Occupational Therapy

What is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects an individuals ability to write coherently, legibly, and comprehensively. Signs of a potential Dysgraphia diagnosis may first become apparent with poor spelling, difficulty putting thoughts onto paper, poor legibility with penmanship, or irregular writing patterns.
-Article by Tara Pearson, COTA, ADHD-RSP
Dysgraphia is often first recognized by a teacher in their school district. Children diagnosed with dysgraphia often have difficulty keeping up with required pace for note writing, legibility, and coordination when it comes to handwriting. This can be extremely frustrating for a child because even though they understand the subject content, they are experiencing increased challenges with motor planning and coordination skills that affect their handwriting. The individual may know how to produce letters and sentences, express their thoughts verbally, but they are unable to produce written content at an age-appropriate level. Written expression is often unintelligible or legibility may be affected because of poor pencil control.  
Occupational therapy can help your child diagnosed with dysgraphia with a variety of support strategies. Your OT may assist with strengthening fine motor skills as it relates to handwriting, provide practical strategies for the classroom, recommend academic workload management, improve visual perceptional skills, and develop executive function skills.

Possible OT Suggestions for a Child with Dysgraphia

Classroom Management
Provide additional support for grammar and sentence structure
Recommend an assistive technology device such as a recorder
Break down complex assignments into smaller steps for better comprehension
Provide sensory strategies to combat fatigue
Provide cognitive training to improve attention and executive functions
Give practical strategies for keeping track of racing thoughts
Fine Motor

Address handwriting difficulties such as spacing, legibility, sizing, and formation

Strengthen in-hand manipulation for pencil grip and coordination
May provide visual supports for your child to maintain routines
A visual checklist to break down proof reading process
Provide a “key word” vocabulary list
Teach your child about creating a story map

If your child is struggling with any of these listed areas we highly encourage you to speak with your pediatrician or diagnostician. Upon referral, Texarkana Therapy Center would be happy to provide your family with a comprehensive evaluation for occupational or speech therapy.

Try our Free Online Screening Tool

If you are not in therapy and you are wondering if your child may be falling behind with sensory processing, fine motor skills, speech and language or developmental milestones, please try our online screening tool. You will be given a survey of age-appropriate milestones for speech, language, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and sensory processing for children ages 1-6.