they are with skills and made goals for improvement year by year. For example, in 3rd grade, my son struggled with doing 2 short sentences of copywork. My goal for him was that he could do 4 sentences (a short paragraph) by the end of the year without complaining. We gradually worked to increase what he could do, praised his success, encouraged, had him identify what he did well (copying hard words, neatness, amount, etc…) and so on. It’s important for kids to also be able to see when they have improved and done something well.

13 is young for 9th grade! Most incoming 9th graders are 14. I know it’s a very touchy subject, but it may be worth considering having him do an additional year of high school if you can find a way to make the idea palatable for him.

High school goals might be to look at what he can write. For example, if he can do sentences and paragraphs but struggles with essays–build up his skills in the first two areas, and then show him how to break down an essay into doable steps. Partner with him to show him how to work on one segment of the essay at a time (first, get a good topic, then come up with 3 things about that topic he might like to talk about. Work on each of those 3 things one at a time–3 body paragraphs. Then work on an intro and conclusion). When my oldest was in 9th grade, I just wanted him to learn how to write some short essays–no word length restriction. (We used Matthew Stephens’ Essentials in Writing program–that worked well for us). In 10th grade, I wanted him to work on something just a bit longer, so I gave him a 2 page research paper to do. In 11th grade, I wanted to bump that up again, so I gave him a 1000 word minimum. We talked through how to expand the outline for that kind of essay–that each of those 3 subtopics could also be divided into 3 main points to expand what he has to say on those.

One year you might want to work on timed essays, such as might appear on essay tests–how to take 5 minutes or so to organize one’s thoughts on scratch paper, and then lay out your essay in the last 20 minutes.

Think through where he is now, and what he struggles with–and use that to decide what your next goal might be.

For math, I showed my allergic-to-showing-any-work son how he could earn partial credit for working problems correctly, even if he made a simple calculation error that caused a wrong answer. High school teachers often do this, and it can be a great way to get the student used to showing his thought process, makes mistakes easier to find for the student and teacher (you know whether there’s trouble with conceptual understanding or just a simple error), and also reduces mistakes. I would even say things like, “You earned partial credit here by showing your work, but I can’t give any credit on this other one where you didn’t show your work.” Just simple, matter-of-fact, but it gets the point across. It won’t make results perfect, but it can help!

Misty

says:

We were introduced to this site by friends in a homeschooling site. I’ve been trying to convince the school of my sons apparent dyslexia/dysgraphia issues only to be told he’s too young or to lazy. This article lays out EVERYTHING my8.5 yo non reader, non writer struggles with. He DESPERATELY wants to read so he can study science texts. This helps a lot

Elizabeth

says:

Thank you for this article! I’ve wondered why my daughter has such a aversion to writing. While it may not be a disability for her (or maybe it is), I will have to put some these ideas into practice.

grace chen

says:

Thanks for the info. As an early childhood educator, it‘s really helpful info. I‘ll share with my fellow coworkers.

Jennifer Turner

says:

My 9 year old hates to write. I try to break the writing process into manageable steps for him. I will orally ask him the information, then he uses Dragon speech to type it. Then I sometimes have him copy the typed page by hand to practice his handwriting.

Bethany Wright

says:

Lots of great ideas to try and ways to look at things! Thank you so much and I am excited to put into practice some of the ideas mentioned above!

Thank you. this was very helpful.

Diana

says:

Both of my boys have been diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s. I grew up with a brother with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia, so I recognized the signs when I saw them crop up in my boys: inability to articulately express themselves, confusing letters and numbers (including upper and lower case), pressing too hard on the paper, spacial lettering problems, inability to easily comprehend material (slower processing time and the need to have material readily available to reread), skipping lines or merging lines while reading, etc. We have chosen online school (K12), because we can stay at home and do work THEIR way. We have already implemented many of the suggested strategies above, and I am excited to practice some others that I had not considered. Thank you for your timely messages and your terrific products.

I’m keeping an eye on my grandson, because he is very reluctant to write and spell at school. We practice his spelling words with the All About Spelling tiles, which he prefers to writing them. I wish his spelling assignments at school followed a logical progression, but as I introduce AAS on the side, I hope he makes more sense of things.

Tara

says:

Thanks for sharing these!

Cristina

says:

Thanks for this article. I’m still wondering if what is happening in our writing is a behavior thing or really they are struggling. I might call you.

Elizabeth

says:

We use a special grip to help my daughter keep her thumb from going too far over. That helps and using the AAS tiles is good too b/c it gives her a break from writing while still spelling!

sara

says:

What do you use and where can I get three? Is it easy to help them understand grip?

Merry

says:

Hi Sara,

I hope Elizabeth comes back and sees your question. There are a LOT of different types of pencil grips. Here are some from the Rainbow Resource Center site, but you can find them in local stores (especially teacher stores), or on Amazon and other places. http://www.rainbowresource.com/searchspring.php?q=pencil+grip

Some can only be held one way, and it is easy to show them how to do that. Others are more basic. My oldest used to like the Ticonderoga first pencils because they are bigger around–bigger around is easier to grip and offers more neuro-feedback, which is also part of what grips help with. Now he uses mechanical pencils that have a bigger built-in grip. I like pens that are similar–a bigger around grip area, or a built-in 3-sided grip.

It can take some experimenting to see what works!

Karin

says:

My daughter knows how to hold her pencil but repeatedly goes back to holding “her way”. I think I will try the ideas like writing in the air or in sand.

Loreen G

says:

My child struggles with dysgraphia and your curriculum has been wonderful! We can go at our own pace & he is slowly improving. It is so awesome to have a program where he can experience success and feel like he is accomplishing something that is so difficult for him. Many thanks for your help!

Danielle

says:

Thank you for posting about this, it is really some great information!

Kristina

says:

We successfully used AAS level 1 with my son last year, and loved it. We are continuing with level 2 this year. I have heard great things about AAR, so I would like to give it a try. My son is a good reader. I hope it will be challenging for him.

Denese

says:

Thanks for being persistent. I am finally reading and seeing materials I think I need for my homeschooling to be more efficient.

Pam

says:

I have several children with dysgraphia. Many times children with dysgraphia also have dyslexia and dyscalculia. A couple of my children have all three. Over the years (my oldest is 21) I have tried multiple things in attempt to help them learn to read, write and do math better, but recently have found one technique to conquer the writing glitch. It is a figure 8 turned on its side and the child uses a chunky crayon and starts in the middle and follows around the figure 8 three times and then draws the lowercase a in the appropriate circle of the figure 8. Then, the child does the three rotations around the figure 8 again and then does the letter b in the appropriate circle. I learned this technique from Dianne Craft. She has a dvd to watch to learn about the method and more about the learning glitch and how to help your child. You also can get a chart from her that shows the figure 8 and the placement of the letters, so you can have the chart with you when the child is learning to do the exercise. My daughter was severely dysgraphic (she cried when having to write anything) and after 6 months of doing this exercise she was writing fluently with no complaints! She now loves to write stories and journal. I found that the figure 8 exercise along with good orton gillingham teaching for reading and spelling, like AAR and AAS was extremely helpful in conquering the reading and writing disability. For some children that have more issues preventing learning, these are just a couple of the many tools that are needed to help that child, but for others that purely struggle with reading, spelling and writing, these are the best techniques I have found.

Merry

says:

Great post, the Writing 8 was helpful for one of my kids too.

angie

says:

My son had terrible trouble with remembering the formation of letters. Writing on a whiteboard while blindfolded helped him a great deal. This helps to bypass some of the brain that process that is done through the orthographic loop and uses the physical memory of the movement instead. We went letter by letter and spent time on the letters that seemed to never click for him. He rarely has trouble anymore, but it was awful when I didn’t understand his special need,and thought that practice made perfect. Some kids are also helped using a large binder ( on its side) as a support under paper.

Merry

says:

Very interesting!

sara

says:

I am truly impressed with your program and I am proud to say my son is making great strides on his spelling tests. This is in part to Orton Gillingham and All About Reading and AAS! Wonderful and I am grateful!
Sara

Kara

says:

Helpful information. I have two children that struggle with their handwriting. I am going try a these suggestions as well as take a look at Handwriting Without Tears.

sara

says:

Another part of dyslexia for my son is written work and spelling tests! With your all about reading and spelling lessons my son is making “A’s.” I am so glad to have the level one program and will continue in my faith of the programs!

thank you so much Marie!

Sara

Rochelle Morais

says:

Many of my students find it useful to use dictation software and to help with note taking they use audio note

Yahiliz

says:

My son is seven and doesn’t love writing but can do a nice job at copy work when he is concentrating. He’s still young so I am watching closely to see if this is something that I need to worry about. Thanks for all the information and tips!

kristi thomas

says:

This is a concern of mine. My son has struggled with reading only just now beginning to get it at almost 8.5 years old. He has started OT to help with his handwriting and we do a large portion of his work orally. Thanks for more suggestions and help.

K

says:

Helpful & easy information! Thank you!

Kathryn

says:

I have two dyslexic children (and one non-dyslexic). We used Handwriting without Tears style for the past several years. And practiced. Lots of practice. My two dyslexic boys have penmanship much better than their non-dyslexic peers (did I mention the practice??). Nevertheless, I do not think either boys (nor my non-dyslexic son) have the stamina for writing that I used to have for handwriting. And they will occasionally get stuck on a letter and trace over it again and again in stead of going onto the next letter or even finishing the word. I actually had to tell my oldest boy to stop doing his homework toward the end of the academic year last year because his hand was starting to hurt.

Laura L

says:

My ten-year-old son has dysgraphia and has been in OT for years. I can’t wait to look more into this program. Thank you!

Heather S

says:

I just want to pass along that some insurance companies will pay for occupational therapy with a primary care provider referral. The PCM would refer child to OT for testing, then if needed, treatment plan. This allows the parents to be in control without assistance from public schools or other public sources.

Ann

says:

I appreciate all the information and tips you share with us! It feels so good to have help in a subject that is bringing struggle sometimes.

Katie

says:

Thank you so much for this article. I will try some of these tips.

ann mcelhaney

says:

Initially we tried many things. . more practice forming letters, more writing, less writing. . . 1st thru 6th grade. By 7th grade it was essential that my 14 year old not have to take notes for new learning and needed lots of extra time or reduced writing assignments. . .both hard to acquire in a private school setting. Officially diagnosed with ADHD and memory processing and auditory issues as well as dysgraphia at age 7, we settled for whatever his writing looked like and typed papers at home. Always an ‘A’ student with good memory skills, and early acquisition of reading at a high level, writing the math was always a problem until he started using graph paper with the problems boxed into a pre-designed set of spaces. Writing in general was all over the place: slanting down the page regardless of guide lines, size changes even in the middle of a word and most often illegible. The things I think were most effective: Practice memory techniques, play piano(now in 7th year). He’s 14 now. Still he has awful positioning when he writes, but the writing is clear and well formed though still slower than regular and the intense pressure on the writing instrument has altered somewhat but remains heavy. Looking forward to continued improvement.

Tyra

says:

My 8-year-old daughter has a very difficult time with spelling. She also still writes some letters backwards. I don’t really know how to help it click!! We correct and correct, but spelling is super difficult for her.

Phyllis

says:

Thanks for the helpful suggestions. My son is 10, and this has always been a struggle. We use AAS (and AAR for my other son) and love them!

Carrie

says:

We are on lesson 11 of AAR level 1 and I am loving it! My son is almost 8 and we have come to realize he is very dyslexic. And, he is also dysgraphic. After ALOT of research AAR was one of the most recommended reading programs. It had been something that I had been thinking about getting for about a year. A gift certificate would be such a blessing to us!

Sandra

says:

The tiles make it so much more manageable than writing everything.

Linda

says:

Thanks for the information. I wonder if my oldest son had a touch of dysgraphia. He would cry and break pencils, so I let him answer orally for a long time.

Keri

says:

This is my 9 year old son! I’ve been slowly making changes to how I teach, including letting him use notebook paper turned sideways to keep track of numbers while doing math problems, and using a white board instead of paper/pencil for spelling. He never picks up a book to read it on his own (gets frustrated when the fun library books do not have the controlled text that gives him success at reading), so we make time to still read those fun books together. Then I am there to help with all the “exception to the rule” words. AAS & AAR have helped so much, and I love that we can speed up and slow down as his needs dictate.

Mindy Sims

says:

Thank you so much for all the information!

Patricia

says:

Thank you so much! We have been struggling with my son’s writing for some time now. He is in the 6th grade. My question is what
are some good writing exercises? And does he have to write and hold his pen just like the booksong say or should I just let him hold and write the way that is comfortable for him? Again thank you

Merry

says:

Hi Patricia,

As someone else mentioned, the writing 8 exercise (which Dianne Craft and some others promote) can be helpful. Exercises that help with core strength and also overall strength are important. We tend to think of writing as fine-motor, but actually, arm, shoulder, and trunk strength are all integral, and lots of time for running, climbing, playing etc… is important for kids who struggle with handwriting.

I found that Handwriting Without Tears helped my kids as well–the method of forming the letters is clearly taught. With a 6th grader, if he’s forming some of his letters incorrectly, it may take longer to retrain. (I worked with a 4th grader, and it took consistent daily practice for a year to *mostly* retrain her grip–so don’t necessarily expect quick results for an older student. But let him know the end result is to make writing easier for him, and maybe you can get him to work with you.) Pencil hold and sitting position do have a big impact on how quickly the body tires, so I would take a look at that. You may find that a pencil grip helps him with having a better grip. If he’s far off and really struggles with it, you may even want to do an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist to help you decide how to proceed.

Lyssandra Silver

says:

I adopted a child with Dysgraphia. Honestly, I have the first two levels of “All about Spelling” program. My child is 15 years old. He has always struggled. I homeschool him and I don’t know if there are any services in Public School for him. I need him to have help or he will continue to fall behind. Please let me know what things I can do with the school board also if you know what sort of classes/help is available for this. Thank you.

Merry

says:

Hi Lyssandra,

I’m sorry your child is struggling. Have you talked with any of his teachers about your concerns? I would start there, as they’ll be able to tell you what resources are available in your school–this can vary so much from school to school, but they should be able to suggest things for you. Sometimes the testing process through a school can be long (they wait until so many weeks into school, then it takes time to schedule–for some schools it seems to take all year just to diagnose issues). I would push to see when testing could be done. If their timeline is one that takes a long time, you may want to look into outside testing.

Since you have All About Spelling 1 and 2, I would start those with him if you haven’t already, assuming that he struggles with spelling. You may have to be willing to adjust the first level or two to his needs because the words are very easy to start. Marie encourages parents and teachers to “fast track” if the student knows how to spell most of the words but does not understand the underlying basic spelling concepts. In this case, very quickly skim the parts that he already knows and slow down on the parts that he needs to learn. Pull out several words as examples. Make sure he understands the concept being taught, and then move on. Here is an example of how you might fast track: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/using-all-about-spelling-with-older-students/

Deanna

says:

Good post! If I make my son write all the spelling words, it would take over a hour each day. But let him spell them out loud? He gets it instantly! Thanks for the info!

Merry

says:

Hi Deanna,

For a student like this, work on writing gradually. You might start with just one or two words of the 10 written and the rest oral or with tiles (or using tactile methods to re-enforce letter formation), and gradually work up to more words. You also don’t have to do all of the words in one day. Work for about 20 minutes and stop–you can pick up there again the next day. The ultimate goal is for kids to be able to write fluently (or, for a student who may be severely dysgraphic, you might make your goal for him to be able to type words fluently). We don’t want spelling to hold students back from communicating in writing. Adapt as needed for a child’s special needs though.

Jaime

says:

My son was diagnosed with dysgraphia last year (he was in 4th grade). Before we even received the diagnosis, I had started looking for ways to help out with his spelling. I needed to find something that I could do with him at home, required little planning on my part, and was affordable. I purchased your All About Spelling curriculum – and it has been very helpful! I would highly recommend it!

SarahW

says:

I have wondered if this is an issue with my daughter. Hoping to have some testing done to know how to move forward.
Thanks for the info!!

Gretchen

says:

My son is 6 and already struggling with disgraphia. This article had been very helpful. Thank you.

JF

says:

Good suggestions. AAS has been a lifesaver in negotiating dyslexia and dysgraphia.

CW

says:

Thanks for the good suggestions. It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones facing this issue.

Nina Hoppe

says:

My second child has always had problems with shaping her letters and numbers and penmanship has been one of the worst things to work on. I am beginning to wonder if it is more than her laziness that is causing these problems. I will be looking into having her tested.

Rhonda HH

says:

My son was diagnosed with dysgraphia about 2 years ago. We were able to attend occupational therapy for about 9 months, which helped, but I know this will be a long road. He’ll probably always have challenges writing traditionally and spelling. After trying two other spelling programs, resulting is tears and meltdowns, All About Spelling was a relief! He is getting it! I proclaim AAS to anyone who even hints their child is having trouble spelling. One thing I’d say, is don’t be put-off by needing to start at the beginning of AAS. It builds upon itself.

Lowrie

says:

Thank you for your interesting post

Amy Peden

says:

Both of my sons have this. They are now 20 and 18. My older son is struggling through college, reading at a 4th grade level, and my 18 year old may not graduate high school. I wish I knew about this disorder sooner. Thank you for posting about this, I am going to take it to the high school and get more help on my son’s IEP!

Paul Vallatt Francis

says:

Dear Madam
I used to refer to your mails very often. I was working in a Indian CBSE school for the last 6 years as a teacher cum Principal. Now i moved to Leuven, Belgium to Complete my Master’s degree in Educational Sciences.
I have a course ” Children with Special Educational Needs in Europe” . I was planning to take my assignment as
A Comparative study on Learning disabilities in Children in INdia and Europe. I found your today’s article very useful to me and worthy. I wanted to thank you for the mail. Would you please share few more things about this disability if possible.
I will be so grateful
Fr. Paul Vallatt Francis
Abdij Van Park
Leuven, Belgium
jimmyopraem@yahoo.com, pjimmyopraem@gmail.com

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