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Keyboard/laptop help

(5 Posts)
wobbleinprogress Wed 02-Dec-15 15:55:18

Hi. My 14 year old son with dyspraxia has always struggled with handwriting. School have agreed that he should be using a laptop or keyboard to produce his work, and say they will ask that he does exams this way ( we are in scotland). Has anyone had experience of this ? We have also offered to buy him something which he can use at school for work. The school could provide one, but it is likely to be old and bulky and he would need to leave it at school. We are more than happy to buy something but not really sure what to look for. Teacher wasn't a lot of help ( although to be fair I only asked on the phone today).

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 02-Dec-15 16:08:05

If it is just for producing written work (ie essays) then any laptop is fine as long as it has some word based program. Mine have used iPads with keyboards initially but it is more complicated to download/ print in a school setting where everything is generally just dumped on a memory stick.
You will need to discuss with school their policies on accessing wifi - and also some insist that memory sticks used on school computers can't be used on home computers and the. Brought back into school (virus protection stuff).

Most schools have kids who uses laptops though (some secondaries have school laptops held within the learning support centre that can be signed out for classes by specific pupils for specific lessons).

I am assuming that he doesn't require any of the more specialist recording devices available (these are usually more useful for kids with other SN) but if you are curious, then each LA usually has someone either on staff or a local OT who can provide specialist equipment advice. There are a few different recording keyboards etc available. (Mine tried a couple but have gone back to standard off the shelf laptops).

Really just chat with the senco and ask how the process will work for downloading and handing in assignments.

I supported a couple of teens who had recording issues. At first I used to scribe for them, but in all honesty it was not an effective support. Once I arranged laptops so that they could record their own notes, they were much more engaged with the classes and better able to take in information and recall it. That doesn't work for everyone of course, but for these guys it was far more effective. Did myself out of a job, really, but the teens were much more independent and likely to achieve success in their own right.

Some teachers are happy to email their teaching notes to students with recording issues, some not. Again, just ask the senco what the process is in your particular school.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 02-Dec-15 16:15:06

<dd2 doesn't have dyspraxia, she has cp, but started with an iPad with a wireless keyboard, then moved to laptop. When she was much smaller (12 now) she did use a specialist device for a term, but in all honesty, the limited functionality and limited screen view of the damned thing meant that it was limiting her work. This stuff can be a godsend for kids that need it though. A regular laptop works fine for most kids with recording issues.

Nearly Christmas ;-) dd2 is getting a new laptop, and dd1 is getting some sodding Apple thing for which I need a second mortgage. She has waived rights to all Christmas and birthday gifts for the next two years and it HAS to last her all the way through uni. <weeps>

wobbleinprogress Wed 02-Dec-15 16:50:44

Thank you, that's really helpful. I think it will just be for essays, but not sure how it works for other subjects. He is Ok with shorter bits of writing but only if he is not rushing so worried even this will go to pot under exam conditions. Hopefully the school will advice. The school seem relaxed about pen drives/ memory sticks and wifi. He is quite reluctant to go down the laptop route, I think because of fear of being different. Hopefully choosing a nice new laptop will make him feel better about it!

Runningtokeepstill Fri 04-Dec-15 09:09:52

Hi, regarding exams, my ds took GCSE's using a laptop. For subjects like English he used it for the whole thing. For maths he just wrote his answers on the paper. For science he used a mixture of answering on the paper where this had to be done that way but answered longer questions using the laptop. The school printed out the answers done on the laptop and attached it to the paper.

This was a relief as I thought for any papers where some questions had to be done on the actual exam paper he'd just end up having to write the whole thing like that and wouldn't be able to use the laptop at all. He gets fatigued and just writes smaller answers in that situation and the more he writes the less legible it is. Being able to have a "mix and match" approach to completing the exams was great. I'm in England but I would expect the same principle would apply in Scotland - the school will know.

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