The most efficient compensation for any student who struggles with basic letter form and use of spaces [is] to develop efficient word-processing skills. Parents and teachers need to be aware, however, that it is very difficult to go through life totally avoiding use of paper and pencil and, consequently, it is important for each student to develop at least some basic handwriting skills. Specific multisensory strategies designed for dysgraphic students are useful for any student who needs help developing appropriate letter form and automatic motor movements. Specific remedial strategies that incorporate air writing, use of the vertical plane (chalkboard), simultaneous verbal cues, and reinforcement with tactile input, are most effective.
In today's society, keyboarding skills are valuable for all students, but are particularly essential for the student who struggles with writing and/or spelling difficulties. Students are able to learn keyboarding skills at a very young age. However, keyboarding development requires practice and many students complain that the practice is especially boring. This can be a problem because consistency and frequency of practice are very important in developing automaticity. Consequently, it is useful to have the student practice keyboarding on a daily basis, but only for [a] very short period of time each day. In early elementary, the student may practice only five to ten minutes a night. In upper elementary, the practice sessions maybe ten to fifteen minutes a night. If the student is just beginning to learn keyboarding as a teenager, it may be necessary to extend the practice sessions to fifteen to twenty minutes a night. The consistency of the practice is critical.
Many fun and efficient software programs are available to help students learn appropriate keyboarding. Access to a variety of programs helps decrease boredom and allows for choice, as the student may select different software each night. Alternate programs have also been developed which teach keyboarding skills based on the alphabetical sequence. One such program starts with the left hand and uses a poem which begins, "little finger a, reach for b, same finger c, d, e."
Initially, as the student is learning, correct finger should not be required when he is typing for content, as this greatly increases the demands on active working memory. For most students, the habits developed during typing practice will eventually integrate with the finger used while concentrating on ideation and content.
Once a student learns word processing skills, she will have the option of progressing to use of voice-activated software, such as Dragon® NaturallySpeaking®. Such software allows the student to dictate into a microphone without the need for direct typing on the keyboard. However, this is a higher level skill which is much more efficient once the student knows and understands basic word processing and writing skills. Clear enunciation, lack of slurring words, and use [of] precise preplanning and organization are critical for success with voice-activated programs.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Child Development Theories
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- Graduation Inspiration: Top 10 Graduation Quotes
- The Homework Debate
- First Grade Sight Words List
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory