For children in elementary school, consider these modifications:
- Alternate the focus of writing assignments. For some assignments, put the emphasis on neatness and spelling and for others put the emphasis on grammar and style.
- Encourage the use of print or cursive, whichever is more comfortable for your child.
- Help make a checklist for editing written work based on: spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, and organization.
- Encourage writing through low-stress opportunities for writing such as letters, journals, and making shopping lists.
- Create a step-by-step plan that breaks writing assignments into small tasks.
For high school students, the following modification can be helpful:
- Provide a tape recorder or smart board notepad to facilitate note taking.
- Create a step by step plan that breaks writing assignments into small tasks. For instance, (a) come up with an argument or thesis; (b) create an outline with major points; (c) write the introduction; (d) use quotes to support the body paragraphs; (e) pull it together in the conclusion; (f) edit paper for grammar and spelling; (g) edit paper for content and analysis.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember, when dealing with children who suffer from dysgraphia is that they are not “lazy” or “sloppy.” In reality, they are struggling mightily to do what most other children can do with little effort. Recognize that they are suffering from a learning disability and then take the necessary steps to mitigate their issues. This is the most beneficial way to address the problem.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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