Dysgraphia in a 14 year old

We have a new diagnosis of dysgraphia in my 14 year old son.  We're not surprised at all--he's always struggled with both penmanship and composition.  His diagnosis also includes very mild inattentive-type ADHD, a math fluency problem, and slow processing speed.  So, how can we help him?  We had his assessment done at the UCB Psych Clinic and they gave us a list of names/agencies that could help, but I am looking for more personal recommendations for tutors, educational therapists, etc.  It is the dysgraphia that concerns me the most, so someone who really knows about that would be ideal.  It would be especially great if the recommendations were for people close to Rockridge/Elmwood, but at this point I'll take what I can get.  In case it matters, our son is in OUSD and otherwise has no issues.  He has great friends, is relatively happy, and is also athletic (which helps his self-esteem--struggling in school has otherwise damaged his self-esteem).  Thank you!

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RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

I believe there is a specialized Kumon center above the old cleaners across from the Safeway on College Avenue. I never noticed it until one of my students came out of the door! He was a very smart but struggling learner when I had him and it had apparently gotten worse as he grew older. His mom had great things to say about the tutoring there.

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

You might want to consider the HANDLE Institute, Holistic Approach to Neuro Developmental Learning Efficiency. Our local practitioner is Sindy Wilkinson in Lafayette, at the Enhanced Learning and Growth Center 925-934-3500. It's expensive but includes six months worth of visits and custom exercises, as well as her expertise. I wish I had found this when my son was your son's age, when I could still insist that he do stuff, and that we could do together. My son is 33 now and still has the same problems... not to say for sure that he wouldn't have them, but he would have better strategies. After a certain point, kids no longer let their moms do these interventions. Good luck! Bonnie

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

My son worked with a wonderful occupational therapist named Liz Isono.  Her number is (510) 717-1300.

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

You should for sure get him evaluated for assistive technology needs at the Center for Assistive Technology on Adeline, I think it is, across from the Ashby BART.   Dysgraphia can be a real bottleneck and gets more humiliating for the kid the older they get. They need to get keyboarding and dictating so that doing homework isn't such an ordeal. ModMath is a free app that we used. You can check it out and see if he likes it.  We worked with Laura Hoffman. She will come to your house or the local library.  We've referred lots of kids to her and they love her. She's great with sensitive and high anxiety kids.  her # is 510-798-9576 Good luck! 

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

We have dealt with dysgraphia too, and mild ADHD, and have a tutor in El Cerrito who has been caring and is well-loved by our son.  Her name is Ann Levinsohn, and her email is levinack [at] hotmail.com.  She is good at being supportive and also working with the child and the family to reinforce and strengthen necessary skills, without putting too much additional pressure on the kids.  

Good luck with it all!  We've also found the resources at www.understood.org very helpful.  They have a lot more on writing challenges than most LD resource website.

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

I have two kids with dysgraphia, and they have very different issues and solutions.  I'm wondering whether the assessment explained what might be the underlying issues?  I think you might get better help from the community if we know more about the dysgraphia.

My daughter has poor fine motor skills and has trouble writing because she has trouble holding and using a pencil.  She got some help in school (but not a pull out for occupational therapy).  She uses special pencil grips at school.  At home, she does exercises to help her develop fine motor skills (perler beads, play doh, squeezing a stress ball, tracing lines and shapes, etc).  She is also taking drawing lessons, which is a much more fun way of learning how to use a pencil than doing lots of practice letters.

My other child has dysgraphia that is due to dyslexia and ADHD.  He has trouble breaking down writing tasks into manageable "chunks", has trouble organizing his thoughts, and organizing his time -- from ADHD.  Then, he has the additional hurdle of spelling each word -- from being dyslexic.  It makes writing slow and difficult.  He has been helped immensely with medication and being paired with teachers that can break down and explain the parts of a writing task for him.  He also needs extra time.

Getting help from the school is pretty important.  DREDF has free parent information that can clearly explain the process for getting help in school.  Different schools have different resources, but hopefully your child can at least get some classroom accommodations that can help a bit.  Your child might still need help outside of school, but it's hard to give specific advice without knowing what is causing his dysgraphia.

RE: Dysgraphia in a 14 year old ()

Jane Ashley is an AMAZING educational therapist, helped my son tremendously. 601-9780 was her number a few years ago.