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Dysgraphia: The Warning Signs

December 30, 2018 by Kinetic Kids, Inc.

What are the warning signs of dysgraphia? [IEP and 504  Plans, Psychological Assessments, Educational Therapy]



Just having bad handwriting doesn't mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. However since writing is a developmental process -children learn the motor skills needed to write, while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper - difficulties can also overlap.

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Ideas To Use At Home

Tip to teach individuals with dysgraphia to overcome some of their difficulties with written expression.

Early Writers:

  • Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide to staying within the lines.
  • Try different pens and pencils to find one that's most comfortable.
  • Practice writing letters and numbers in the air with big arm movements to improve motor memory of these important shapes. Also practice letters and numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
  • Encourage proper grip, posture and paper positioning for writing. It's important to reinforce this early as it's difficult for students to unlearn bad habits later on.
  • Use multi-sensory techniques for learning letters, shapes and numbers. For example, speaking through motor sequences, such as "b" is "big stick down, circle away from my body."
  • Introduce a word processor on a computer early; however do not eliminate handwriting for the child. While typing can make it easier to write by alleviating the frustration of forming letters, handwriting is a vital part of a person's ability to function in the world.
  • Be patient and positive, encourage practice and praise effort - becoming a good writer takes time and practice.

Young Students

  • Allow use of print or cursive - whichever is more comfortable.
  • Use large graph paper for math calculation to keep columns and rows organized.
  • Allow extra time for writing assignments.
  • Begin writing assignments creatively with drawing, or speaking ideas into a tape recorder
  • Alternate focus of writing assignments - put the emphasis on some for neatness and spelling, others for grammar or organization of ideas.
  • Explicitly teach different types of writing - expository and personal essays, short stories, poems, etc.
  • Do not judge timed assignments on neatness and spelling.
  • Have students proofread work after a delay - it's easier to see mistakes after a break.
  • Help students create a checklist for editing work - spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, etc.
  • Encourage use of a spell checker - speaking spell checkers are available for handwritten work
  • Reduce amount of copying; instead, focus on writing original answers and ideas
  • Have student complete tasks in small steps instead of all at once.
  • Find alternative means of assessing knowledge, such as oral reports or visual projects
  • Encourage practice through low-stress opportunities for writing such as letters, a diary, making household lists or keeping track of sports teams.

Teenagers & Adults

  • Provide tape recorders to supplement note taking and to prepare for writing assignments.
  • Create a step-by-step plan that breaks writing assignments into small tasks (see below).
  • When organizing writing projects, create a list of keywords that will be useful.
  • Provide clear, constructive feedback on the quality of work, explaining both the strengths and weaknesses of the project, commenting on the structure as well as the information that is included.
  • Use assistive technology such as voice-activated software if the mechanical aspects of writing remain a major hurdle.

The Dysgraphia Symptom Checker

Dysgraphia - Kinetic Kids, Inc

Educational Recommendations for Common Cognitive & Academic Weaknesses

Psychoeducational Assessments - Kinetic Kids, Inc.

Psycho-educational Assessments Give Both Direction and Purpose!

This guide is based on the work of Mather and Jaffe that which relates cognitive weaknesses to the common accompanying academic weaknesses and makes educational suggestions for those areas of weakness.  psychology


  • This 38-page guide just gives an overview.
  • It can be used to simply help enhance mild areas of weakness or as a building block to provide a child with the academic support that he or she needs!
  • A comprehensive analysis, which includes a pediatric psycho-educational evaluation, would be recommended to ensure that the child is receiving the supports that he or she needs.

If you suspect that your child may be having difficulty in school, navigating through social situations, or just needs light support in one or tow areas, a psycho-educational assessment would be helpful in boosting academic performance and confidence!

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Topics: neuropsychological assessments, psycho-educational testing, Educational Enrichment Services, clinical neuropsychology, dysgraphia

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