Sunday, August 5, 2012

Able Apps for Dysgraphia

Updated November 2016

Do you know a child or adult with dysgraphia? Do you know what it means to have this disorder? Perhaps it is related to the approaching new school year, but we have been noticing more keyword searches on both our website and blogsite here that include the term dysgraphia.

NINDS (National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke) describes dysgraphia as “a neurological disorder characterized by writing disabilities. Specifically, the disorder causes a person's writing to be distorted or incorrect. In children, the disorder generally emerges when they are first introduced to writing. They make inappropriately sized and spaced letters, or write wrong or misspelled words, despite thorough instruction.

Children with dysgraphia may have other learning disabilities; however, they usually have no social or other academic problems. Dysgraphia in adults generally occurs after some trauma. In addition to poor handwriting, dysgraphia is characterized by wrong or odd spelling, and production of words that are not correct (i.e., using "boy" for "child"). The cause of the disorder is unknown, but in adults, it is usually associated with damage to the parietal lobe of the brain.”

In simpler terms, dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects a person's writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and challenges with putting thoughts on paper. In addition, dysgraphia is often common in children with ADHD and related disorders. The disorder affects approximately 10% of the population. Some medical professionals and educators recommend that children and adults with dysgraphia use computers and other tech devices to avoid the problems of handwriting.

Here are some of the symptoms of dysgraphia:

• Illegible writing
• Cramped or unusual pencil grip
• Writing from the wrist instead of dynamic hand
• Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters in the same word
• Omitted words, unfinished words or misplaced words
• Difficulty thinking and writing at the same time
• Talking to oneself while writing
• Random or non-existent punctuation
• Difficulty with syntax and grammar
• Writing that may be legible but is laboriously produced

With the apparent and noted need for information on this topic, we thought it might be helpful to provide our readers with a list of good apps for dysgraphia, especially as we quickly approach the new fall semester. After some research, we located the following apps that we hope will help a child or adult you know challenged with dysgraphia:

Apps for Dysgraphia

1. A collection of 6 apps specifically for dysgraphia---Ecosystems and Interactions blog

2. Text Grabber-Version 5.4.7 -- This app allows the user to take a picture of a document with text, the app performs OCR, activate Voice Over, and it will read it to the user---by ABBYY -- Price is $4.99 - Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

3. mobile112 This app is a full-featured Android app for users with dyslexia, literacy or word finding problems, aphasia or dysgraphia. It can also be used to capture (OCR) and translate any written text in any European language (and soon also Cyrillic/Japanese/Chinese/Korean). (Trial edition available from Google Play---free for 30 days.)

4. Apps to Help Students with Dysgraphia & Writing Difficulties---Academic Therapy Center

Special Note: It has been found that individuals with dysgraphia can often benefit from regular use of the Pages application on an iMac to complete most “written” work. Also, it can be helpful to use the speech recognition features built into the Mac OS to navigate the screen, because the fine-motor movements required to use the mouse can often be hard to control. As a student moves into higher grades and the number of written assignments increases, using the iMac will save time and make it easier for teachers to review the student’s work than if written by hand.

Other Resources
A variety of helpful articles on dysgraphia (from!)

The NINDS (National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke) web page for information on dysgraphia---treatment options, research, clinical trials and more

Sources for this article:
1. Information on the Pages application of iMas and Mac OS speech recognition features

2. General information on dysgraphia from blog entitled A Mom’s (and Dad”s) View of ADHD

3. The NINDS (National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke) for dysgraphia definition

4. The dyslexia A2Z website

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Clip art courtesy of:

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