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Dyspraxia and handwriting DIFFICULTIES !!!

(8 Posts)
nuttyredhead Fri 17-Jun-11 12:16:03

Hey,
Ds has diagnosis of Dyspraxia. We recently had a OT assessment. Basically he has low muscle tone and other associated problems. The OT said he is struggling with handwriting and he will eventually give up writing altogether, so we should think about a laptop, word processor, ipad ???. School cant fund this and TBH they dont think its a good idea.

I dont in any way want my son to struggle, he often refuses to go to school and clearly is unhappy. He hits yr6 next term and i am desperate to implement a tool in the class where it will reduce the ammount of written work he does.

Does anybody have any experience of their children using laptops in class. I dont know what to buy, and how often he shud use it?. Dyspraxia specialists say handwriting is not an essential skill. Should i stop him doin all hand writing where possible? I cant get hold of the OT and she has discharged us now??

Any advice would be great.Many thanks.

IndigoBell Fri 17-Jun-11 12:30:02

How bad is his handwriting? Is it unreadable? Does it hurt him to write? Does he write less than he should because he hates writing?

Lots of kids have laptops (small 10" ones are good) or alpha smarts.

Don't get an iPad - it doesn't have a proper keyboard.

The school should pay for it - but if you have the money it's certainly easier to pay for it yourself......

If they don't want him to type are they proposing he gets a scribe or a transcriber in his SATs exam?

Just be very assertive, and tell them you want him to do all his work on a computer........

veritythebrave Fri 17-Jun-11 12:32:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nuttyredhead Fri 17-Jun-11 12:41:10

AH thats great, thanks for the replies. I always feel so much better for a chat on here, you give me the support and energy i need to battle onsmile)

His writing is pretty bad it is so small and he finds it very tiring along with the low muscle tone in his upper body. He is getting very upset with the ammount of writing expected and he comes home from school so tired, irritable and frustrated. I think i need to act on this now. I think i will tell them that in yr 6 he will be using a computer!!

Thanks guys, ur all brill, take care smile)

GeneEyuss Fri 17-Jun-11 12:41:34

Hi my ds also has similar difficulties in year 3, tires easily due to low muscle tone. Teachers are scribing for him in class and exams which is not ideal. I have bought him a netbook to use at home as its lightweight compared to a laptop, am currently looking into buying typing instructor for kids online. He hates writing which puts him of learning, so have given up on books and subscribed to education city.

He should be doing some writing in school, he will probably need some support in form constancy, one of my ds IEP targets incorporates writedance which helps to develp muscle strength. he does use a computer in some lessons but is pretty slow with typing. Hope this helps, Good luck

nuttyredhead Fri 17-Jun-11 12:52:27

Thanks Geneyuss (great name). Lots of helpful info there, just making a note then i can check it all out today. I am feeling very pro-active and assertive today smile).

The write dance looks interesting, ds has nothing like that in his IEP. TBH its not worth the paper its written on, they dont really adhere to it. Scribing is another option to concider.

Thanks again and good luck to you too smile)

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 17-Jun-11 18:11:16

A bit late to this, sorry. My DS (11) has ASD and is quite dyspraxic. He HATES writing and has been using an Alphasmart Neo word processor for the past 3 years at school whenever more than a few words are needed. He still fills in planning sheets and maths work by hand. It was an incredible experience when he first got it. All these words came tumbling out! I can honestly say it has been nothing but a positive experience for him and for us. He's going to secondary in Sept and will need a laptop there as the Alphasmart has no presentation options, it's purposely basic to stop it being a distraction or stolen!

Our OT friend recommended it and the ASD advisory teachers agreed. The school made 'funding problem' noises so we bought it ourselves. He used it for his long and short writing tasks in his Y 6 SATs as it was a normal piece of equipment for him.

At start of Y6 I'd go for an inexpensive laptop or webbook. Find out what the secondary school will use, ours supply a laptop for use only in school with work being transferred home by memory stick, so one for use at school in Y6 and at home for secondary may be best.

moosemama Fri 17-Jun-11 18:58:23

My ds, who is just about to go into year 5, has AS and scored on the cutt-off for a dyspraxia dx, so just missed it, iyswim. He also has hypotonia, particularly in his upper body and core and finds sitting and writing really tiring. The OT said he will probably never be able to do joined up writing and her report stated that he should be allowed to continue printing his letters as this way his writing is at least legible. She also recommended he be allowed to type longer pieces of work.

He has been using an Alphasmart at school this year for longer pieces of writing, but still does maths and worksheets by hand and he handwrites his spellings every night and we do a bit of work on letter formation as well (probably 20 minutes a night max, but more like 10 on most nights). He is allowed to complete homework on my laptop and print it out.

In our case the school provided his Alphasmart, because a child in year 6 was upgrading to the next model, so they had one available. Its a bit temperamental, but we are thinking we will probably buy him a notebook or small laptop at some point in the future (probably for secondary school if the current school won't allow him to use one in year 6).

I agree with Ellen about needing a laptop or notebook eventually, as the Alphasmart really only allows them to literally type - they have to download it into Word on a different computer for formatting purposes, which is a bit of a pita to be honest. As they need to become more aware of layout and presentation the Alphasmart won't really be up to the job.

I can also recommend the BBC Dance Mat Typing programme for getting them started with typing skills - ds really enjoys using it and it really helped him learn the basics of typing with more than one finger!

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