Do you feel like a deer in headlights when someone asks you to describe dysgraphia?
Have you had sufficient support with dysgraphia to clinically reason through the results of an assessment?
Someone asked me recently why I am so passionate about dysgraphia.
The short answer is… I have dysgraphia.
Yes, I can now write a sentence and a paragraph. I am a published author.
Every day in school and college, I struggled to get words out of my mouth and on paper.
It was torture to stand in front of people or do an essay style exam.
Give me a multiple choice or true and false any day, I’ll pass. Give me an essay and I will be that deer in headlights.
It has taken sheer determination and a spouse kindly challenging me every day to help me to overcome!
Yes, I’ve made mistakes.
Yes, I have impacted my reputation.
In fact, I’ve lost more jobs than I can count simply because I could not articulate either orally or verbally how to defend myself.
Whether I am speaking to YOU directly, a teacher, or an occupational therapist; I am passionate about dysgraphia because it is a daily struggle!
Like many new teachers and occupational therapists, I learned the facts for the tests in college. I did not retain them for long term use. I learned the materials in isolation. I required external supports and conversations that challenged me to refine my clinical reasoning skills.
When I graduated from college, Pinterest and Facebook did not exist. My external supports were harder to glean from, mostly due to my own stubbornness. I needed to become teachable. This website is designed to help you overcome your concerns about dysgraphia and to help you self-reflect to clarify your own purpose and message to the world.
Begin becoming a Dysgraphia Noble today!
Cheri helps regular and learning support teachers identify handwriting problems/dysgraphia in the classroom so they can communicate observations for effective referrals to the Response to Intervention or IEP/504 team members and incorporate quick solutions with all students in their classrooms.
For Occupational Therapists:
Cheri helps occupational therapists clarify handwriting problems/dysgraphia so they can streamline their evaluation process and provide treatment planning strategies.
Cheri supports parents through the education of basic dysgraphia symptoms and provides them with strategies to improve homework problems so that they can have more family time.
Need help determining treatment interventions?
There is a Brain-Body DisConnect that is preventing the neural pathways for handwriting to be developed at a typical pace. There are times in which these pathways do not develop even into adulthood. Other times, remediation helps. Sometimes accommodations and modifications to the child’s curriculum work best.
This website and the book, Handwriting Brain-Body DisConnect were designed to help you design your interventions.
Continued research needs to be completed for each subject and curriculum adaptations need to be developed within the guidelines of today’s educational system to benefit students.
How could I help parents and teachers?
Any handwriting problem is some level of dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is classified medically under the Specific Learning Disability, Neurodevelopmental section of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Health Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5).
When a parent or teacher is discussing this phenomenon in the school setting, they need to classify handwriting problems as a written expression disorder. This disorder falls under the educational classification of a Specific Learning Disability.
Who am I?
My name is Cheri Dotterer and I have a mild form of dysgraphia. Through years of hard work, I have been able to make it through grad school and obtain an MS in Occupational Therapy.
Living with two children who are gifted with handwriting difficulties, I knew that there had to be more children like them.
Did you know that children that are gifted may also have a learning disability? Children that have special symptoms that lend them to both ends of the spectrum are called twice exceptional.
As I progressed through this project, I found more and more children who are gifted and many times their disability is written expression.
I knew that I had to find a way to help them.
Developmentally, dysgraphia or a written expression disability has six different categories. You will see other organizations separate dysgraphia into three categories. This division seemed too confusing to me. So I broke their categories up to further explain them.
The six categories of dysgraphia are:
Cheri Dotterer author of Amazon Bestseller’s book Handwriting Brain-Body DisConnect is an occupational therapist for 25 years and has a private practice. She is an Unhackable Dysgraphia Coach who trains child development professionals about invisible learning disabilities to help students overcome trauma and shame associated with their disability and transform their story through grace. Dysgraphia awareness helps teachers identify Response to Intervention (RtI) and IEP/504 strategies for team members and incorporate quick solutions for the students. Cheri and her husband of 29 years have two adult children and a cat.
Alvernia University BS Biochemistry, MS Occupational Therapy
College Misericordia BS Occupational Therapy
Board Certification Educational Advocate and Neuroscience Coach
Previous Teaching Experiences
University Adjunct Faculty
Pennsylvania State University, Alvernia University, Misericordia University
School Guest Lecturer
Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, Salus University, Berks Technical Institute
Berks County Autism Society, National Special Education Advocacy Institute, Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association, Chester County Right to Education Task Force, Hamburg Area Middle School, Pennsylvania Education for All Coalition