Each of us have different handwriting styles. Some are neat while others are sloppy and misaligned, yet still remain legible. It is when the handwriting is illegible that you must take special note. Children who have trouble expressing themselves in writing may have a condition known as ‘Dysgraphia’. The term comes from the Greek words dys, which means “impaired”, and graphia, meaning “writing letter by hand”.
The child’s handwriting will be unusually difficult to read, letters might get mixed up between “b” and “d” or “q” and “a”. The most obvious signs are struggling to differentiate between upper and lower case letters and difficulties with written expression of ideas and thoughts, resulting in a bad composition. It is important to identify between a child with dysgraphia and those with just bad handwriting.
Here are the 5 symptoms to identify if the child has dysgraphia:
- Inconsistencies in writing (Irregular sizes and spaces between words and letters)
- Awkward position of wrist, body or paper when writing
- Slow-paced or laboured when writing or copying words
- Complaint of writing fatigue due to the amount of effort needed to write just one sentence
- Has trouble holding a pencil, tracing, tying shoes or doing puzzles
It is important to understand that slow or messy writing isn’t necessarily a sign that your child isn’t trying hard enough. Writing requires an intricate set of fine motor and language processing skills.
For children with dysgraphia, the writing process is challenging and slower, thus affecting their overall understanding in class. Seeking professionals or therapists can help to alleviate the severity of dysgraphia. Also, consistent praise for the child in their effort and genuine achievement can make a huge difference. This can motivate them to keep improving. When given appropriate help, children with dysgraphia can succeed and overcome the challenge.
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