Dysgraphia, the disability that creates barriers to writing letters and numbers, does not need to destroy a child’s ability to succeed in school. When teachers and parents make adjustments, children with dysgraphia can begin to succeed. Accommodating tools provide alternative ways to produce work.
As a teacher or parent, do you want to experience pleasure? Imagine the excitement of a child who suddenly succeeds after a long, painful struggle. You can’t help but be thrilled at a child’s increased motivation. No accommodation or teaching tool offers a sure “fix”. However, providing help promotes enthusiasm for teachers, parents and for children.Will accommodating require any extra preparation on the part of the teacher or parent? Of course it will. Providing accommodating tools requires thought about a child’s specific strengths as well as needs. All the work pays off when the child makes progress.
As a teacher educator, I used some of the educational tools described below. Tools can be ordered at Southpaw, Fun Function Empowering Different, or at Therapro.
1. Many years ago, I began experimenting with various pencil grips. My favorite looks like the one below. The grip acts like a small cushion for hands that tend to grip too hard. Have you ever seen a child’s knuckles turn white from effort? A grip may help.
2. A different pencil grip, called the “Writing Rascal” helps develop a correct three-fingered grasp. I
have never used this writing tool, which I found on FUN Function Empowering Different. Changing bad habits provides an almost impossible challenge. You can make life easier for all concerned if you promote a correct grasp from the beginning.
3. Paper with raised lines can be purchased from Mead and other sources listed below. The raised lines inform the writer where to start and stop writing strokes. Young writers can feel as well as see lines. Paper can be purchased for primary level and above.
4. Some children benefit from writing and reading on a slanted surface. I discovered that occasionally children preferred to lie prone when writing on a slant board. When I was unable to locate an official slant board, I used a very large three-ring binder.
5. Finger Crayons with large bulblike tops can be held while coloring. With the bulb, children do not have to struggle with a three-fingered grip. Colorful and unusual crayons intrigue children, as well as adults.
6. Adaptive scissors come in many shapes. Consider the ones below, which help children with limited hand coordination.
Many additional tools can be used to support writing, drawing, or cutting tasks. As a special education teacher, I believed that drastic situations called for drastic solutions. I was willing to try anything unless I perceived a possible risk to a child. When an accommodation or learning tool worked, I was as thrilled as the child. Nothing can match the pleasure of seeing a child succeed after a series of disappointments. Successful learning definitely makes the extra work, time and expense worth the effort. Want a quiet thrill? Help a child with a writing disability move forward by introducing learning tools from sources below. Sources of Tools for Accommodations
FUN Function Empowering Different (800) 231-6329 https://funandfunction.com/solutions-center/solutions-center.html
Southpaw Fine Motor (scroll down until you get to tools for writing) PO Box 1047Dayton, OH 45401 (800) 228-1698 https://www.southpaw.com/sensory-integration/fine-motor.html
Therapro Products 225 Arlington Street Framingham, MA 01702-8723(508) 872-9494 • (800) 257-5376 http://www.therapro.com/Contact-Us-W4.aspx