How to Cope with Having Dysgraphia

Three Methods:Coping with Dysgraphia as a StudentCaring for a Child with DysgraphiaAdvocating for People with Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability which greatly affects a person's ability to write in an organized manner. This can include inappropriately sized letters, odd spacing and misspelling even after instruction.[1] If you have been diagnosed with dysgraphia, you must learn to cope with it. Learn how to deal with this disability in your own life or in the life of your child.

Method 1
Coping with Dysgraphia as a Student

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    Accept yourself. Denying the fact that you have dysgraphia, or any disability for that matter is simply going to worsen things for you. Know you have a disability, but don't think of it as a necessarily negative thing. Think of yourself as different, think of yourself as unique. Just because you cannot express your thoughts on paper as legibly and coherently as everyone else doesn't mean you are any worse than any other person.[2]
    • Having a disability is not something you can control so it is often helpful to treat it as you would any medical condition. Learn about the symptoms and find ways to address them without negative self judgment. This type of disability has nothing to do with intelligence and should not be seen as a sign of lowered IQ.[3]
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    Practice writing. Devote some time every day to practice forming letters, and writing in a comprehensible manner. This may sound strange, but it is extremely helpful to people with dysgraphia. You wouldn't be able to write in a neat, comprehensible manner overnight, as it obviously takes a lot of time, but you might get there.
    • Writing practice can help to strengthen the muscles as well and improve the overall writing.[4]
    • Keep in mind that it might be faster to develop alternate methods of expression, such as typing or dictation.
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    Amp up your typing skills. For dysgraphic people, typing is a much easier task than writing by hand. Become proficient at typing as soon as possible. You can use this at home for yourself and in school if you can get accommodations.
    • Even for assignments that are required to be hand written you can ask for an accommodation to be allowed to type your work based on the disability. You have the right to reasonable accommodations.[5]
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    Work on your fine motor skills. Dysgraphia doesn't necessarily just alter your writing skills; it can affect your hand-eye coordination and your motor skills immensely, as well. It can even affect some of your abilities to put things in order and memory as well.[6]
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    Talk to people. If you feel bad about being dysgraphic—and you shouldn’t--express your feelings through communication. This will help to lift your spirits and make you feel as if you aren't any different from anyone else.
    • Talk to fellow dysgraphics, especially. Ask them how they cope with it. You mind find out something helpful!
    • Check scores with other people. If you think you are being discriminated against, ask other people what they got points off for on a given assignment, and if they did many of the things you got dinged for without losing anything.

Method 2
Caring for a Child with Dysgraphia

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    Recognize the signs and symptoms of dysgraphia. In general, dysgraphia impairs a person’s handwriting and fine motor skills. There are various signs that can help you spot dysgraphia in your child so that you can get professional help. Common signs of dysgraphia include:[7]
    • Illegible cursive or print handwriting
    • Inconsistencies in handwriting, such as upper and lower case letter, combinations of print and cursive, irregular sizes or shapes of letters
    • Unusual grip and/or complaints of a sore hand
    • Slow or labored copying or writing
    • Strange wrist, body, or paper positioning
    • Unfinished or unformed letters or omitted words
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    Have your child professionally tested for dysgraphia. If your child shows some of the common signs, then get them tested for dysgraphia. Testing can confirm that your child actually is struggling with this condition and inform health care providers and teachers on how to help.
    • Testing for dysgraphia includes IQ testing, educational testing, tests to measure physical muscle control for handwriting and creating writing samples to be examined for spelling, letter spacing and sizing.[8]
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    Refrain from assuming that dysgraphia is a minor problem. Dysgraphia can give any student an extremely difficult time at school. It is not a widely known disorder, but that doesn't mean that it should be overlooked.
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    Understand that dysgraphia is not lethargy. Your child's notes are incomplete and written shabbily solely due to the fact that they do not have the capacity to write in the same manner as everyone else, and not due to laziness.[9]
    • One way to help a child overcome the effects of dysgraphia is to ask their school for help with keyboarding and accommodations to use computers for assignments.
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    Do not force anything upon your child. Be encouraging towards them, but don't force them to keep practicing writing, and don't reprimand them if they don't master writing quickly. Let them get the hang of it at their own pace.[10]
    • Children with dysgraphia are often experiencing difficulty writing due to physical muscle control issues and the fact that their brain just works differently. It can take more practice and time for them to learn things that may come easy to others.
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    Be supportive and positive towards your child. Make him or her feel good about the effort being put towards improving handwriting. Praise your child using phrases like “Good job” or “Nice try” when you see he or she is trying as hard as he can. You might also incorporate a few strategies at home to help your child with handwriting. These include:[11]
    • Allow the child to feel the letter rather than seeing it. Trace a letter on his back and see if he can repeat it on paper.
    • Help him improve his pinching grip through the use of common household tools like tweezers or chopsticks.
    • Ensure he gets adequate exercise to improve muscle strength and coordination. Effective activities might include shooting basketball, rope-climbing, or doing planks and push-ups.
    • Suggest that your child record his thoughts and ideas on a device before trying to put them down on paper.
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    Get accommodations. Look up 504 plans and Individualized Education Plans , or IEP. You will probably have to fight the school to get one of these, so look up how to do so as well. Having adequate evidence in the form of assessments and consultation reports from various specialists can help you get your child the accommodations he or she deserves.[12]

Method 3
Advocating for People with Dysgraphia

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    Help raise awareness. Raising your voice about your own or a loved one’s experiences with dysgraphia can start a conversation about this condition. If everyone started talking about it, the condition would be more easily recognized in schools and workplaces and people can learn how to better support those living with dysgraphia. Sharing what you know with others can go a long way.[13]
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    Tell your own story. There will be people who will try to tell you that you are perfectly normal and don't need any help. If they are right, you don't need to be reading this article. Gently correct the ones who mean well, and be wary of the ones who don't mean well. They will be the main opposition force in your life, along with the people who simply don't want to deal with you (and there will be those too). Know what you need and make it happen. Teachers will find it much harder to fight you in person, every day, then fighting your parents over e-mail and phone once a week.
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    Keep getting educated about the condition. Take some time to learn more about both the educational and workplace rights for people with disabilities to protect yourself or your loved one with dysgraphia. There are many resources available for children and adults who are either students or employees.[14]


  • If you are a parent, talk to your child's teachers, explaining the condition to them. Try convincing them to let your child use an electronic device to type on.
  • Try to step into your child's shoes, to understand how they feel.
  • Know that with appropriate help, you can succeed, despite your dysgraphia.
  • Abbreviate when possible. This will avoid wasting precious legibility on unnecessary words. For example, write "running hard." instead of "Bob generally found running to be an arduous activity." Obviously, do not do this when complete sentences are required.


  • Be wary of the people who tell you that you are perfectly fine. Few who say this mean well. Most of the time, it is a calculated effort to trick you into "admitting" that you do not need accommodations or help. You do need accommodations and/or help, or you would not be reading this.
  • Be wary of the people who tell you to "just try harder." Most mean well and are simply ignorant, but this behavior is still destructive and needs to be stopped. Gently correct them and explain your situation and/or refer them to other sources.
  • Dysgraphia is rather obscure, and is not recognized in many schools.

Article Info

Categories: Attention and Developmental Disorders | Disability Issues