According to the website Understand for Learning and Attention Issues, Dysgraphia is a condition that causes trouble with written expression. The term comes from the Greek words dys (“impaired”) and graphia (“making letter forms by hand”). Dysgraphia is a brain-based issue. It’s not the result of a child being lazy. For many children with Dysgraphia, just holding a pencil and organizing letters on a line is difficult. Their handwriting tends to be messy. Many struggle with spelling and putting thoughts on paper. These and other writing tasks—like putting ideas into language that is organized, stored and then retrieved from memory—may all add to struggles with written expression.”
To learn more about dysgraphia and symptoms, click here.
If your child does have difficulties with writing, the book Terrific Teddy’s Writing Wars by Jim Forgan, PhD is a perfect pick! In this book, the main character Teddy struggles with his writing skills and feels like he is in a “writing war”. Teddy says to himself “Even when I try my hardest, my letters were too big, too far apart, and too sloppy. That made me only want to write short, easy sentences”.
Teddy tries different strategies to help improve his writing skills with no success until he meets Mrs. May. Mrs. May gives Teddy strategies and suggestions of accomodations so that he can succeed better in the classroom. At first, Teddy is embarrassed by using a pencil that looks different from his classmates, but when his writing and letter formulation are significantly improved, he appreciates having the special pencil. His teacher makes him feel even more special by having a Fun Pencil Party to give the other children in the class the opportunity to use a pencil of their choice.
I love Jim Forgan’s books because he has a strategy of explaining different disabilities and disorders in a way that feels accepting, comforting and easy to understand for both children and adults. Like his other two children’s books, Jim Forgan, PhD offers two optional endings to the reader. The reader has the option to discuss the term with the child (e.g. “dysgraphia”) or can describe it instead of labeling the difficulty. Jim also offers suggestions to the parent in the beginning of the book on how to read the book to your child. The book is thoughtful, well written and contains important information for children with dysgraphia and their parents. In addition, it can also help raise awareness when read within a classroom setting.