It’s not unusual for kids to have both dyslexia and dysgraphia. Dyslexia is primarily associated with trouble reading. But it can also affect writing, spelling and even speaking. Dysgraphia mostly shows up as writing difficulties. Kids with dysgraphia may struggle with handwriting, organizing their thoughts on paper or with both of these activities.
Dyslexia and dysgraphia are brain-based issues. Both tend to emerge during childhood, although some people may not be diagnosed until later in life. Psychologists can get insights into how your child thinks and figure out the specific brain processes that are giving her difficulty. This will make it easier to find strategies that can help her with these lifelong challenges.
Children and adults with dyslexia process and interpret information differently than people who don’t have dyslexia. Scientists have also found that many people with dyslexia have trouble distinguishing or separating the sounds in spoken words. Some children have problems sounding out unfamiliar words. Others have trouble with rhyming games, such as rhyming cat with bat.
These skills are fundamental to learning to read. Fortunately, reading specialists have developed techniques that can help many kids with dyslexia acquire these skills.
Some children aren’t discovered to have reading issues until later in their school yearswhen the focus shifts from word identification to reading comprehension. That’s because there’s more to reading than recognizing words. If it takes your child a long time to sound out each individual word, it may be hard for her to remember the words long enough to understand the meaning of the sentence or paragraph.
Reading speed and fluency also play a role in being able to connect new information to concepts your child already knows. Audiobooks and other tools can help her improve reading comprehension.
Dysgraphia may not be as widely discussed as dyslexia, but it’s surprisingly common. Dysgraphia can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling and grammar, poor handwriting or trouble putting thoughts on paper.
Writing involves many skills and many parts of the brain. It’s important to understand which areas your child is having trouble with.
If she struggles with handwriting, a keyboard might help. If she has trouble organizing her thoughts, try using a graphic organizer and other kinds of assistive technology. Talk with your child’s doctor and teacher. They can help you find ways to improve her writing skills and reading comprehension.