Dyslexia is characterized by an impairment or weakness in the ability to write by hand. People with this syndrome do not have dementia or developmental delays and can still read well. Poor handwriting causes a lot of trouble when studying and working, so it needs to be treated early.
What is dyslexia?
Dysgraphia/Agraphia or dysgraphia is one of the common learning disorders. This term refers to an impairment or weakness in the ability to write by hand even though the patient is not mentally retarded, retarded, and is still able to read well. Typical symptoms of the disease are poor handwriting skills, frequent misspellings, and inappropriate word choice when writing.
Dyslexia can occur in both children and adults. Symptoms will appear from the first time a child learns to write but sometimes go unnoticed. The severity of this syndrome varies from patient to patient. Children with dyslexia are often at risk for other learning disorders and troubles and difficulties in the learning process.
Handwriting disorders are usually diagnosed when literacy is below the developmental level for age, education, and IQ. Therefore, children with developmental delays and low IQs who exhibit dyslexia are not diagnosed with this disorder.
Causes of writing disorders
Similar to dyslexia, the cause of dyslexia is unknown. Currently, the only factor experts have found is genetics. Some studies have shown that the risk of this condition increases if someone in the family has dyslexia.
In adults, handwriting disorders often occur after head trauma, and experts also find neurological damage to appear. This is the cause of the patient’s difficulty in writing by hand despite being able to read well and communicate normally.
Classification of writing disorders (Dysgraphia)
Dyslexia syndrome is divided into several clinical forms. Some children may have only one form or a combination of 2-3 types.
1. Difficulty writing test
Dyslexia is characterized by writing very quickly but the handwriting cannot be read. If the transcribed request is slow, the handwriting is easier to read but still not as clear as normal handwriting.
Dyslexic people often misspell – even with basic mistakes and frequent reminders. Patients are usually able to type well. This shows that people with dyslexia do not have cerebellar damage and do not have fine motor disorders (skills that use small muscles and joints such as fingers and hands).
2. Writing Movement Disorder
In contrast to dyslexia, dyskinesia is often associated with fine motor disorders. People with this form of the disease often have weak muscle tone, undeveloped fine motor or undirected muscle movement, so they are often clumsy and difficult to control the muscles of the hands and fingers at will.
People with dyskinesia write only simple words, and it takes a lot of effort and time to complete. Therefore, these people often do not maintain writing for a long time. Many people feel the pain of being forced to write for too long.
The handwriting of a person with dyslexia is often unclear, making it difficult to read – even they themselves cannot read. The size and shape of the letters are not suitable, it is difficult to read, the letters are crooked due to the difficult hand to hold the pen. Even so, spelling and reading abilities were completely normal. Because of the association with fine motor skills, people with dyslexia often type at a rather slow speed.
3. Spatial movement disorder
Spatial dyskinesia is often associated with impaired spatial perception. As a result, people with this form of the disease will have difficulty keeping the space between words and lines on a piece of paper.
The handwriting of a person with spatial dyskinesia is often illegible even after repeated copying at a slower rate. In addition, these people also hardly know how to draw, the shapes are not clear because they do not know how to calculate the distance. People with spatial dyskinesia can type, spell, and communicate normally.
Signs of dyslexia syndrome
The symptoms of dyslexia are quite diverse and the presentation will be different in each case. The extent of the syndrome is also not uniform across patients. However, families can detect early symptoms of dyslexia through the following signs:
- Lowercase letters are hard to read, weird letter shapes, irregular font sizes, line-scraping letters, uneven spacing, unfinished handwriting, etc.
- Children often prefer capital letters to lowercase letters. Children use capital letters in a messy and inappropriate way.
- There is a feeling that the patient is struggling to write.
- Children take a lot of time to write, even though they are not distracted or retarded. Some children with dyslexia even have higher-than-average IQs.
- Some children have an unusual way of holding a pen, despite careful family instruction.
- The speed of writing / copying is not uniform, sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow.
- Children tend to write and talk to themselves at the same time.
- Frequent misspellings, grammar, reverse word positions, inappropriate word usage, etc.
- Some children show signs of muscle spasms in the arms, creating an L-shaped arm, unable to retract the arm, etc.
- Children tend to shy away from drawing and writing by hand, often prefer typing because they have many difficulties in writing.
The most obvious symptom of a handwriting disorder is messy handwriting and is generally illegible even with good instruction. If the condition does not improve, the family should take the child to the doctor for timely diagnosis and treatment. In fact, many families believe that their children are too young to know how to hold a pen and write, preventing them from getting early intervention.
Dyslexia often accompanies other learning disorders. This syndrome can occur in healthy children but can also occur in children with neurological and psychiatric disorders such as high functioning autism, Tourette’s syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, etc.
Effects of dyslexia
Children with dyslexia will have a lot of trouble writing and drawing. This makes children take a long time to write, thereby not paying attention to the lecture and completing assignments later than their peers. Most children with dyslexia have poor to moderate academic performance despite fully understanding the lesson and understanding the teacher’s ideas.
Difficult to read handwriting makes children become self-deprecating, timid and afraid to communicate because they have to face teasing from friends. Without treatment, children can hardly learn and sometimes suffer from psychological problems such as stress, depression, anxiety disorders, etc.
Dyslexia needs to be diagnosed before treatment. In fact, some children have manifestations of this syndrome but do not have the disease at all due to their young age and low IQ. Therefore, the diagnosis process will take a long time and need experts from many fields such as paediatrics, psychology, education, etc.
Steps to diagnose dyslexia syndrome:
- Academic test
- Test of fine motor skills
- IQ test
- Have your child copy or write sentences to assess handwriting
During the diagnosis, your doctor will observe how you hold the pencil, your hand muscles, and other muscles in your body. Currently, this syndrome is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5). Therefore, the doctor will use the criteria in this handbook to make a definitive diagnosis. Similar to other learning disorders, dyslexia is diagnosed only when symptoms persist for at least 6 months.
Treatments for dyslexia (writing disorders)
Because the cause is unclear, there is currently no optimal treatment for dyslexia. Therapy can manage symptoms and help improve literacy, making it easier for children to learn and adults to work and live more comfortably.
1. Movement therapy
Movement therapy is done for children who have fine motor disorders and have difficulty grasping and holding a pen. Through this therapy, children will develop fine motor skills, making it easier to write by hand and type.
2. Memory training/restore therapy
Children with handwriting disorders often have poor memory. Therefore, children often forget the instructions of parents and teachers, leading to frequent misspellings, inappropriate use of capital letters, etc. Adults with dyslexia are often accompanied by memory impairment due to trauma. love.
Memory training/rehabilitation therapy is of great help in improving handwriting – especially word use, spelling, grammar and shape. Besides, this therapy also helps children increase their ability to learn and absorb better.
3. Treatment of neurological problems
Dyslexia syndrome is often associated with nerve damage (in adults) and neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, etc. receive therapy to improve the full range of impairments, including the ability to write by hand.
Some children will need medication to control accompanying neurological problems. Taking medication will not help with dyslexia, but it will help stabilize emotions and avoid stress. From there, children can receive therapeutic measures, improve their writing ability and learn better.
4. Use a calculator instead of handwriting
Although therapy can improve writing, the words of people with dyslexia are often difficult to read and take a long time to complete. Therefore, families should discuss with the school so that the child can write by typing instead of writing.
As writing improves, children can draw by hand and write short paragraphs. In the long run, literacy will improve and children can alternate using computers and handwriting.
5. Support measures
Children and adults with dyslexia will face many troubles in life. In addition to the main methods, a number of supportive measures should be applied to achieve high effectiveness in treatment.
Supportive measures to help manage dyslexia:
- Use special pens for people with dyslexia. This type of pen is called a Jumbo pencil with a hollow body structure to fix the pencil inside. Next to it are two hollow tubes to put the index finger and thumb in. Using Jumbo
- Pencils helps children with fine motor disorders who have difficulty holding a pen while writing.
- Use paper with braille lines to help children better line up. This will help children write letters in a straight line, avoiding confusion and crowding.
- Teachers should prepare lesson content so that children do not have to write. The content of the lesson should be shortened and built according to the outline for children to easily remember.
- Before writing, children should read and talk about what to write. From there, it helps children to have a specific picture and write better, with less spelling and grammar mistakes and minimizing the situation of using inappropriate words.
- Guide children to use the computer to complete assignments and take notes.
- Because children’s handwriting is difficult to read, teachers should encourage children to read their own work. Then record and transcribe.
Support measures will help children reduce annoyance and difficulties when learning. For adults, it is advisable to choose tasks that do not have to be handwritten to avoid inconvenience. To jot down small notes, you can use your phone or tablet instead of a notebook.
Advice for families and schools
Children with dyslexia will have many difficulties in the learning process. Therefore, the child’s psyche will be more sensitive than usual. In order for children to persevere in the treatment process, families and schools need to pay attention to the following issues:
- Do not scold, scold or urge the child to write quickly.
- When children practice writing, they should be encouraged and encouraged to stay motivated. In addition, children should be allowed to draw by hand because colorful pictures will help children get excited and less boring.
- Encourage your child to play games that use finger and hand muscles to increase fine motor skills.
- Regularly let children read books to familiarize them with words, have more vocabulary and use correct grammar.
- Cultivate children the habit of journaling. Initially, the child can speak and record. Then, play the recording for the child to transcribe.
- Make sure children are eating and living in moderation. Encourage children to play sports to improve health, reduce stress and pressure caused by the learning process.
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders. The symptoms of this syndrome appear quite early. Therefore, the family should pay attention to the ability to write by hand to promptly give the child examination and treatment.