Dysgraphia

DysgraphiaDysgraphia? There is early intervention.

Dysgraphia is characterized by a difficulty in written expression. This generally includes very messy handwriting; poor spelling and reading skills; and a problem with words and ideas coming smoothly. These are all skills that are predominantly handles in the left side of the brain. Click here for a list of Dysgraphia Symptoms.

Dysgraphia is a brain-based disability. Contrary to what many think, it is not a lack of practice. Is a matter of fact, these children usually work much harder to accomplish the same writing assignments as their classmates. They generally put way more effort in, or get so frustrated that they start to withdraw and avoid it all together. It is so hard to watch them struggle with little or no improvement. Mommy and child usually end up crying at homework time.

Good News!

The good news is that there are interventions. Because Dysgraphia originates with a weakness in the brain function, it can be stimulated to improve with simple exercises. That’s right! In 1948 Jerzy Konorski, a Polish Neurologist, first introduced neuroplasticity, the brains ability to reorganize and rewire. It wasn’t until recently that tests and studies were done that proved his theory. We can rewire neurologically to solve problems.

Below, we will go into interventions you can do right at home to help reverse dysgraphia.

Unlock Brilliance Method

Like most of the other disabilities, it is important to make sure they have eliminated the trouble makers and strengthened the weak sensory and cognitive functions. See our Unlock Brilliance page for these simple tests and exercises.

Short and Long term memory, as well as working memory play a very big roll in the ability to form letters, word, sentences and thoughts. There are many exercises online to help with these, so we won’t go into that here. Google ‘how to improve memory’ to find a lot of great idea.

Visual-Spatial ability is important very important in handwriting. There is a very good book by Dianna Craft called Smart Kids Who Hate To Write. We highly recommend this book for more info on the Visual-Spatial activities for handwriting.

Executive Function

After you see a good amount of improvement in the above areas, start working on games to help them improve organization. We do this last, because it is a higher function of the brain that may not have developed well if the other functions were lacking. Now that they have improved the other functions, it is time to help them with their Executive Functions, specifically Organization.

  • Get objects around the house that they can organize or sort and categorize in different ways.
  • Sit down and talk with them about something they are passionate about. Make mental lists and help them to organize and categorize them verbally or on paper. For example, if they love Legos, talk about the different Minifigures they make. Talk about some that could go in the same color category or some that go to the same movie or story. You could look up cute ones online and help them draw them in different groups in a note book. Anything you can do to get them organizing items and thoughts. It has been proven that children learn more and retain more if it is a subject they are passionate about.
  • Help them recall memories of past events or activities and put them into categories. For example outdoor activities & indoor activities or  birthday parties & school parties etc.

Try to do the interventions with them daily or at least a few time per week. Keep it within their attention span and use incentives.  It sounds like a lot to tackle, but just take it slow. Keep it fun. And enjoy the one-on-one time with your child. You are improving a life.

 

Dysgraphia Symptoms

If you notice that your child struggles with writing, Dysgraphia may be the reason why. Even holding a writing tool correctly can be difficult and your child may complain of their hand getting tired quickly. Children with Dysgraphia struggle to use their fine motor skills, the small muscles in their hands. Below is a list of Dysgraphia symptoms. Click here to read more about Dysgraphia.

 

Dysgraphia Symptoms

  • Handwriting is illegible
  • Letter sizes and shapes are irregular
  • Incomplete letters
  • Struggles to communicate through writing
  • Awkward pencil grip
  • Makes spelling mistakes often
  • Says words aloud while writing
  • Avoids writing or drawing
  • Missing or incomplete words in sentences
  • Trouble with grammar and sentence structure
  • Insufficient use of paper lines and spaces
  • Pain in hand or arm while writing
  • Tires easily when writing
  • Wanders outside the lines when coloring
  • Can’t get comfy when writing or drawing
  • Copying or writing is slow
  • Struggles to think and write at the same time
  • Struggles with fine motor skills
  • May have strong verbal and reading skills to compensate
  • Handwriting might be worse when chewing gum

 

Symptoms can vary from person to person and no two children are the same, so your child may also display different symptoms than the ones listed above. Despite your child’s diagnosis, these interventions can be helpful. You should consult a professional if you suspect your child has Dysgraphia. Difficulty with writing doesn’t need to hold your child back or reduce their self confidence. Seek support and treatment to ensure they are able to succeed and thrive both socially and academically.

Click here to read more about Dysgraphia

Retained Rooting Reflex

rooting Reflex Exercises

The Rooting Reflex is important in helping an infant locate food and breast feeding. It develops during pregnancy and continues until the baby is about 4 months old.  You will notice the Rooting Reflex in a newborn if you brush your finger down one side of the mouth. The baby will turn toward the stroke and open the mouth. This is normal but should integrate (disappear) by about 4 months. If it is not properly integrated, it can contribute to problems in speech, writing, eating disorders and Thyroid problems. Be sure to do the Retained Rooting Reflex Test on your child.

Children with eating disorders aggravated by a Retained Rooting Reflex will have a constant urge to have something in their mouth, yet are often sensitive to textures. These one end up being the one that is always chewing on something plastic, drools or struggles to form their words properly. The Retained Rooting Reflex can cause the tongue to lie to far forward in the mouth. This can cause difficulty swallowing and chewing their food.

 

Retained Rooting Reflex Symptoms

  • Tongue lies too far forward
  • Hyper sensitive around mouth
  • Difficulty with textures and solid foods
  • Thumb sucking
  • Speech and articulation problems
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Dribbling
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Thyroid problems and autoimmune tendency
  • Dexterity problems when talking
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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Retained Palmar Reflex or Grasp Reflex

Palmar Reflex The Palmar Reflex aka Grasp Reflex is seen when an infant grips around an object that touches their palm. This is normal and helps the baby learn to grip and hang on to things with their hands. The palmar reflex develops in the third month of gestation and should disappear at around 3-6 months of age as they gain hand control. It is needed for hand-eye coordination, proper vision, and direction/distance judgement.  If it isn’t properly integrated it can contribute to an array of problems.

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 Retained Palmar Reflex Symptoms

  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Poor Fine Muscle Control
  • Poor dexterity
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Poor vision coordination
  • Slumpy posture when using hands
  • Back aches when sitting
  • Sticks tongue out when using hands
  • Poor pencil grip
  • Poor ability to put thoughts to paper
  • Dysgraphia
  • Speech and language problems
  • Anger control issues
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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Retained Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex Exercises

The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, like the Spinal Gallant Reflex (SGR), helps the infant do their part of emergence through the birth canal and learn hand and eye control. You will notice it in an infant if you turn the head to one side. The arm and leg on the same side will straighten, while the arm and leg on the opposite side will flex. The Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex develops at 18 weeks after conception and should be integrated and gone by about 6 months after birth. If not, it can cause motor issues, reading, math, and other learning problems.

The connection between the hand and eyes help develop depth perception and eye-hand coordination. If ATNR is retained the child will have difficulty walking normally when turning his head or problems writing and reading when head movement is needed, which is always. For example, writing while looking back and forth to the blackboard or a book.

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex Symptoms

  • Reading Difficulties
  • Hand eye coordination problems
  • Awkward walk or gait
  • Difficulty in school
  • Immature handwriting
  • Difficulty in sports
  • Math and reading issues
  • Poor balance
  • Eye, ear, foot, and hand dominance will not be on the same side
  • Difficulty in things that require crossing over the midline of the body
  • Poor depth perception
  • Shoulder, neck and hip problems
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.

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