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Dysgraphia: A Common Twin of ADHD

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Seldom do I see a child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) who does not have at least one co-exisiting, or comorbid disability or disorder. The population of children with ADHD has a very high rate of difficulty with handwriting. From personal observation, I see everything from forced, heavy handed small print to large, immature, poorly spaced writing. Frequently these children are never comfortable with cursive writing. Even in adulthood, they continue to print when they have the option to do so.

According to evaluations I have seen, there appears to be a high rate of visual perceptual problems in varying degrees. A teacher once told me that if a child is not writing cursive comfortably by the fifth grade, they should be allowed to print. By that time, emphasis should be on content, not a handicapping style of writing. I believe older youngsters should be given the regular use of a computer to produce written work, especially that of creative writing. For many reasons, the computer often bypasses the short circuits in the complicated process of writing for these children. Computer use, (assistive technology), frequently reduces distractibility.

If your child can produce much more acceptable work on the computer, or if you suspect that is the case, you have the right to ask for such technology on a regular basis for your child. If there is an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for your child I highly recommend that specific use of the computer for writing be written into the IEP. Don't leave it to chance that maybe your child will do some writing on a computer. Don't be misled if you are told all the children use the computer. Be sure it is not just keyboard instruction. All children are supposed to have instruction on the computer. Children with difficulty writing need the immediate reinforcement and praise for good content, even if they have to hunt and peck for awhile.

See to it that the team writes in detail when, and how much, and for what purpose your child will be on the computer. Check the IEP as soon as this is supposedly decided. I would say 98% of the time, we see the district has just written in "creative writing" without the words "on the computer". It happens far too often to be coincidence.

If your child needs assistive technology, such as a computer, to bring performance level up to peers, the school district should provide that technology.

Information at this site is not to be construed as legal advice. If you need such advice be sure to contact an attorney who specializes in special education matters.

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