It's been a tumultuous week resulting in new recommendations that many of us stay away from our normal community support networks (school, work, after school activities, and more.) Dysgraphia Life highly encourages that you regularly review and follow the science-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations. However, what that means for many of us is that we are facing unexpected weeks home with kids. How can you make the best of use some of that time? Here are a few suggestions to support learning for those with dysgraphia during this crazy time.
Spelling Sight Words - While it's not realistic that parents who may be working from home start teaching their kids an entire structured phonics-based curriculum, one easy place to start is using multi-sensory approaches to work on sight words. One useful source is the Dolch Sight Word lists, these are the most common words grouped by grade. Aim to teach 1-2 words a week. IMSE, who calls these "red words" (non-phonetic), suggests that you cluster each word in groups of 2 to 3 letters (b e - c a u - s e) and use multi-sensory approaches. This includes things like writing the word on paper put on top of sandpaper for a more tactile feel, saying the letters out loud while tapping them on your arm, and writing letters in sand (find sand options here and here, and a useful tray here).
Handwriting Practice - It's your time to make a structured schedule for your kids and decide what's on it. While writing is likely their least favorite activity, doing it daily in small amounts can bring big benefits. Consider daily journaling or writing creative stories using structured handwriting paper. If you are able to work with your kids daily, it may be a good time to teach cursive. (Read our blog post about the benefits!)
Typing - Computer skills become critical for kids with dysgraphia as they begin to use assistive technology. Weeks out of school are an ideal time for a daily 10-15 minute typing lesson using many of the free sites that are out there. Check out Dance Mat Typing, Typing Club, the ABCya typing games, or many more. If they have some typing skills already and are working on speed and proficiency, the Nitro Type racecar game is a fan favorite.
Fun and games (with motor skills)! - While out of school, the kids want to play! Why not supplement playtime with a few new games that work on their motor skills while they don't even know it? A few of our favorites:
New skills - There are a lot of great online learning sites out there. Now is a great time to investigate! Research science projects, learn a new language, or develop coding skills. Leave us a comment below on your favorite websites to use.
Please stay safe during this difficult time!
The Dysgraphia Life team
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