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Laptops with ASD

(9 Posts)
SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Fri 19-Oct-12 02:00:03

DS is 10, has an ASD, and struggles planning and structuring his work.

I wonder if it's a good idea to get him to do his work on computer, and if this is common or allowed for ASD children, or should he just stick with pen/pencil + paper?

JakeBullet Fri 19-Oct-12 06:43:05

Hi, we have a similar problem. DS is 10 and now beginning to struggle with keeping up in school. I think the school should already be looking at this in the classroom. At home I think a laptop is a great idea, we use one already and DS is managing much better with that or the iPad for typing out things. Like your DA though its the setting out of work which is difficult.
Pen/pencil and paper is great but for some children it will always make life difficult.

moosemama Fri 19-Oct-12 10:46:30

My ds, who is also 10 and has AS, has 'use of ICT, such as a Laptop' written into his statement. (Not that the school are implementing it, but that's another story.)

Last year's teacher, the EP and OT all agreed that this is the best way forward for him to help him keep up with the pace and complete any larger quantities of work. He struggles with handwriting and spacing between words, but also with organising and planning his work and with getting his thoughts down on paper. In addition, to that he loses focus and zones out, so needs to be able to work at a faster pace than his handwriting would allow, just to keep up, iyswim.

He has to handwrite any shorter tasks and in maths, but anything over a paragraph is supposed to be done on a computer.

He does all his homework on a laptop and the difference between his homework and classwork is incredible. I used examples of both as part of the evidence for his statutory assessment.

At our last meeting with the school the Parent Partnership rep pointed out that secondary schools are usually keen for children to use laptops and that the school ds is hoping to attend has already said it will be ok. There is therefore no point in continuing to push him and have him struggle through every piece of written work, when it is clearly a barrier to his achievement and he needs to be getting into the habit of using one as part of his transition process.

The only thing is, they really do need to learn how to touch-type. A good way to start is with BBC Dance Mat Typing but there is also Nessy Fingers and my ds taught himself over the summer holidays using Typing Instructor Platinum which we downloaded as an app. Ds can now type at 35 words a minute, so it's a significant benefit compared to handwriting. He enjoyed it so much he was constantly asking to go on it during the holiday and still chooses to go on it before school in the mornings.

Typing Instructor Platinum has a dynamic learning system that assesses progress and adjusts the assignments as you go along. You do a typing drill, followed by a game to reinforce the learning and earn stamps for every lesson you complete. You can also go into the set up and choose a programme which is purely games based if you feel you really need to motivate the pupil. They do a Typing Instructor for Kids as well, but ds was fine with the adult version. The only thing to watch out for is that is does use American spellings, so you need to explain that to them before they start.

sc13 Fri 19-Oct-12 10:54:05

Watching this with interest, and thank you for your very useful post moosemama. Writing the use of ICT into the statement sounds like a great idea.
DS (6, ASD) really struggles with writing. It had got to the point where he did not want to do his English homework, or write his journal (something we are doing as part of his SALT). So I got myself an iPad and a cute journal writing app, and now he writes this long entries, telling how he was feeling and stuff, and adding photos. Then I went to the school and the SALT and said, look at this, he communicates! It's the medium of writing that's holding him back.
So we agreed that, while still working on developing his pen skills, they are going to apply for a laptop so he can use it in school.
Do you think perhaps it was too soon to give up? He is only 6. But here is at least one area where I can make his life easier

moosemama Fri 19-Oct-12 11:00:57

Sc13. I wouldn't see it as giving up, just giving him another option and removing some of the stress.

Ds still has to write quite a bit at school, just not long pieces that he finds painful and stressful and end up with him being left behind.

He tends to write in Science, because it's things like labelling diagrams etc, rather than writing big chunks. He has to write in maths and he writes in other subjects unless they are expecting over paragraph.

In literacy he uses a lot of cloze worksheets, where he has to circle the word or write one or two words to demonstrate his understanding, instead of writing whole explanations or paragraphs. So for example it might be a page of sentences with one or two words or the punctuation missing and he just fills in the gaps, rather than having to re-write the whole passage. Using cloze sheets is standard classroom differentiation, so the school should be using them as a matter of course anyway.

I wouldn't give up on writing completely, as we all need the skill to some extent, but I am all for removing barriers to achievement while they are developing their writing skills in a less pressurised way, iyswim.

bochead Fri 19-Oct-12 11:35:54

yeah for my son's school!
Ds uses an alphasmart for the weekly big write in year 4. Sometimes he's given access to the class laptop as the alphasmart does have significant limitations. It depends on the task.Daily however he does do some shorter pieces of handwriting (at least 20 mins worth) so I'm happy that his teacher has got the balance right - as his handwriting is improving slowly but surely.

We choose to do homework by hand for the practice as there's no rush to get it done like in a classroom setting, so he can practice without feeling under pressure iykwim.

Last year he'd do written homework on a vertical a2 whiteboard that I could photograph for his teacher if needed. Now he's just getting the confidence to do it in his book with the aid of a nice new pencil that seems to be really helping. I also send in a fancy pencil to school.

At home we use an old wooden sloping school desk, at school he has an acrylic writing slope. Together with the fancy pencil they seem to help significantly. The pencils are about £1 each and a writing slope is £40 if you want to invest for school.

None of the above is in his statement as yet - so our Annual Review should be fun lol! I'd really welcome any advice on how to get it all included without mega stress from my LA.

Home stuff.

We'll probably use the summer hols this year to do a formal typing programme as suggested above. I personally think 6 weeks on a daily programme in the low stress atmosphere of home is likely to yield faster results for a dyspraxic child than school can achieve as typing carries it's own challenges for those with motor control issues.

I did spend 18 months doing 10-15 mins a day at home on the Theodorescu "write from the start" I consider the time invested really well spent. Again it's summat I rec for home rather than school as you can do it in a relaxed environment properly(DS had moments of real frustration as he mastered it!)

The future
One of the reasons I want to get the existing help written into DS's statement NOW is that there is a possibility he may need to utilise a dictaphone + text software at secondary level to record lesson notes effectively. It'll be easier to obtain permission to do this if there is an "official" record of the level of support he needs now.

mariammma Fri 19-Oct-12 22:53:03

£3.50 writing slope (although it's really a laptop stand)

mymatemax Fri 19-Oct-12 23:01:41

Ds2 in yr5 uses a mix of ict. He uses a laptop, clicker 5 to select words preloaded, he uses a dictaphone mini whiteboard to help with working memory & expressive language. His ta also scribes the majority of his work where he needs to share his understanding.

crappypatty Sat 20-Oct-12 22:09:44

ds 8, struggles with writing, it has taken two recommendations from the Ed Pysch over two years for him to regularly use a laptop.

He has a more proactive and understanding teacher this year which also helps. He uses pen and paper to do numeracy and some literacy, but anything else is done on laptop.

He struggles with getting his thoughts on paper, and a big problem was making mistakes, when he uses paper he gets distressed over mistakes, would scribble over his work and then screw it up, it was a vicious circle because then he would be told off, get more distressed and then become more reluctant to do literacy.

His levels at end of Y3 were 4b reading, 3a maths and 2c writing. He has made no progress since the beginning of Y2 in writing. Now he has regular use of laptop I am hoping to see a big improvement.

I would push for a laptop!!!!!

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