2022 LDA Conference Presentation

Support for Dysgraphia: Understanding Impact, Identifying Resources, and Creating an AdvocacyCommunity Around Learning Disabilities of Written Expression

This talk was originally presented at the 2022 Learning Disabilities Association of America Annual Conference in New Orleans on January 27th, 2022 by Jennifer C. King, PhD

Handouts of the  webinar slides are available here:  ​

Abstract:

Understanding and identifying learning disabilities of written expression, sometimes known as dysgraphia, is critical to ensuring optimal success for affected students. Some effective interventions and accommodations exist but parents and educators are often unprepared to adequately assess and support their learners. The objectives of this session are for participants to:

1. Understand the impact of learning disabilities of written expression/dysgraphia and the unique needs of students who are impacted.

2. Identify existing resources and strategies to recognize dysgraphia and provide appropriate support.

3. Define the benefits of advocacy for the dysgraphia community.

 

Learning disabilities of written expression impact handwriting, spelling, and/or composition – often impacting all three functions at once. In a recent poll of parents whose children are impacted (n=97), 39% reported penmanship/handwriting as the predominant form of difficulty for their student but nearly as many reported organization of thoughts/composition (35%) and spelling (23%) and many mentioned the prevalence all three as write-in comments.There is not much awareness about this type of learning disability in the public or within school systems and the term "dysgraphia" is defined in different ways by different audiences. This confusion helps contribute to underdiagnosis and students who do not receive sufficient support or accommodations.

 

This lecture will be informed by a growing dysgraphia community who shares lived experiences and learns from professionals working in the field. During this lecture, the presenter will review how dysgraphia often manifests and how assessments can help pinpoint the specific challenges. The presenter will also review existing resources and strategies that both parents and educators can use to support their students. Because dysgraphia requires a multidisciplinary approach to support students, the presenter will review key support team members and share ways to coordinate support both in and outside of school. In addition, the presenter will discuss the value of self-advocacy for students and parents as well as national advocacy and raising awareness about learning differences in written expression to build a strong community to advance key goals.