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Dysgraphia: Effective Interventions for Teachers

By Keren Perles

If you are teaching a student with dysgraphia, you may be desperate for ways to help him cope with his disability. These interventions for dysgraphia will give you ideas about how to help your student more effectively.

Using Other Communication Methods

If you have a student with dysgraphia in your class, you can encourage her to use other methods of communication besides writing. For example, if she enjoys art, she may decide to draw her answer either instead of or in addition to writing it. You can ask her for oral explanations rather than written ones, and you can encourage her to act out a scene rather than describe it in writing. Often, once a student with dysgraphia is able to use one of these other methods, she will find it easier to put her ideas into writing.

Use of a Computer

Possibly the most commonly used intervention for dysgraphia is the provision of a word processing program. Allowing a child with dysgraphia to write on the computer rather than by hand can take away much of the stress that writing may hold for him. Although the child should be encouraged to write by hand at times, when the content is the most important part of the writing task, consider allowing him to use a word processing program instead.

Stages of Writing

Teaching a student with dysgraphia how to use the stages of writing to plan a writing assignment can be very helpful. Brainstorming can be incredibly freeing for these students, as they do not need to worry about grammar, syntax, or legibility during the brainstorming session. In addition, organizing the brainstormed information into an outline or a graphic organizer can help them visualize how their papers will read. These interventions can help students with dysgraphia to take notes in class as well, since outlines or graphic organizers are powerful ways to record and organize information.

Other Interventions for Dysgraphia

Encourage students with dysgraphia to talk as they write. This can give them essential auditory feedback about the words they are transcribing. Let the child choose the paper and writing implement that she will use, since the texture, shape, or other features of these materials can affect how easy it is for her to write coherently. Avoid assigning busywork that includes copying over writing word for word, which can be especially difficult for children with dyslexia.

For students with an especially strong case of dyslexia, consider having another student take two sets of notes (either with carbon paper or by using a photocopier on one set of notes) so that the student will be able to concentrate on the information being taught, rather than on the act of writing it all down clearly. In addition, you might want to recommend hand exercises or physical therapy for a student whose hand or arm seems to be excessively sore.