Dysgraphia

This SEN results in difficulty in written expression so that students cannot easily put their ideas down on paper, although they may have no problem speaking. This could be due to the functions involved in working memory and producing organised sentences, or due to poor motor skills handling the pen or pencil when thoughts are put down on paper, or a combination of these. In either case, the student will often feel frustration and limitation with written tasks which can lead to falling behind and poor self-esteem.

It is important to diagnose the key cause of the dysgraphia, and in these cases an occupational therapist, speech and language therapist or educational psychologist would be worth consulting.

Most students with dysgraphia would be eligible for extra time when writing exams and this should be sought out by parents. Laptops and tablets would also be beneficial in helping these students.

Some indications of dysgraphia:

  • Poor grip of the pen or pencil
  • Poor fine-motor control
  • Unusual wrist position on the paper
  • Lack of punctuation, capitalisation and grammar
  • Poor spelling when writing
  • Leaving sentences unfinished or words half written
  • Takes up avoidance behaviour when given written tasks

How our tutors approach students with dysgraphia

For younger students our tutors will look at how they hold their pencil or pen and see if a change to the writing instrument makes any difference. The paper (lines, texture, colour) can also be experimented with to see if it is a factor. With primary students our tutors also consider gross and fine motor skills as practical exercises and increase narration during the lesson and in between written work. With older students, tutors usually recommend the use of laptops or tablets in class or during the lesson. Subjects such as maths will require manual writing, however.