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Another writing ? - Essentials in Writing

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I am currently using the Writing Skills Book A by Diana Hanbury King for my ds8 (diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD). It has been fine so far, but I really have not focused much on writing since it is so difficult for ds. I let him dictate to me and I do the writing, but I feel that he is really falling behind. We haven't done much in regards to different types of writing.


So...looking ahead to next year, I am thinking about the Essentials in Writing program. It combines both grammar and writing instruction, which is similar to the Writing Skills book. Part of the draw is that he can watch the DVD (I would watch it with him), since the rest of our day is all one-on-one due to his disabilities. I just feel that we need to buckle down and do more since next year I will have to start reporting actual test results to the state.


Any pros/cons you could share re: the Essentials in Writing program? Is it a good program for kids with learning issues? FYI, we did start the year off with WWW, but the diagramming was difficult for him. He was alittle overwhelmed by it, so we switched to Diana Hanbury King's book.


Any opinions or recommendations for writing programs would be appreciated. Thanks!

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This is the first time I have seen this program. It looks like it has solid, concrete instruction- the kind of instruction I want for my son! Too bad the high school programs haven't been released yet- ahh, the story of my life. All the curriculum that looks good for my kids gets released AFTER they are already past a stage.


I see the planned sequence & audio/visual instruction as being on the plus side for parents of dyslexics. It looks like the videos are quite short & the daily lessons are meant to be fairly short as well, which is good for young children & those with any learning or attention challenge. I am assuming that those with slower processing speed, memory/retrieval issues, etc will take longer to finish assignments than the stated time frame. Given that the assignments are meant to be on the shorter side for each day, it's still not an outrageous amount of time.


The price looks good, too. It's in a range where I would be willing to buy, even if I wasn't absolutely sure it would be the right thing.

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:iagree:I have to sit with my son for EVERYTHING due to his distractibilty and learning challenges. He actually likes to watch the math lessons on the Math U See DVD before we sit down with the blocks/worksheets, so I thought that he might be motivated by the Essentials program. I think that sometimes he would just like a break from me and my non-stop talking:lol:.


I am hoping to hear from anyone who has actually used it. I do plan on emailing the author of the program with questions about which level to start. I know that the website says that enough review is built in to start at the actual grade level for student, but with the dyslexia & dysgraphia, I'm thinking that it may be a better fit to go with the third rather than 4th grade.

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I don't want to be out in left field here, but given the age of the dc, I'd focus more on just small or casual forms of writing and getting him able to write for himself before I'd worry about a structured writing program.


Have you looked at the Anti-Coloring books? My dd enjoyed those at that age. Or list making or writing prompts or other small amounts of writing? Or writing on an iPad? I'm so skunked that I don't have one yet. It's just a marvelous tool for kids who are pencil phobic. I just got my dd a Wacom Bamboo tablet. Somehow kids will do things on the computer that they won't enjoy with a pencil. You can upload worksheets as pdfs (or do to dots or whatever) and actually use the stylus on your iPad or bamboo tablet to write on them. Cool, eh?


All I'm really saying is that you have years yet to worry about structured writing. That's not the big issue. Just getting over the hurdle of enabling them to write without it hurting or wearing out their brains or giving them headaches or... is huge. We did VT (vision therapy), OT (core strength, wrist muscles, how to position so it wasn't hurting her to write), and now I'm trying to use some of Yllek's suggestions about non-alphabetic writing along with working memory to see what that might do. Next I want to try the Dianne Craft 8's thing y'all have been talking about. It's always that goal of making it easier, less taxing, and more automatic so it doesn't use all their processing power. But structure is totally different from that, kwim? Structured writing is separate. We're working on that with the Scrivener software and a co-op class.


If the typing isn't going well, you might try Dvorak. I tried for years with my dd to get her typing to take off. I tried various software, gave her time, and the more we tried the less well it went. Finally, she had so much she wanted to say and couldn't go quickly enough, so she resorted to pecking. That was the final straw and I switched her over to Dvorak. NO more pecking, and she has literally doubled in a matter of months! I mean it's AMAZING. Dvorak is an alternate keyboard layout, something you can toggle and select (easily on a mac, but there should be a way on windows too), and it eliminates all the midline crossing and inefficiencies of a typical keyboard layout. For her it has been HUGE. She didn't like the change, but I bribed her with a personal email account and her own user account on the computer. That of course was a convenience for me, because it means her account can have her layout and mine has mine. But it worked.


We just got evaluated at age 12 and she doesn't have a dysgraphia label at this point. But she was pencil phobic with the best of them. That's just the stuff we're doing.

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Thanks OhElizabeth for all of the great info. I don't have an ipad either, but it is on my "if I win the lottery.." list. I will have to look into the other items you mentioned.


We will be getting an OT eval through the local school district soon. I really had wanted to go with a private therapist, but just can't afford it right now. All of our other assessments have been completed outside of ps at our expense and it just seems never ending.


I have to say that I am starting to feel in panic mode. We are almost half way through this school year and with N.Y. state regs, I know that at 4th grade and above, it is required that test scores be reported on a bi-annual basis. I am just worried that ds is falling farther and farther behind with the writing. We have started with keyboarding. Right now, we are just using the free BBC Dance Mat typing program. He likes it and that is half the battle.


Thanks again for your input. I am off to look at Anti-Coloring books and the Bamboo tablet!

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