Written Expression

 
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2018 Texas Dyslexia Handbook / New chapter on Dysgraphia on p 59

The TEA describes dysgraphia as a term associated with a learning disability in writing. It includes both the physical act of writing and the quality of written expression.  Students with dysgraphia may demonstrate difficulties in one or more of the following areas of writing: handwriting & pencil grip, letter, word, & sentence level, spelling, generation, planning, drafting & organization, grammar & mechanics, and rate & automaticity.

 

From the Texas Dyslexia Handbook: “Texas state law requires districts and charter schools to identify students who have dyslexia and related disorders. Texas Education Code §38.003 identifies the following examples of related disorders: developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability. Recent research in the field of dysgraphia has prompted the addition of the following guidance regarding the evaluation, identification, and provision of services for students with dysgraphia.” (p 59)

 

The Texas Dyslexia Handbook includes extensive information about the characteristics of dysgraphia, including

  • procedures for evaluation

  • areas to assess

  • procedures for identification

  • handwriting instruction

  • spelling instruction

  • writing instruction

  • accommodations 

 

Also, in 2019 Texas passed House Bill 3, which provides money to schools specifically to identify and serve students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other related disorders.


The route for evaluation of dysgraphia is a Full Individual Evaluation (FIE). To learn more, visit the Evaluation page.

What is Written Expression Disorder?

Written expression disorder is a learning disability in writing. People who have it struggle to put their ideas into writing. They also make frequent mistakes in grammar and punctuation. They might have the greatest ideas, but their writing is disorganized and full of grammar and punctuation mistakes. 

 

When people struggle with written expression, it can show up in different ways. Here are some things you might see…

  • Basic grammar mistakes, like missing verbs or incorrect noun-verb agreement

  • Sentences that don’t make sense

  • Disorganized essays and papers

  • Written work that seems incomplete

  • Complaining about not being able to think of what to write or not knowing where to start

  • Sitting for a long time at a desk without writing

  • Finishing a writing task quickly without giving it much thought

Dysgraphia: What You Need to Know

If your child struggles with writing, you might hear some people call it dysgraphia. This term refers to challenges in the skills needed to produce writing. That includes handwriting, typing, and spelling.

Learn more about dysgraphia and how you can help your child improve skills that are key to writing. 

Understanding Dysgraphia

Why is diagnosis of dysgraphia and related learning disabilities important?

Without diagnosis, children may not receive early intervention or specialized instruction in all the relevant skills that are interfering with their learning of written language. Considering that many schools do not have systematic instructional programs in handwriting and spelling, it is important to assess whether children need explicit, systematic instruction in handwriting and spelling in addition to word reading and decoding. Many schools offer accommodations in testing and teaching to students with dysgraphia, but these students also need ongoing, explicit instruction in handwriting, spelling, and composition.

Support for Written Expression / Dysgraphia in School

 

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) via Special Education*

  • Data-based assessment of student’s present levels of functioning in written expression, handwriting, etc (ie. the student’s needs and how disability in this area impacts progress in the curriculum)

  • Goals in IEP related to written expression / dysgraphia (Ex. ”When given a writing assignment, [student] will independently create a keyword outline. He will have the main topic and [number of] supporting points as a basis for the essay.” or  “When given writing assignments in the general curriculum, [student] will edit his writing for spelling, punctuation, and grammar. [student] will have fewer than [number of] overlooked errors per [number of] words, without assistance.”)

  • Progress monitoring in IEP to see if student is meeting individualized goals to grow in skills and close gap with peers

  • Services of specialized teachers to teach your child how to achieve their individualized goals and monitor their progress towards meeting goals. For dysgraphia, this could include ongoing, explicit instruction in handwriting, spelling, composition, etc.

  • Assistive technology evaluation to determine individual student needs and best technology to support student (speech-to-text, note-taking, etc)

  • Monitoring teacher who oversees student’s performance and challenges in all classes. Also coordinates support between student, parent & educators.

  • Classes with an In Class Support teacher for additional support, additional tutorials, etc.

  • Accommodations to address student’s unique needs in IEP such as “Provide typed copy of notes” or “Access to a word processor for writing” or “Worksheets on the computer, not paper.”

504 Plan

  • Accommodations as noted above in IEP plan 

  • Possible access to some assistive technology that district chooses to provide to all dyslexic students 

* Reminder: All services provided via special education should be provided in the least restrictive environment, which is a typical classroom whenever possible. Special education is a service, not a place.

Links to Learn More

For both IEPs and 504 Plans: Classroom Accommodations to Help Students with Dysgraphia

 

Dysgraphia | Symptoms | Accommodations | IEP Goals | Interventions

 

10 Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives for Writing | Written Expression

 

Book: From Talking to Writing: Strategies for Supporting Narrative and Expository Writing

If your child has dysgraphia and / or has trouble getting thoughts on paper, this book comes highly recommended. It contains very parent-friendly language and is also a great gift for your child's English teacher! Find on Amazon