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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Dysgraphia: Beyond Bad Handwriting, A Parent's Perspective is a nonfiction book on parenting written by J.S. Parent. All too often, a child’s inability to write clearly and legibly is considered their fault. Teachers may say that the child isn’t trying hard enough or gets too distracted to devote the time and concentration required to develop good handwriting skills. Parent’s two children were likely candidates for that critical dismissal, and indeed her first child suffered with the problem for some time until Parent researched dysgraphia. While many are becoming more familiar with dyslexia and the impact it has on children in the education process, very little is known about dysgraphia. Like dyslexia, it’s a neurological disability, but it’s one that “hinders a person’s ability to communicate through written expression.” Unlike dyslexia, dysgraphia can impact every aspect of a child’s communication skills and progress in the educational system. Having to focus so intently on crafting every letter in a legible fashion often results in the child losing track of the subject matter. Seeing other children swiftly writing in class can be discouraging and upsetting at best; at worst, a child with dysgraphia will most likely find it impossible to achieve good scores on timed tests requiring writing skills. In her book, Parent discusses the condition, shares her experiences as a mom with two kids with dysgraphia, and gives her insights into testing, diagnosis and ways to ensure that a child with dysgraphia has access to a full and satisfying educational experience.
Dysgraphia: Beyond Bad Handwriting, A Parent's Perspective addresses an overlooked and poorly understood condition that afflicts more children than many realize. I was saddened to read that children with dysgraphia often end up being categorized as “That Child” and wondered how many end up entirely outside of the educational process because of their condition. This book is an excellent resource for any parent who has concerns about their child’s writing abilities, and her insights on early clues, such as coloring between the lines as a preschooler, will help parents be prepared in case their child has dysgraphia. As a child who had speech impediments, I dreaded reading in turn from textbooks in class and inevitably enduring the humiliation of having the teacher make me attempt over and over to correctly pronounce difficult words. As Parent writes, this kind of thing can make a kid hate school, and that’s a tragedy that should and can be averted. While there are no quick fixes, Parent’s work goes a long way to starting the overdue conversation on dysgraphia and the education process. It’s most highly recommended.