Many children have an overall weakness in the area of writing, which makes getting assignments finished a real struggle at home and school. Writing weaknesses often accompany ADHD, dyslexia, and learning disabilities, or can be the specific diagnosis of dysgraphia (a learning disability that directly affects writing abilities). We need to identify writing difficulties and properly support our students through effective accommodations.
Writing deficits can be seen in some of the following ways:
- Poor handwriting- Student writing demonstrates general illegibility revealing inconsistencies in letter formation, mixing of cursive and print, mixing of capitals and lower case, and irregular shapes and sizes of letters.
- Poor spelling skills.
- Difficulty putting thoughts on paper- Students can verbally provide ideas, but cannot get those same ideas down on paper when trying to compose sentences and paragraphs.
- Note taking difficulty.
- Slow writing speed.
- Cramped or unusual pencil grip.
- Student self talk while writing.
- Writing content that is not a reflection of oral language skills.
Below are some general writing accommodations to implement at home or school to assist students with completing writing tasks.
- Offer different writing tools- pens, pencils and/or pencil grips the student finds comfortable.
- Provided specialized paper with raised lines or highlighted areas.
- Offer multi-sensory techniques for learning letters.
- Grade assignments only on content.
- Allow extra time for assignments.
- Student can dictate to an adult or into a computer, iPad, or other handheld device.
- Student can type their work on a computer, iPad, or handheld device.
- Teach the use of the spell checkers.
- For note-taking:
- Provide a copy of peer’s notes or of teacher notes.
- Provide partially completed outlines or graphic organizers for the student to fill in the blank during lectures.
Check out the following links, from understood.org, for additional accommodations.
- At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Dysgraphia
- Assistive Technology for Writing
Written by Elizabeth Hipwell, M.Ed.