Here are seven of Lindsey’s suggestions for supporting learners with writing challenges:
1. Have their vision checked
Recommending that parents schedule an exam with a developmental optometrist can help identify vision problems that interfere with writing, including problems with visual processing.
These problems can be helped by vision exercises or eyeglasses if needed.
2. Eliminate potential sensory offenders
Learners who struggle with writing sometimes need reduced sensory input.
With dysgraphia, differences in brain wiring mean that the feedback loops that typically inform the handwriting process aren’t working optimally.
For example, a proficient writer will look at their handwriting and recognize that they need to press harder or leave space between words. Learners with dysgraphia have trouble with that process.
Eliminating sensory distractions can help writers dedicate brain power to observing their writing.
Consider possible sensory discomfort from common classroom pitfalls such as fluorescent lighting, shiny tabletops, chatter from group work, uncomfortable seating.
Teachers and practitioners can try creating sensory-friendly work environments by introducing soft lighting, adding matte paper to work surfaces, offering sound-reducing earmuffs or having them sit in a quieter part of the room, or providing a comfortable seat cushion.
Introducing keyboarding in the early grades, in conjunction with intervention & remediation, can give students with writing issues a way to be understood on the page.
Keyboarding skills will serve struggling writers throughout their schooling, and on into their careers.
4. Try assistive technology for writing
Assistive technology is any tool or system that supports a person with a disability to communicate, learn, or function in their daily lives.
Assistive tools range from low-tech everyday aids like glasses all the way to high-tech augmentative communication devices that help users express themselves through speech. Certain assistive writing tools can be significant for students with dysgraphia.
Co:Writer is assistive toolkit of writing tools designed to support students with their writing through:
Speech recognition (speech-to-text) for students who can speak more fluently than they write
Topic Dictionaries that help students write on over 4 million topics
Phonetic and inventive spelling correction
Reading back writing aloud as learners type (while highlighting each word as it’s spoken)
Text-to-Speech that reads entire passages back to help students self-assess and edit
Check out this video to discover all that Co:Writer does to support writing.
5. Focus on improving core strength
Having a stable foundation is critical for sitting in a chair and writing. Lindsey often finds that students with poor handwriting also lack core strength.
Check out these great suggestions for fun ways to improve core strength in kids.
6. Try a slant board for writing
Setting a student up with a slant board can help with proper body positioning ideal for writing, improve ergonomics, and secure their paper in the right position.
Proper positioning can help students successfully get their writing out onto the page.
Apps specifically made for handwriting practice by way of finger tracing are great multi-sensory learning tools that can help improve letter formation.
Try Googling “letter tracing apps” and a number of free resources will appear.