The Root of Dysgraphia: Motor Skill Barriers
Why do children with dysgraphia struggle so much with their handwriting? It’s because they lack directional sense and awareness. This is needed for controlling one’s body in space. It’s necessary to guide posture, instrument control, visual memory and retrieval – all of which are needed to write uniform, legible letters, words and numbers on a page.
Understanding this will allow you to try dysgraphia support strategies that will positively impact your child’s ability to write. Supportive dysgraphia strategies at school are the best way to keep dysgraphia from impacting your child’s academic success.
Writing letters and numbers on paper requires smooth, coordinated movement of the hand through space. This is tricky for someone without directional sense and awareness. It’s even trickier if they haven’t developed the muscle memory to automatically create those letters and numbers.
Low muscle tone in the hands and arms can also play a part. This means that dysgraphia strategies that exercise these muscles in a repetitive way will help improve directional sense and muscle memory.
Dysgraphia Strategies: Methods for Improving Handwriting
Here are some tips for improving directional sense and awareness:
- Directional Sense: Learn the compass directions. Always get your bearings and speak in terms of cardinal directions when navigating. Practice drawing giant letters in the air. Trace letters while talking about the direction their fingers moved.
- Strength: Before starting schoolwork, exercise for 20-30 minutes. Keep a tennis ball handy and squeeze it with each hand several times throughout the day to build strength.
- Pattern Recognition and Visual-Spatial Reasoning: Play every day – card and board games, puzzles, Legos and building toys, bike riding, swimming, walking, climbing. Moving the body through space helps develop capacity for writing tasks.
What Else Can Support My Child?
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