View Full Version : 8 year old with dysgraphia


Lunamoth
08-19-17, 10:17 PM
My 8 year old son (adhd and medicated) has just been diagnosed with dysgraphia. He intensely dislikes writing. His writing is illegible and he gets stuck on knowing what to write and becomes frustrated, angry, and uncooperative. However, he has an excellent understanding of sentence structure, grammar, and his spelling is fantastic.

His school is perfectly happy for him to use a computer to do his writing assignments, so that is not a problem. It's pretty useless though if he can't figure out what to write and I'm struggling to find a solution for it. Most of the solutions involve doing a visual plan and I know from experience that he gets very angry with them and refuses to do them.

He is also "gifted" (I hate that label) so I know that there are plenty of ideas jumping about in his head, he just seems to struggle with sorting and organising them and putting them onto paper.

Is there anyone else out there who has experienced this or who has a child with a similar difficulty? Are there any ideas for how I can help him? He is very anxious and doesn't want to draw any attention to himself, so any solution has to be something that won't stand out to his peers.

Fortune
08-19-17, 10:25 PM
I am dysgraphic and was classified as gifted as a child. I don't know that any solutions were ever found for me because I was held responsible for my problems and they were never really investigated.

I have found that a way for me to sort and organize my thoughts for writing is to take a walk or some other exercise.

Lunamoth
08-19-17, 10:42 PM
Thanks Fortune, exercise is a good idea. I'm sorry you didn't get much help for your dysgraphia at school. Has it inhibited you much since school?

Fortune
08-19-17, 11:13 PM
Yeah, it has. Admittedly, ever since I started using a computer for basically everything it became much less of an issue. I used to have problems with reversing letters, but that's become much less of an issue as I've grown older.

Lunamoth
08-19-17, 11:26 PM
I was hoping you'd say that things improved after school! Oh well, at least it sounds like we're on the right track getting him onto a computer. Technology is only going to get better, so hopefully it'll replace the need for writing.

Fortune
08-20-17, 12:05 AM
Things have improved over time but my handwriting is still pretty awful.

peripatetic
08-20-17, 12:11 AM
i'm with fortune: technology is a lifesaver. my handwriting is illegible to this day. i went years without writing EVER. i was diagnosed with dyslexia/dysgraphia as a child because at the time they were thought interchangeable.

if i concentrate and put in a great deal of effort, i can write legibly. but it's embarrassing. try to support him against those who would shame him for his penmanship, which, in life, is not the most important thing and anyone who makes a big deal of penmanship ...i mean, i'm just saying, as long as you can find a way of communicating, handwriting isn't the end all and be all. but primary school teachers, in my experience, will give you absolute hell for not writing as perfectly as they do. and practicing honestly doesn't make it easier. so writing lines...is just torture.

get him something that's just a basic word processor and teach him to touch type. it'll make an enormous difference. and then advocate for him against those who would seek to point out his limitations.

best to you xx

Fortune
08-20-17, 12:49 AM
Oh one thing about exercise for me: It helps me sort everything so I know what I want to write, but it's easy to lose that if people start talking to me because it distracts me from what I've put together and it crumbles.

Lunamoth
08-20-17, 03:52 AM
We're very lucky he has a teacher who isn't fussed about handwriting. At his previous school it was a problem, but there were a lot of issues with that school which is why we moved him.

I found an online game that teaches touch typing and so far it's going really well. It's much better than trying to teach him cursive - that was an epic disaster! :doh:

Caco3girl
08-24-17, 10:18 AM
My 8 year old son (adhd and medicated) has just been diagnosed with dysgraphia. He intensely dislikes writing. His writing is illegible and he gets stuck on knowing what to write and becomes frustrated, angry, and uncooperative. However, he has an excellent understanding of sentence structure, grammar, and his spelling is fantastic.

His school is perfectly happy for him to use a computer to do his writing assignments, so that is not a problem. It's pretty useless though if he can't figure out what to write and I'm struggling to find a solution for it. Most of the solutions involve doing a visual plan and I know from experience that he gets very angry with them and refuses to do them.

He is also "gifted" (I hate that label) so I know that there are plenty of ideas jumping about in his head, he just seems to struggle with sorting and organising them and putting them onto paper.

Is there anyone else out there who has experienced this or who has a child with a similar difficulty? Are there any ideas for how I can help him? He is very anxious and doesn't want to draw any attention to himself, so any solution has to be something that won't stand out to his peers.

I'm not sure what you mean about doing a visual plan...BUT....when I was younger I couldn't stay on track with what I was writing so they gave me a set of rules that I could keep with me. It went something like:
Sentence 1: What will you be writing about? example, "Today will be writing to you about my horse."
Sentence 2 and 3: What are two examples of what you are writing about? Examples: My horse is very pretty. She likes to run.
Sentence 4: What is the next paragraph about? example "Sometimes she runs too far though and that gets her in trouble."

Next paragraph: Tell a story. Then go back and read the story, did it ALL have to do with the last sentence in paragraph 1?

Ending paragraph: Go over two concepts in the story and why they were important. Conclude with a nice statement.

TygerSan
08-24-17, 11:05 AM
Couple of thoughts: 1) If at all possible, teach him keyboarding. Touch typing is a dying art. While it takes a while to learn how to do it correctly, if you have the time and patience to learn and learn it early, it helps a lot.

2) I write well, but have a really hard time getting started and getting my thoughts down and organized. Those visual organizers/outlines didn't help, and I often would freeze at all he thought of doing them. I tend to work from details out, figuring out the main structure towards the end of my writing. Hence the outline would be done toward the end of the writing process, rendering it next to useless. Instead, I'd write down ideas/details/examples and then use cut and paste in the word processor to figure out the logic. That helped me when I had 20 times more ideas in my head than could make it on the page.

Another tool that I didn't like as much was to record the ideas verbally and listen to the playback. That made me too self conscious, but may work for others in similar situations.

Sometimes the tools that help kids who have a great deal of trouble with ideas and writing don't work for those who have more trouble with the mechanics. Hence getting frustrated by the organizer.

Lunamoth
08-25-17, 04:24 AM
Thanks for the great practical help Caco.

I think my son may be quite similar to what you describe, Tyger. He is learning to touch type at the moment and I will teach him how to copy and paste. I think getting his ideas down and then sorting them in the word processor could really work for him.

I think it's going to take a while for him to find out what works for him. Hopefully we can get him into a better headspace for writing before he completely loses all enthusiasm for it.

sarahsweets
08-25-17, 04:47 AM
My son wasnt diagnosed with that until his doctor mentioned it when he was 18. He is 21 now. He has horrible handwriting and is super self conscious about it. He received OT and PT at school thanks to being classified and having an IEP. There were no laptops then for school so they had him learn how to keyboard on an "alphasmart". He reached a point in 10th grade where he hit his "ceiling" as far as how much more he could improve and during an IEP meeting at that point we agreed that no more PT or OT was going to help and being pulled out of classes for it was hurting more than helping. He is also gifted with an incredible IQ and thank god for technology. I recommend making sure your child has an IEP and gets an OT and PT evaluation.

Lunamoth
08-25-17, 05:04 AM
How frustrating that your son wasn't diagnosed with it until 18. It's hard to spot these things when they're hidden amongst other conditions though. Is he finding things easier with a computer? Is he less frustrated by the whole writing process?

I will be having a formal meeting with the school when I feel more confident about the condition and have a better understanding of what could help him. I want to make sure that he gets the right help. In the meantime his teacher is being very accommodating and is happy to implement my suggestions (great teachers make things so much easier!).

He has just started therapy with a new psychologist, mostly for his OCD and anxiety, and an OT is also present at the sessions so far. I still feel a bit overwhelmed by the new diagnosis, but hopefully they can help with that also. If this OT isn't particularly helpful then we'll go private and get a thorough assessment.

sarahsweets
08-25-17, 05:07 AM
He is doing wonderfully. straight a/b college student getting his associates in December and transfering to a 4 year state school. Thank God they allow laptops. One other thing he had to have help with in school was tests and essays. Until about 8th grade they provided him with a scribe. He did all the work verbally and the scribe wrote it down for him.

Lunamoth
08-25-17, 05:16 AM
That's fantastic, you must be incredibly proud. I've been told my son will probably allowed to use a word processor in exams. I'm sure everyone will be sitting exams on computers in the near future, if only it were now!

Caco3girl
08-25-17, 08:59 AM
That's fantastic, you must be incredibly proud. I've been told my son will probably allowed to use a word processor in exams. I'm sure everyone will be sitting exams on computers in the near future, if only it were now!

In Georgia it IS now. However, that comes with it's own set of problems. Tests, Quizzes, HW worksheets...they are all done on computer in my sons school and he is glitching over them. Looking at a computer screen is different than on paper and it's causing issues with his grades.

Don't computer screens flicker nearly constantly but it's just so fast we can't see it? He has a much harder time on the computer.

aeon
08-25-17, 09:18 AM
Don't computer screens flicker nearly constantly but it's just so fast we can't see it?

That was true of CRT screens, but is not the case for current LCD displays.


Cheers,
Ian

Caco3girl
08-25-17, 10:59 AM
That was true of CRT screens, but is not the case for current LCD displays.


Cheers,
Ian

Thank you...any thoughts on why computers would cause him to glitch? He can't explain it, he says paper is better, computers he just can't focus.

sarahsweets
08-25-17, 03:13 PM
Thank you...any thoughts on why computers would cause him to glitch? He can't explain it, he says paper is better, computers he just can't focus.

For any kind of school work or tests even I always wanted paper and pens or pencils. Its easier for me to zone out looking at screens and blur everything together no matter how its laid out.