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 Post subject: Advice re dysgraphia
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:47 am 
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Posts: 755
Hi ! I would be very grateful for any info regarding dysgraphia. I am due to see my son's teacher today to ask if my son could be referred to the school senco for possible assessment for dysgraphia. He has always been reluctant to write much at all which has always mystified both me and his teachers. Extra handwriting practice has been kept up at home but it is ,at best, hard to read . A bright,well behaved child the only negative points at consultation and reports has been the handwriting issue and reluctance to write. I have mentioned on and off over the years to our Gp the complaints of pain when writing but these have been brushed aside. Last weekend a family friend suggested we investigate to see if it could be dysgraphia. A quick search gave me more details and he appears to tick most of the boxes so I have asked to see his teacher this week to discuss the possibility. Does anyone have any experience of how dysgraphia is assessed and the help that children with dysgraphia can get in school? Apart from the day to day school issues I am concerned about the 11+ English paper . Obviously it is quite possible that it is not dysgraphia but I think it is worth investigating so any advice would be much appreciated! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:07 am 
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Hi tigger2,
How did you get on with the teacher?
Your story sounds familiar, I would suggest that you need to have Ed Psych, Occupational Therapy and Physio assessments to determine any underlying problems.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:24 am 
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If your son is otherwise fine (no features of dyslexia/attention deficit/aspergers - which can be associated) and not generally clumsy (bad at sports, can't ride a bike, features of dyspraxia) then what about teaching him to touch type and getting him a laptop or alphasmart? This takes the pressure off him, gives him a change to show how much is inside that he can't express (especially with English essays) and will improve his self esteem? There are lots of courses. Wonderful that he's such a great boy, and hope it all works out! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:44 am 
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Location: S.W. London
Having written this in Word, I now see its a very long post! I hope it helps anyway.

My DS has a diagnosis of dysgraphia, along with dyslexia. If you scroll down in this section there is a post from me about it, and some very helpful and considered replies which might also be of help to you.

To answer your question, we arranged the assessment ourselves with an ed psych who is an expert in this area, rather than going to a dyslexia expert. He assessed how letters were formed, for hand tremor, pencil grip and so on. There was also a very extensive checklist of attributes which we completed together before the assessment. The actual assessment took about 3 hours, as it included WISC III too.

The school found the report very useful and honoured the recommendation of 25% extra time for literacy tests. He was also allowed to take tests away from the rest of the class, and sometimes did this for sustained writing pieces. He did not receive any help that was not already in place within the school for other groups of children. If your DS has a reading age higher than his chronological age, then you may have problems assessing any specialist dyslexia support. This was the reason given for our DS, and was ultimately the reason we have abandoned the state sector for year 6 onwards. Fingers crossed the situation is better where you live.

Dysgraphia can be helped by work on gross as well as fine motor skills. DS received an assessment from an occupational therapist and help over the course of an academic year. The school can arrange this. Fine motor skills can be helped by following exercises such as those outlined in this book: ‘Speed Up!: a Kinaesthetic Programme to Develop Fluent Handwriting by Lois Addy, ISBN 978-1855033863, available via Amazon. A colleague used this with her son, but he is much more compliant than my own DS. It is a very useful resource though. Hama beads are a useful thing to do together as they help the fingers.

A writer in the educational field who has some really interesting and helpful books about dyslexia and spelling, which do contain chapters about writing too, is Philomena Ott. These are listed on amazon too. I borrowed some of them from the British Library because they are priced as professional books rather than consumer ones. The spelling ones are particularly interesting and packed full of tips.

Other phrases you may hear are “it’s a boy thingâ€


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
With reference to Susan's above post, here is the link:
http://www.elevenplusexams.co.uk/forum/11plus/viewtopic.php?t=8211


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:35 pm 
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Thank you so much for incredibly helpful replies....I have had a problem with my phone/internet over the past two days so have only just seen your posts. To give a little more detail and an update.....I saw his class teacher the other day who said that he would run it by the SENco but admitted that he had never heard of dysgraphia. The only school related arguments that we have had are handwriting and the fact that he never writes as much as the teacher would like. Out of school he is usually very easy going but having read that earlier post I am concerned...At the age of 10 he cannot ride a bike properly and apart from golf and tennis he is not very good at sports. I have wondered for a little while if he could be dyspraxic but have been told that you can't be good at everything so we just keep plugging away. His concentration and co-ordination at his other school work and lego is amazing but he cannot tie his school tie! His NFER scores at school have been very positive but the 11+ English paper has been a concern,not because he lacks the vocab but because I doubt he could write as much as they need. However as we live in Kent this is only used in appeal. His teacher said that whilst he looks into this he can use a laptop for homework. It will be interesting to see if he produces more work this weekend! I really hope that the school will be prepared to help because I am already paying a small fortune every month for his sister to see a dyslexia tutor and the school are reluctant to support an ed psych assessment for her because they have already brought a cognitive learning specialist in from the local PBR to assess her. Although it seemed a detailed assessment and the school have put the recommendations in place I don't think she is making much progress (if any). Very frustrating for her as they confirmed that she has a high iq and is very aware that she is not on the same level as her peers (very diplomatic!). We have already booked an ed psych for December for her but may have to review and postpone this for a couple of months and book her brother in instead.Once again thank you so much and I will catch up with the PM's now too!!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 6963
Location: East Kent
whatever teh reason it may be that he is holding his pen very tightly and writing usingteh muscles in his fingers rather than a looser movement from the shoulder and arm.

There is some useful information on here about exercises to overcome that

http://www.link75.org/bcs/OTwebsite/Han ... cises.html

http://www.paperpenalia.com/handwriting.html

couldn;t find a link but these are useful too. It can be quite fun doing them and can take away that anxiety..

[color=indigo]Finger Exercises Prior to Handwriting
Finger Raising- Place hands and forearms on the table. Keep wrists down. Raise each finger
one at a time.
Shake out-
Shake the fingers as hard as possible for a few seconds
Thumb to finger touching -
Touch thumb to each fingertip in turn. Try it with your eyes closed.
Try both hands together.
Palm Touching-
bend each finger to touch your palm.
Wrist circles-
Tuck elbows into side of body. Arms at a right angle. Move wrist in circle motion.
clockwise and anti clockwise.
Clench and release-
Make a fist. Squeeze and stretch.
Spider push ups -
Finger tips touching, palms facing each other, push hands in and out.
Caterpillars-
hands on the table. Stretch all fingers forwards, pulling the rest of the hand along.
Continue along the whole table.
Windmills
- elbows placed on the table. Palms facing the child. Wrist move in a circular motion.
Butterflies
- link thumbs, then move fingers in and out like butterfly wings.
Windscreen wipers
- keep arms still, move wrist side to side like a windscreen wiper.
Monkey grip
- lock hands in monkey grip and pull hands against each other.
Warm hands
Rub hands together vigorously until they tingle.
Spider run
moving fingers individually, run “spidersâ€


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:40 pm 
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Posts: 755
Thank you very much for your post yoyo...we have been doing a version of some of these exercises before homework and thought that we were doing well but this weekend has just been horrendous. An hours worth of writing was requested as part of the homework to record the most minute details of a DT project that had taken place at school that week. I am sure that he has developed an aversion to the idea of writing now. Just the thought of it seems to bring on panic. We will persist though with the exercises and I have ordered a sloping top to put on his desk to see if that helps. With a bit of luck I should get some feedback from his school this week...I have asked that they consider bringing in the OT from the local cluster group in the first instance....Wish me luck x


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
hope it goes well,

one other thing which worked quite well for a reluctant writer was to get the child to set themselves a target. I will write 3 ( or 4 or..) lines today an then a small reward such as a sticker if they achieved it , 2 if they surpasse it etc.

An agreed reward for a set number of stickers.


a particularly inspired yr 3 teacher bought one of her pupils a set of gel pens and let her write each line in a different colour. It worked

edited to add: sorry about the spelling, sticky 'D' key on laptop!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:35 am
Posts: 755
Many thanks for these ideas...I like the idea of the sticker reward but I think he would love the different coloured pen idea even more! I think that this would also be popular with my dyslexic DD too....I will let you know how we get on...once again many thanks xx


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