Dysgraphia is a condition that affects your handwriting, especially when diagnosed as a child. There’s no cure for it. But, the good news is that speech therapy interventions can help your child to improve and reduce the impact this condition has on their handwriting. Speech therapy compliments these interventions and together greatly help to reduce the impact of dysgraphia, especially if you start therapy early. Here at District Speech And Language Therapy in Washington DC, we offer great reading and learning disability speech therapy customized to your child’s needs. Now, let’s find out more. What is Dysgraphia? Dysgraphia is a condition characterized by impaired handwriting. Having impaired handwriting can create challenges in your child’s ability to learn how to spell words and affect their speed of writing. This can create issues in their progression in school, as well as their social development. What Causes Dysgraphia? Current research has shown that there is a connection between orthographic coding and working memory as it relates to handwriting. Orthographic coding here means the ability to store written words in your working memory while the letters in the words are analyzed by your brain. This creates a permanent memory of written words, which links their pronunciation and meaning. It’s a disruption in this process that causes dysgraphia in children. Speech therapy for adults with dysgraphia is less common, but it still exist. If you develop dysgraphia as an adult, the cause is almost always a brain injury like a concussion or stroke. What Are The Symptoms Of Dysgraphia? If your child has dysgraphia, they might have challenges with only handwriting, or only spelling, but not reading. It’s also possible for them to have both impaired handwriting and spelling. They could also have difficulty planning sequential finger movements like the touching of their thumb to each finger on the same hand. Do Children With Dysgraphia Commonly Have Other Learning Disabilities? Children with dysgraphia can have other learning disabilities. One commonly found disorder with dysgraphia is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are a number of subtypes of this disorder, but they can all occur with dysgraphia. As a result, speech therapy treatments for ADHD often involve treatment for dysgraphia as well. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder requires a diagnosis by a qualified professional because medication is often required. Another commonly found learning disability with dysgraphia is dyslexia, which is a reading disability. Children with both dysgraphia and dyslexia will have challenges with focus, switching attention, sustained attention, and orthographic coding. What Sorts Of Interventions Help With Dysgraphia There are a number of interventions that can help with dysgraphia. An intervention is an accommodation to help with a particular challenge, which in this case is dysgraphia. While your young child is learning to write, some interventions to help them learn include: \tUsing clay as a form of play to strengthen their hand muscles \tTracing letters using different tools like their finger or a pencil \tCopying out letters \tConnecting dots and dashes to create complete letters Once they have the ability to form legible letters, you should have them move on to instructions that help them to develop automatic letter writing. This is because this is where they will initially have the greatest challenge. A useful study intervention with each letter of the alphabet includes the following steps: \tMemorize numbered arrow cues that provide a blueprint for letter formation \tCover the letter and have them imagine the letter with the arrow cues \tWrite out the letter from memory after intervals that gradually increase as they improve Once they’ve got the hang of this, you can start dictating letters to them to write out without any aids. Now, let’s quickly dive into some other types of interventions that vary based on the setting. Academic Interventions For Dysgraphia Some academic interventions for dysgraphia include: \tAllowing your child to take extra time on tests \tProviding lots of worksheets for them to practice \tNot grading them on neatness These are some recommendations you can pass along to your child’s teacher if they are unsure what sort of accommodation your child with dysgraphia needs to succeed academically. At Home Interventions For Dysgraphia While your child is growing up, the following are some very important interventions for dysgraphia that you can introduce: \tTeach them to get a good grip on their writing utensil \tBe a scribe for your child if their workload is too much and they are too slow \tTeach your child how to effectively type Typing is probably the most important skill you can teach them because they will need the speed advantage as they grow and go through higher levels of education. At Work Interventions For Dysgraphia Finally, even adults with dysgraphia require interventions to help them succeed at work. Some interventions to suggest if you’re struggling to keep up at work include: \tAsk to use reference materials to make everyday compositions easier \tHave a supervisor or coworker proofread important written material before it’s sent out \tUse a text to speech software if your typing skills are too slow \tAsk to prioritize verbal communication wherever possible Remember, the goal is to help make your work easier so that it doesn’t needlessly stress or exhaust you. Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today You can see there are a number of great strategies to use if you or your child has dysgraphia at any stage of life. Another recommendation is to work with a speech therapist. This is especially helpful if your child is really struggling with their fine motor skills as they learn to write and the above strategies are not enough. District Speech has a team of highly specialized pediatric speech therapists ready to help. Book an appointment to schedule an evaluation today.