NLP for Dysgraphia

Filed Under (NLP for learning difficulties) on 01-08-2011

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How can NLP help with dysgraphia?

A woman once asked me for help with recommending schools suitable for her 9 years-young grandson diagnosed with severe dysgraphia. That inspired me to share what I advised her. Perhaps it will help the many more (grand)parents who want the best for their severely diagnosed children.  I hope you’ll extract and put the value from this into action, and spread the word to those in need!

Diagnosis: dysgraphia

As soon as someone has been diagnosed, the diagnosis spurs the thinking that the diagnosis must stay forever and everyone must work around it, but not with it.  Then the content of the diagnosis – in this case severe dysgraphia – provides another psychological label.  The danger of labels is that they pervade the diagnosed person’s identity and give the diagnosed person AND all people around the diagnosed person a handy excuse not to question the condition, thus not take action.  Once we’re labeled as being or having x, we have an instant explanation for many things and can continue living smugly.  Don’t let this happen.

Dysgraphia is also one of those “conditions” that can be improved with NLP.  Here’s how:

1. Don’t mention the labels in front of the child. This will prevent him/her from taking it to his/her identity and being debilitated for the rest of his/her life.  Don’t let the labels block his/her drive to act to eradicate dysgraphia.

2. People who have writing difficulties often believe that there’s something wrong with their brains or the motor functioning of their arms / hands.  This is a BELIEF which can be eradicated.  Try eradicating it instead of hiding behind diagnostic labels. You’ll succeed and your success will eventually prove the belief invalid / ridiculous.

3. Train the person to use his/her visual skills.  People with literacy-related learning difficulties are immensely visual!

3 handy NLP exercises

EXERCISE 1: Ask the person to imagine his/her fridge at home.What color is its door? Which way does it open? Ask the person to open it, look inside, and tell you 3 things s/he sees.  S/he’ll tell you not only that, but also where  the 3 things are.  And with amazing passion and accuracy!  Have fun with this!

EXERCISE 2: Ask him/her to tell you about his/her favourite sports team. What colors do the players wear? What do their shirts look like? Where are their names and player numbers? And so on.  You’ll see how much detail s/he’ll report!  If s/he’s a fan of a different activity, go with what s/he is familiar with.  I mention sport as an example to show you the principle.  These 2 exercises will prove to you that his/her visual skills are EXCELLENT!

EXERCISE 3: Ask him/her to choose one object nearby, e.g. a cup, stare at it for 15 seconds, then close the eyes.  When the eyes are closed, ask him/her to describe how much of the cup s/he sees in the imagination.  S/he’ll see some.  Repeat the process. Listen to how much more of the cup s/he’ll report seeing the second time.  Do this process several times a day for several weeks with a different object each time.  Make it a fun game.  This will certainly sharpen his/her observational skills and memory.

…and now you’ve progressed higher

4. Now we’ve established that the person’s visual skills are fully operational. We are at a stage where s/he has been practising the 3 exercises for several weeks and his/her observational skills are much sharper.  Now give him/her one object, e.g. the cup, to draw with the eyes [= follow the shape of the cup with the eyes as if drawing it in the imagination] as s/he looks at it.  Once s/he can do it, ask him/her to draw it on paper.  If s/he can, you’ve laid foundations for successful writing.  If s/he can’t, draw a very simple shape (e.g. a triangle) on paper, turn the page upside down, and ask him/her to copy it line by line.  Encourage him/her to take his/her time. S/he’ll do it – very successfully!

5. Once s/he copies the cup or triangle to a satisfactory stage [this may take a few attempts, but stick with it and give it time], s/he’ll be ready to copy numbers. Write the number on paper and turn it upside down.  Let him/her copy it line by line.  Numbers are simpler than letters, so once s/he manages numbers, s/he’ll be ready for letters.  Start with CAPITAL LETTERS, because they’re more distinctive than lower case letters.

6. Once s/he can copy anything you give him/her, s/he’ll be able to write numbers and letters in groups of 2, 3, and 4 as well as word syllables.

7. And words will follow easily.

And finally…

8. VERY IMPORTANT POINT: When starting to draw anything on paper, put it on the wall up to or slightly above the person’s eye level.  S/he’ll then process it in the visual field.  NEVER let him/her write while holding the paper in the lap or near the groin, because that would keep the person in his/her feelings which will probably be negative [e.g. “I can’t write”, “I’m terrible at writing”, or “I hate writing”].  Always take him/her out of the feelings [the lap] and up to the visual field [the eye level].
It pays to invest in large sheets of paper designed for sticking on flipcharts.  They look like huge postit notes and can be stuck on a wall without marking it.

If you would like to help someone with dysgraphia with NLP, let’s talk about it.

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