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come talk to me about assistive technology your experiences

(12 Posts)
vorpent Wed 03-Jul-13 23:43:06

Hi, my ds1 also has dyspraxia and we got him a laptop this year for school. We got him to touch type using nessie fingers in about 12 weeks. It's surprisingly easy compared with handwriting, we've found. I bashed away at handwriting for ages and in the end realised it was never going to work.
Ds is also a reluctant writer, but much happier to type. I think it's had a massive impact on his self esteem. Interestingly, he spells better when typing too. Not sure why.
So in short, I'd say go for it!

HairyMaclary Wed 03-Jul-13 12:03:20

Sorry, only just seen your reply. No we won't get a separate one for home but he will be able to bring the school laptop and keyboard home, it was impressed upon us that this is a 'working' computer, not for games or DVD's or anything but while he is getting used to it, and if he has any homework to finish off on it it can come home.

However, as the same keyboard is on Amazon for £10 I think we will get one of those for home. We will wait until he gets the one at school first though.

yawningmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 21:46:47

Hairy will you get a home version too. I wonder if the colour set out might help ds with learnign key layout. Unfortunately we never have huge strides and it can be hard to establish if anything we are doing is benfecial or not. I am hoping that he will have some chance of not slipping further ehind and showig the school that his comprehension is actually really good it is just that he can't read and write well enough to demonstrate this and he doesn't always cooperate verbally.

HairyMaclary Sat 29-Jun-13 19:07:53

DS Will be using clicker 6 with this keyboard and to be honest I think the keyboard will make the most difference. DS is 8 in year 3 with cerebral palsy so a different condition, he is bright, top group of the class and motivated to write but his handwriting can't keep up with his thoughts and as the amount they need to write increases he is starting to get v tired with trying to form everything correctly.

We haven't started it yet as the SNIT assessment was only last week but I have hight hopes. He won't learn to touch type on this keyboard but it willbe a good stepping stone to a normal keyboard, they come in black and white too but DS preferred the coloured one. He has made hughe strides with his handwriting this year and we won't be giving handwriting up but this should help the speed and fluidity of his transferring his thoughts on to paper. We tried scribing but as DS self edits as he writes he got very, very frustrated!

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 13:06:04

Sorry CT = Class teacher. Basically I say how we did it, so she can judge his progress. Ds2 is always a bit worried about "cheating" so this has helped.

The book is aimed at 3 to 6 year old really, but for me montessori has been consistently good for both ds1 and ds2.

yawningmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 11:13:15

It is interesting you say that about handwriting not featuring as I asked the OT on the phone what might be our future in terms of exams and she seemed to think that the shift towards all students doing exams on technology was already beginning and would be well established by the time ds got there. I will order a copy of the the read write resource, I am very into not criticising anything to do with handwriting as if he does any it is such a miracle that I am too busy celebrating that he has done some to get caught up in right and wrong, that said we do a lot of exercises that he doesn't see as writing, he loves mazes and I make finger track mazes in shaving foam for him to follow and because he is a bit tactile defensive he has to use a "stylus" which is actually a bit of thick driftwood to follow the maze. I have tried tracing paper over a copy of writing for him but he shuts down pretty quick for this.
What is CT process?

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 10:57:13

I am the queen of "the round about way". grin

I honestly think that handwriting and even keyboard skills are not going to feature so prominently in our children's lives in ten/twenty years. That said I think the ability to write legibly is important for PR with teachers and peers, and avoiding "low expectations" is very important IMO.

Sometimes it helps to scribe for ds and then get him to copy. If this jumbles, I would write in pencil and then get him write over in pen. I note the process used for CT.

You will need to modify massively because of his age, but this book has some lovely ideas. I particularly like the "find your own size of writing", and "not criticising wrong spellings" approach.

yawningmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 10:35:14

thank you for that zzzzz. OT here talked about Clicker5 so we maybe behind UK a bit. I think at school ds will readily use it over handwriting. In general though all school related activities equal too much hard work as far as he is concerned and he is completely uninterested in participating in them at home to the point of meltdown so we tend not to go there. I do, do a fair bit of sensory stuff with him and fine motor work with him that he enjoys which is designed to help his motor skills but he is unaware it is ultimately to help the writing. I will look into the weighted pens as this could be beneficial. Overlays have not made a difference for ds unfortunately, we have been down the behavioural optometry route and he came through with no issues identified. I agree that I am not ready to completely give up on handwriting but I am doing it in a roundabout way if that makes sense as he is so actively resistant to it (school still see it as a behavioural issue at the moment despite the latest recommendations from the OT but OT has been great and is going into school for a three way meeting to try to address this.)

zzzzz Sat 29-Jun-13 10:23:52

I bought clicker (I think 6) for ds1 to use on iPad. Ds is high IQ, but severely language disordered with very hypermobile hands, his handwriting is very very immature (he can form all letters but huge and finds pencil control very difficult). He can read, but "Sam I am" stage, perhaps yr1??

For us clicker hasn't been fabulous, but primarily because ds won't engage with it. If your ds is motivated to produce documents I think it could be fabulous.

I think 8 is too young to give up on handwriting. That said I don't think it is necessary to make it a major part of the school experience. I would replace handwritten work with tech at school, and keep up with the handwriting at home.

A heavier pen helped ds1 enormously with pen control. He uses this at the moment,,or.&bvm=bv.48572450,d.bGE&biw=1024&bih=672&sa=X&ei=g6bOUeyHL6P_4QTN_IGABA&ved=0CF0Q8gIwAQ

But I suspect you'd get the same effect by filling up a normal pen with weights (sand?).

Ds2 has irlens lenses. They were dramatic when he first got them but he reads much better now and seems to be losing his dependency. He started with overlays for reading. (Nb they are not a cure for us, he still struggles but they gave him a real boost)

yawningmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 09:44:35

Thank you for that, I had a little look at the website (we are not in the UK) and it may be more directed at verbal communication difficulties, he is reasonably verbally able in that he can talk, he doesn't always quite get reciprocal conversation and has huge difficulties processing instructions but he can and does speak,.

Davros Sat 29-Jun-13 09:15:35

I'm sure you'll get some good responses here but can I also suggest you look up an organisation called Communication Matters, based in Oxford? They are experts on all this stuff and do lots of good research and road shows where you can try things out.

yawningmonster Sat 29-Jun-13 08:19:47

Ds has multiple dx. He is delayed in all areas but one of the most difficult for him is handwriting, he is 8.5 and cannot write. This has been previously put down to a mix of dyslexia and asd but assessor on Friday was OT trained and believes that it is dyspraxia that is the main culprit exacerbated by the other conditions and that he will not improve, he cannot form letters, he has rotation on a, b, d, g, p, q, s, 3, 6, 7, 9, he is approx 2 years behind with his reading but is unable to spell the simplest words so essentially his writing looks like this "I woblc tod agoljst wI goup" (I would like to be a geologist when I grow up) with the addition of most letters being very poorly formed, a mix of upper and lower case and size variants! His comprehension is very good and if he is asked to tell you a story he can come with some great imaginative plots.
The suggestion is that he be given an IPOD at school with an application called Clicker on it which is basically a word processor with predictive text which can also read back what he has written.
Has anyone had anything like this for their child, did it make a difference, do you think that a child with the difficulties I have indicated would have enough of a word bank to successfully select the words predictively?
Any experiences welcome.

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