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Dysgraphia in Children Warning Signs

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					Dysgraphia Is a Learning Disorder

A common joke is about the illegibility of a doctor's handwriting.
However it is no laughing matter when a child struggles and falls behind
in school because of handwriting issues. There is poor handwriting and
then there is Dysgraphia which is a learning disorder.

It involves and affects a person's ability to write, presenting
difficulties in other spatial and fine motor skill areas. A child with
Dysgraphia may also have trouble with spelling and putting their thoughts
down on paper or in any form of written communication. This is a disorder
that affects the processing center of the brain so it is a lifelong
disability and will change as the child grows older and moves into
adulthood.
Warning Signs That a Child May Have Dysgraphia

The signs will manifest well before school age since this disorder is
developmental as well as a fine motor skill issue. Things to look for in
very young children include:

    An awkward grip on spoons, toys, crayons etc.
    Inability to firmly grasp objects
    Disinterest in using certain toys, such as puzzles, due to inability
to hold and place them properly.
    Lack of coordination in all areas of the body, especially the hands.
    Tiring quickly at drawing or coloring.
    Unable to properly throw a ball.
    Frequently dropping items.

Symptoms such as these observed in a preschool child may be a warning
that Dysgraphia is affecting fine motor skills in the hands and wrists.
Early intervention such as occupational therapy can strengthen the
muscles and teach the child how to adapt to this disorder rather than
giving up.
School Children and Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia will certainly manifest when a child begins writing in school.
At first the teachers and parents may think the handwriting is just
sloppy or the child has the normal difficulty forming the letters. When
the child begins to practice cursive writing, it will be apparent there
is more than the regular writing issues present. The warning signs for
this age group almost always include:

    An awkward, tight pencil grip
    Contorting the body while writing
    Illegible handwriting or printing
    Becoming exhausted while writing or doing homework
    Flexing the hand because of tightness or cramping
    Inability to keep words or letters on the line
    a noticeable size difference in letters and numbers
    Excellent oral presentation but poor when written. Example, child
does well on an oral spelling test but not on written tests.
    Words or sentences are left incomplete
Depending on the degree of disability, a child may simply require some
assistance such as:

    Holding a small object such as a pencil gripper in the hand while
writing.
    Strengthen the wrist muscles by exercising with a small rubber ball.
    Practice placing tiny objects into a container using tweezers.

If the child has more severe problems from the Dysgraphia, medical help
may be required. These can include Occupational Therapy or even
Neurotherapy.
Creating An Individual Education Plan For The Child With Dygraphia

A child suffering from Dysgraphia will most likely fall behind in school
because they a re unable to write fast enough to keep up. An example is a
spelling test. The teacher will move on to the next word well before the
child has finished the previous one. So they rush trying to catch up and
miss letters even if they know how to spell the words.

An IEP (Individual Education Plan) and a 504 will take pressure off the
child and allow the teacher to use alternate ways that assist the
student. This might and probably should include:

      Taking oral instead of written spelling tests.
      Printing rather than cursive
      Typing work on a keyboard instead of writing it out by hand.
      Allow extra time when taking end of grade tests.

Other ideas and plans can be incorporated into the child's education
plan. These are agreed upon by the parents, teachers, and guidance
counselors. It will follow the child throughout the remainder of his/her
school life, transferring from grade to grade. As the child ages and
becomes more proficient in areas and perhaps weaker in others, the plans
can be adjusted accordingly.

The child needs an IEP and a 504 plan. The differences are important.
Individual education service plans are designed to meet the special needs
of a disabled child and differ for every person according to the
requirements of the disability
Some Important Differences Between an IEP and a 504 Plan
504

IEP


The 504 plan offers every disabled child equal access to an education.

Designed for children with special educational needs

Insist On Both Plans
Is a documented and written plan

Includes timelines for implementing and documenting plans
Insist On Both Plans
Failure of educators to follow and abide by the plan may be taken to the
Office for Civil Rights.

Noncompliance issues are taken before the State Board of Education

Insist On Both Plans
Does not allow for safeguards like the IEP

Includes independent assesment at public expense

Insist On Both Plans
Stand Up For Your Child

The most important person is the parent. No one knows your child better
or is better aware of his/her strengths and weaknesses. Insist on an
evaluation if you think your child is affected by this disorder. Visit
the pediatrician and get him on board by giving an official diagnosis.
This needs to be the first step because the school cannot proceed without
one.

Stand up for your little one by informing the teacher how long you will
allow your child to work on a certain subject. It is not uncommon for a
child to spend three hours writing a homework assignment that should only
take twenty minutes. Draw a reasonable timeline.The child will not become
so weary and discouraged and the teacher will understand why homework is
not finished.

Dysgraphia is not a hindrance to a student when it is identified and
concessions are made allow the student a chance at success. Some famous
people with Dysgraphia include:

    Agatha Christie
    Alexander Graham Bell
    President George Washington

So be patient with your child and his/her learning disorder. They may
just be a future famous person !

				
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