Does your child find handwriting difficult and frustrating?
Your child is not being lazy.
Has your child recently been diagnosed with dysgraphia?
There are a number of exercises that handwriting specialists recommend that are effective, easy, and fun to do at home.
For many children with dysgraphia just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line is difficult.
Help Your Child Feel Letters
Eliminating one sense experience has the power to heighten all others. Many experts recommend activities that will encourage your child to focus on feeling how a letter is made, rather than seeing this process.
For instance, you might try tracing a letter on your child’s back with your finger. You can also trace a letter on your youngster’s palm while his or her eyes are closed. Next, see if your child is able to reproduce this same letter on your palm or back, or on a piece of writing paper.
To make things more challenging, write a capital letter and then ask your little one to write the corresponding lower case letter or vice versa.
When children are diagnosed with dysgraphia, they often have a very hard time remembering how to correctly form their letters. One way that therapists attempt to make this process easier for children to remember, is by having them write in ways that involve multisensory materials and large motor movements.
When children are at home, they can spray large letters onto tile walls with shaving cream while taking their baths. They can alternatively smooth shaving cream onto the wall and then write their letters right into this foam using their fingers. They can even use a plastic tub filled with damp sand to practice writing letters. Another great strategy for increasing sensory input is by mixing sand and finger paint.
Encourage Your Child To Play with Playdough/ Clay
Playdough is an incredibly versatile tool for these purposes. Moreover, mistakes can be eliminated with almost no effort at all.
Start by rolling the playdough/clay out into long ropes so that your child can practice making letters with them. Not only does this improve fine motor skills but it additionally builds hand strength. Best of all, it helps reinforce the shapes of letters in your child’s mind as well.
Another practice method: Create a smooth layer of clay on a large cookie sheet.
Next, encourage your child to etch letters into the clay with his or her pencil. Clay provides excellent sensory feedback that actually gives the brain more info on how individual letters are formed.
Engage In Pinching Practice
Kids who struggle with writing often have a very difficult time holding their pencils properly. There are a number of pinching tools around the home that will help your child improve his or her pencil grip. Among these tools are kid’s chopsticks (joined together at one end), ice tongs, and tweezers.
This is a game you might want to try: Toss balls of paper scraps, pieces of breakfast cereal, or small erasers onto the table. Then, see how many of these things your kids can pick up in just one minute while using a pinching tool.
Play board games and move the pieces with pinching tools.
Engage in “organized” Storytelling.
Kids with dysgraphia can sometimes have difficulty organizing their thoughts. Practicing organized storytelling is a great way to help your child overcome this particular challenge.
At bedtime, have your child tell you all about his or her day. This should start with an introduction, for example, “Today was Friday, I had a very busy and exciting day for me and all my friends”. Have your child talk to you about the different things that he or she did during the morning hours, throughout the afternoon and in the evening. Your child can wrap the story up by telling you how the day was all-around.
This is an approach that you can use with any experience that your kid wants to share during structured Storytime.