We are answering questions that I ask as I am looking at a student’s written assignment. We observed and answered 1 & 2 last blog and now we will look at the following questions! I have loved your comments! I learn so much from your comments! Keep them coming. 3. Is it legible over all? As I scan the page from left to write, I look to see if words are more legible on one side of the page versus the other and if there is a difference in the middle of the page. Those children that have issues with their eyes, may skip words in the middle of the page if copying, misspell words, or write illegibly as their eyes “jump” crossing midline of […]
I have found there are certain letters that seem to be more difficult for our kids to learn. These are hints that could help. Remember we are trying to create “pictures” of the letters in our kid’s minds, so the funny or weirder they are, the easier it is to do that! “K” and “R” have belly buttons: Young children do not have the ability to perceive diagonals until between the ages of four and five. Therefore, K and R with their diagonal legs are often difficult to form. To help your child with these letters 1. First have him find his belly button. and his back. Explain that K and R also have belly buttons and backs. 2. After gently running your finger down your […]
. Last week we talked about students who preferred to work in the right body space which often led them to begin writing at the left paper margin but progressively pulled away from the left and eventually started their work in the middle of the page. Another set of children I see frequently prefer to work vertically. Their rows of math probems are completed 1, 11, 19, etc. rather than 1 through 10, 11 through 20, etc. They also prefer to copy from a book placed ABOVE their paper rather than to the right side. These children may have a preference for vertically working due to visual horizontal tracking issues,to difficulty crossing from the left body space to the right body space, or just a preference […]
Toby was a puzzle to his teacher! He began writing at the far left side of his page, hugging the paper’s red line just like he was asked to do! But by the middle of the page, he continued his writing beginning several inches from the left! Why did he pull away from the left side of the page the further down he wrote? Toby is what I call a “diagonal writer”. He hugs the left line at first but gradually moves away from it forming a diagonal from the top left of his page to the bottom middle with his writing. Teachers often highlight the left margin line to help the child “hug” the line as he writes. I have found that as the child […]
As an occupational therapist, I see many students who have attention issues. I often describe their handwriting problems with the following words: We expect a little body running at 100 miles an hour to sit down and be still in a chair: Really hard! Even if the body is looking still, the nervous system is still running on high and soon little twitches of movement occur and eyes began to roam the room. Then we ask the hand to move at 15 miles an hour! We now have a brain that is thinking faster than the hand can write; a body that wants to move but knows it must not; and a hand that needs to slow down but yet keep up with the brain. Result: Lots of […]
Book: Cavey, D.W. (2000) Dysgraphia: Why Johnny Cant Write: A Handbook for Teachers and Parents Articles: Dysgraphia: www.resourceroom.net/readspell/dysgraphia.asp Kay, Margaret J. EdD: Dysgraphia. www.margaretkay.com Disorders of Written Expression. www.nldontario.org Deul, Ruthmary K., MD. Developmental Dysgraphia and Motor Skills Disorders, Journal of Child Neurology, vol 10. Supp.1 January 1995. What is Dysgraphia Spelling? www.ehow.com Richards, Regina G., “When Writing’s a Problem”. Resource Directory, Southern California Consortium, Orton Dyslexia Society 1996. My article reprinted in this blog: HIBIDA Resource Directory 2011 available from The Neuhaus Education Center, Houston, Texas
Computer: A computer helps eliminate the questions of “How do I make the letters?”, “Where are the letters placed on the line,” and “Where is the sentence placed on the page.” computer use is not to replace handwriting as worksheets still demand legible handwriting but does offer recourse for longer assignments. In severe cases of dysgraphia, software allowing a student to dictate into the computer is available. Consider an Alpha Smart instead of a LapTop: www.alphasmart.com Shorten writing assignments Encourage editing and proofreading. Encourage a good pencil grip. Use an inclined clipboard and a gripper if needed for hand fatigue or discomfort.
Copying from near point (from a book or paper on the desk): If writing is tedious, decrease the amount of board and desk copying when possible. If copying is a requirement and there are no modifications try the following: Ask to shorten the copying assignment by having the student only copy half of it. Try folding the page to be copied in half so there is less visual distractions. The task may look less formidable if broken in half. Some students prefer to work vertically rather than left to right. Try placing the page to be copied at the top of the writing page rather than to the side to see if there is greater ease of copying. Make the task more fun by copying […]
5. Decrease copying: Copying from the board: Copying requires looking up, remembering what you want to copy, looking down at the page and writing what you remember (hopefully). Then you must look back up again and repeat the effort. For those children who are dysgraphic and have difficulties focusing as well, copying from the board may be very tedious!!! Ask the teacher to have the work on a paper to be placed on the desk for copying. If copying is for “copying sake”, why increase the writing frustration. Just provide a copy of the work whenever possible.
4. Make sure the letters are taught carefully and correctly. Each person helping with writing should use the same font and the same verbal instructions. Once a child has been thoroughly taught the correct letter formations, have him close his eyes and write the letters. This is done to ensure that the letters are pictured correctly in his mind and formed correctly with his fingers. Those that cannot be made with eyes closed need more practice. Something to try: If your child has been thoroughly taught the lower and upper case alphabet, you might try this exercise. Place a piece of paper longwise in front of your child. Ask him to write his name with his eyes closed. Then ask him to write the upper case […]