Frequently Asked Questions
What is dysgraphia?
Simply put, dysgraphia is difficulty writing by hand. Moreover, it is not that simple. The ultimate goal of handwriting is legibility and speed similar to your peers. If you have a student who is writing extremely slowly or has handwriting that is difficult to read, seek help.
If you are a child development professional, read further into these FAQs for more details.
For parents, click to find FAQs that are more geared to your concerns. Help at school begins with a letter to the special education director.
How can I get a workshop at my school/clinic?
Do you offer payment plans?
Payment plans for in-person events are clarified in proposals. Proposal inquiries can be made by setting up a free consultation. Details are discussed on the call.
Payment plans for online courses are delineated with the program registration page.
What are the best OT assessments to use to support dysgraphia?
Sensory Processing Screening
*look for the latest versions of standardized assessments
- Sensory Processing Measure
- Sensory Profile
Visual Perceptual Screening
*look for the latest versions
- Test of Visual Perceptual Skills
- Developmental Visual Perceptual Test
- Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities
Avoid the VMI – see article-must be a member of AOTA to open
Pfeiffer, B., Moskowitz, B., Paoletti, A., Brusilovskiy, E., Zylstra, S. E., & Murray, T. (2015). Brief Report— Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI): An effective outcome measure for handwriting interventions for kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 904350010. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.015826
Handwriting Assessment Manuscript and Cursive
the only norm-referenced assessment is the
Test of Handwriting Skills-Revised
Upper Extremity Functional Performance
Gross Motor and Fine Motor Skills
Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency
Activities of Daily Living
How do I complete an online OT evaluation?
Please speak with your facility director about parameters that have been set up with your company.
What is the best screening tool for dysgraphia?
By definition, screening means that an occupational therapist has not seen the student. Therefore, a copy of the student’s handwriting is the best resource. Teachers may time the student copying a passage and relay this information in a referral to request and evaluation. Here are the IDEA Regulations.
How can OT co-teach in the classroom?
A good foundation of knowledge about dysgraphia allows occupational therapists and teachers to collaborate during regular work time sessions within the classroom.
The Dotterer Dysgraphia Method provides that foundation.
Will you diagnose my child?
The short answer is no.
It is not the responsibility of one person to diagnose a child with dysgraphia. It is the collaboration of several professionals to make that diagnosis. Your family physician can gather all the reports and make the final decision. A neuropsychologist can make a DSM-IV diagnosis. Specific Learning Disability can include dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. These medical terms require those advanced degrees.
However, an occupational therapist is uniquely qualified to analyze tasks and activities to break them down into small bits to support the diagnosis. Our profession has significant training as to the impact of sensory integration, visual perceptual and motor integration, and functional tasks like handwriting.
A diagnosis should include the collaboration of all disciplines working with the child in school and in the private clinic.
What health insurance do you take?
I do not have any affiliations with health insurance as an in-network provider. I do have a National Provider Number, Medicare/Medicaid Number, and OT license number. With these numbers and an ICD-10 code and a CPT code. (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems/Current Procedural Terminology), you can submit your sales receipt to your out-of-network provider or Health Savings Account.
This service is independent of any school-based program and is completed via direct services In PA only for student interventions. This option requires a prescription from the physician.
This style of treatment focuses on additional support over and above and IEP and is similar to that of a tutor.
All coaching and consulting is a fee for service. This method of service delivery is community education which does not require a prescription. Cheri coaches parents to support a specific student. Consulting services are reserved for larger entities such as a school district.
Are you insured?
Yes, the Occupational Therapy Practice Act in PA requires all practitioners to have Professional Liability insurance.
How do I get my child tested?
Testing your child for dysgraphia is not the easiest process. First of all, dysgraphia is a medical diagnosis. This diagnosis is not pertinent in the school setting as it is not an educational classification.
That being said, a comprehensive evaluation from a neuropsychologist and occupational therapist that specialize in dyslexia and dysgraphia are your best chances at narrowing down the skills that your child/student is missing.
Moreover, most of these evaluations are not covered under medical insurances. Nine of 10 times you need to pay cash for them. It may cost a parent over $5000 to get this type of evaluation completed if they can find practitioners that specialize in this area.
What is an educational classification?
An educational classification is a category that a child is placed in when an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is implemented. These classifications were established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). These categories include:
3. Emotional Disturbance
4. Hearing Impairment
5. Intellectual Disability
6. Multiple Disabilities
7. Orthopedic Impairment
8. Other Health Impairment
9. Specific Learning Disability
10. Speech or language impairment
11. Traumatic Brain Injury
12. Visual Impairment
[71 FR 46753, Aug. 14, 2006, as amended at 72 FR 61306, Oct. 30, 2007; 82 FR 31912, July 11, 2017]
You can find more information about the classifications at
These classifications may confuse you because the terms seem medical in nature. However, the Department of Education has designed them to be very broad. Unlike, the codes that are used by physicians to diagnose illnesses. These codes are called ICD-10 codes. ICD = International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
School psychologists are required to place a student in one of these categories. They synchronize the reports fro all persons involved in the care and education of the student in linking specific medical diagnosis with that broad educational classification.
- Specific learning disability (SLD)
The umbrella term “SLD” covers a specific group of learning issues. The conditions in this group affect a child’s ability to read, write, listen, speak, reason or do math. Here are some of the issues that could fall in this group:
Auditory processing disorder
Nonverbal learning disability
2. Other health impairment
The umbrella term “other health impairment” covers conditions that limit a child’s strength, energy or alertness. One example is an attention issue like ADHD.
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
ASD is a developmental disability. It covers a wide range of symptoms and skills, but mainly affects a child’s social and communication skills. It can also impact behavior.
- Emotional disturbance
Children covered under the term “emotional disturbance” can have a number of mental disorders. They may include anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. (Some of these issues may also be covered under “other health impairment.”)
- Speech or language impairment
The umbrella term “speech or language impairment” covers a number of communication problems. Those include stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or voice impairment.
- Visual impairment, including blindness
A child who has vision problems is considered to have a visual impairment. This condition includes both partial sight and blindness. If eyewear can correct a vision problem, then it doesn’t qualify.
Children with a diagnosis of deafness have a severe hearing impairment. They aren’t able to process language through hearing.
- Hearing impairment
The term “hearing impairment” refers to a hearing loss not covered by the definition of deafness. This type of loss can change or fluctuate over time. Remember that being hard of hearing is not the same thing as having auditory processing disorder.
Children with a diagnosis of deaf-blindness have both hearing and visual impairments. Their communication and other needs are so great that programs for the deaf or blind can’t meet them.
- Orthopedic impairment
Any impairment to a child’s body, no matter what the cause, is considered an orthopedic impairment.
- Intellectual disability
Children with this type of disability have below-average intellectual ability. They may also have poor communication, self-care and social skills. Down syndrome is one example of an intellectual disability.
- Traumatic brain injury
This is a brain injury is caused by an accident or some kind of physical force.
- Multiple disabilities
A child with multiple disabilities has more than one condition covered by IDEA. Having multiple issues creates educational needs that can’t be met in a program for any one condition.
If you haven’t done so already, you might want to find out if your child is eligible for special education. If your child is found eligible, the next step will be to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP). If he isn’t school-age yet, you may want to learn about early intervention.