Writing & LDs

Boy writing and smiling

Writing is a very complex task for anyone – and when writing isn’t working, figuring out what’s gone wrong is equally complex. Writing is composed of a great variety of skills, abilities and knowledge, including

  • specific fine-motor functions (penmanship)
  • language and reading skills
  • organizational abilities
  • putting thoughts into words
  • memory and attention

Sometimes the term Dysgraphia will be used for an LD impacting writing.

What Helps?

Find Out What’s Not Working

First, work to identify the problem in as much focus as possible; is it motor skills and poor penmanship that slow the process, or is it more an organization or memory issue? Finding the root issues will help in applying the correct solution.

Identify and Intervene Early

The earlier problems can be identified, the better. A student struggling with writing may need very specific remediation in the early years of school.

Remediation:  Meaning taking corrective action.  For example, a fine motor skills problem may be remediated through occupational therapy.

Accommodations: Meaning what can be provided to help. Examples include:

  • receive questions or answer orally
  • allow students more time for tests
  • allow the use of technology, for example, a computer

Break Down Writing into Steps

When a student is struggling, even a small written task can cause stress. Find ways to break it into chunks; maybe start a bullet point list to organize thoughts and use this to develop a full essay.

Assistive Technology

There are lots of programs and apps to help, but don’t overlook what you already have in Microsoft and Google products already on your devices. Speech to text is likely a core technology included in many mobile devices that will help with writing.