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Typing and Special Needs

Gage has always struggled with writing. This isn’t uncommon for kids with learning differences, so we know there are a lot of kids and families facing what we are facing with education. Gage will dictate things to me sometimes, he will write (not always legible) or he will type (takes a long time). Homework is a challenge and getting your thoughts on paper is a big deal, obviously.

Gage attends a small private school that welcomes technology. Early in his first year there – 6th grade – they encouraged us to get him an iPad and we did. He has recorded lectures, taken pictures of boards with notes, goofed around with it (not allowed) and even had a couple of his textbooks loaded onto it by his school. It’s been great that they have a technology specialist we’ve been able to use for recommendations and feedback and she keeps us informed of Gage’s progress on the iPad (he could certainly use it smarter/better) and will tell us of programs she thinks could help.

One of the main goals educationally (seriously, there is always one, isn’t there?) is to get both kids touch typing (a friend asked what this meant — it means to have the finger placement proper and learn how to type without looking). Quinnlin is a little bit better in writing, but she still uses a keyboard at school. So teaching both of them is important. Each morning this Summer break (except vacation, of course) we’re going to run through these programs recommended by Gage’s school.

Here are the one’s she found and my notes after three days use:

  1.  Typing Class for iPad – this is a game style app that helps to learn fast typing with fun and makes you more productive. 4 different games with multiple levels. ($1.99)
  2.  Tap Typing – This app gives practice sentences and paragraphs for typing. ($3.99)
Review: The kids like both of these for different reasons. The Typing Class has games they like and before you know it they are 20 minutes into it, which is great because time is flying by for them!  The Tap Typing has a great measuring tool for us to use so we are loosely monitoring how they are doing. First week for Quinnlin, 3 words a minute. I am sure we can improve weekly so she can see it!

The following is what the school used in computer class this year:

  1. – Has practice lessons and games for keyboarding
  2. Dance Mat Typing – –  Has sequential keyboarding practice lessons
  3. – Has multiple keyboarding games for practice.
Review: The kids have jumped around all three but organizationally #1 and #3 are tough. I think it has levels but the kids are drawn to #2 – Dance Mat Typing because it’s easy to understand and find the levels. We’ve only worked on home keys this week and they had fun so they didn’t really notice the amount of time that had past.
I think typing is great for all kids but I think parents of kids with special needs have to start earlier if possible. I regret not making this (another) priority in 4th grade with Gage. At the time, I knew I would regret it but we were fighting other enemies that year trying to get Gage stable mentally. If you can start young, I urge you to do so…it’s one thing, if anything that has held him back from reaching his current potential.
Happy typing!

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    May 31, 2012 |
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    May 31, 2012 |
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