Dysgraphia: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child: #4

4. Make sure the letters are taught carefully and correctly.  Each person helping with writing should use the same font and the same verbal instructions.  Once a child has been thoroughly taught the correct letter formations, have him close his eyes and write the letters.  This is done to ensure that the letters are pictured correctly in his mind and formed correctly with his fingers.  Those that cannot be made with eyes closed need more practice.

Something to try:  If your child has been thoroughly taught the lower and upper case alphabet, you might try this exercise. Place a piece of paper longwise in front of your child. Ask him to write his name with his eyes closed.  Then ask him to write the upper case alphabet.  If he needs you to call it out to him, please do so but make a note of that.  Then ask him to write the lower case alphabet.  Have him write in either print or cursive, his choice.  While he is writing, them with his eyes closed, make a note of the letters that he hesitates on.  These are the ones he is not sure of and need more writing work. 

Now note the following:

1. Which letters took longer to write?  Reversals? Practice these letters.

2. The tallness of the letters: The letters should be of consistent size.  If he is writing large and the spaces between lines on classroom paper are smaller, the spaces may need to be made wider to encourage legible handwriting.

3. Are the letters written on a fairly straight imaginary line?  If so, your child knows where his hand is on the page when he writes and does not have to “watch“his hand while he writes.  This is a good skill to have.  Many children with visual memory difficulties will copy from the board using this sense rather than looking at the board and back at their hand.  However, writing is pretty messy with floating letters using just this sense of hand movement.

4. Was your child able to sequence the alphabet without your help (second grade and up)?  If not, work on alphabet sequencing.  A child should be able to remember the letter in the alphabet sequence, write it, switch back to the next letter in the sequence and write it (second grade and beyond).


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