Beth broke down in tears at John’s IEP meeting. He was expelled from another school due to violent behaviors. He refused to complete homework and wouldn’t get on the bus! John’s IEP spoke of autism, but Beth was skeptical.

As Beth spoke, Kathy listened. Kathy took my course and pinpointed hand pain, spelling problems, and difficulty writing sentences about why John struggled. That day, John’s IEP–and his life–changed forever! Unfortunately, the longer writing is a challenge, the longer it will take to remediate it.

33% of the population are struggling like John.

I believe that understanding dysgraphia is essential to student success.

That is one in three people across the lifespan. Dysgraphia is a problem with written expression.

Writing difficulties challenge our social interactions and sense of belonging in society. Students with dysgraphia lose motivation.

According to Steven Kotler (2021) of the FLOW Collective, motivation has three parts: Drive – Grit – Goals.

Drive is curiosity, passion, and purpose.

Grit is persistence, determination, and fortitude.

Goals are where you want to go.

Angela Duckworth reinforces Grit by describing it,

“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential.

Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t” (Grit, 2016)

School places students in a one size fits all box. If you ever tried on one size fits all clothing, it doesn’t always “fit.” It’s time to challenge the education model that says that children get an IEP if they “qualify.” Each child deserves an education made for them.

Let’s bring back motivation – Drive, Grit, and Goals – back into each student.

Getting back to John, Kathy got a call from Beth around October. Report cards were due, and Kathy’s time was limited, but she took the call. Expecting the worst, Kathy braced herself for another long conversation.

Beth finally composed herself enough to share between the sobbing and broken speech. “Kathy, I can’t tell you how thankful I am that you listened to me at the IEP meeting. I know that you do not work with John directly, but without your help, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Kathy continued to listen as Beth described how John was doing in school. “That brings me to the reason I had to call you today. I was distracted for a few minutes with a phone call this morning. I got off the call and looked around for John. He was nowhere in the house. I opened the front door as I heard the bus coming down the street, prepared to wave the bus driver on when I found John leaping off the steps running to the bus.

I must say, the panic and joy, I haven’t stopped talking to my family about it today. I had to share this story with you too. Without you listening to me back in August, I do not know where we would be today.”

The two shared a bit more. Finally, Beth agreed to share the story with the principal and Director of Special Education.

If you are interested in learning more about dysgraphia and how to manage it, sign up for a Dysgraphia Webinar today.

Kotler, S. (2021). The Art of Impossible. Harper Wave: New York, NY

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Schribner: New York, NY.