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Visual/Motor Processing (Writing) Dysfunction Characteristics

One of the most common processing glitches to affect children is an interference in the writing system (spatial, visual/motor, or sometimes referred to as grapho-motor). When the process of writing has not become automatic, taken over in the right hemisphere of the brain, the child has to expend much energy to write. This processing glitch greatly impacts students because writing is involved in so many learning activities and areas. Often, parents and other adults report that the student appears lazy, uncooperative, and/or unmotivated. Take a look and see if your child is exhibiting many of the following symptoms which may indicate stress or disruption of the writing system:

  • Reversals in written letters both laterally and vertically, six months after being taught to write them correctly if written daily.
  • Reversals in written numbers.
  • Poor spacing in writing.
  • Difficulty copying from book or board.
  • Resistance to learning or writing cursive.
  • Displaying awkward writing posture, with eye and hand very close together.
  • No “helping hand” used when writing despite being instructed to do so.
  • Failure to complete written assignments despite performing well on tests.
  • Spaces math papers poorly.
  • Tells great stories orally, but writes very little.
  • Leaves out letters in a spelling test, but could spell the word orally correctly.
  • Wants to do all math “in his head,” no matter how long the problem is.

Resources for Correcting Writing Dysfunction

  • Seek an evaluation and services with an Occupational Therapist.
  • Reduce the writing load.
  • Allow for oral narration, retelling, or oral presentations.
  • Eliminate copying tasks until the child’s visual-motor skills/handwriting improves.
  • Do timed math tests orally, if possible.
  • Do the Writing Eight Exercise designed by Dr. Getman, to encourage the child’s kinesthetic midline to function well, eliminating both lateral and vertical reversals. This daily exercise, when done in a deliberate, monitored manner, will convert the writing process to the automatic hemisphere. The exercise is described in the manual Brain Integration Therapy for Children by Dianne Craft.
  • After the child has a strong midline, then you can use the writing program Handwriting Without Tears or The Rhythm of Handwriting.
  • Teach your child keyboarding to encourage computer use for longer papers.
  • LinguiSystems has several books that talk about writing issues, such as the dysgraphia described in the characteristics section.
  • Smart Kids Who Hate to Write” DVD by Dianne Craft

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