Dysgaphia is commonly understood as a disorder of handwriting. However it is more than that. It impacts self-cares such as learning to tie shoes, buttoning, zipping, and any in hand manipulative task such as eating, etc.
It is not an issue that can be resolved by “tutoring”. It is brain-based and is simply stated the translation of a cognitive image into a purposeful and correct motor response.
In other words, what you “see” in your mind is what you produce in with your hands.
Although this often first becomes evident in school when the child cannot write legibly there were probably earlier signs that went un-noticed because the child was young (and the thought was “they will outgrow this”).
Without Occupational Therapy treatment children do not “outgrow” Dysgraphia. The visual sensory perceptual motor skills involved in remediating Dysgraphia are outlined below. Getting these skills to work in harmony with each other is the art and science of occupational therapy intervention.
Perceptual Sensory Motor Factors Impacting Dysgraphia
Small muscle strength (this is not related to or about exercise or strengthening).
- It is neurological and relates to muscle tone.
- Ability to sustain a grip/demonstrate resistance and co-contraction.
- Isolation of individual finger movements
- This includes visual tracking/scanning and the ability to follow an object, as it is moving.
- Visual pursuits inclusive of copy skills should be consistent and not require a lot of verbal cueing.
- Visual memory should be automatic
- The ability to competently hold a pencil/paint brush
- Make smooth connected strokes
- Use a functional pincer grasp (for writing)
- Ability to sustain a stable hold on the object in the hand (utensil, toothbrush, pencil, etc.)
There are 7 realms of perception:
- Discrimination: (discerning one object from another)
- Form Constancy: (recognition of form in various sizes)
- Visual Memory: (retention of a visual form)
- Visual Spatial Relationships: (different orientations)
- Visual Sequential memory: (specific items in order)
- Figure-Ground: (overlay discrimination)
- Visual Closure: (part-whole; visual completion)