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Learning to type

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Is there a time to give up and realize the teen will simply never touch type? Ds16 has been working on typing software for over a year now and he's not beyond the letters. He can type very slowly and has to keep looking and complains his fingers just won't stretch comfortably. He has Aspergers and there are some things he has trouble doing like tying shoes. He types with 3 fingers and is faster than he is with touch typing. Should I just encourage him to continue getting faster with his own invented way of typing or push on with the touch typing? We're all getting frustrated because he hates the lessons and sees them as not working.

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Some people might disagree, but I think it is probably time to give up. Well, not really give up, but decide that touch typing isn't sufficiently crucial to be at loggerheads with your 16yo over.

My reasons are:

1. It's not that likely that lack of speedy and correct touch typing ability will be a thing that prevents him from pursuing his chosen further education or getting a job.

2. Touch typing isn't all that difficult to learn (I am a fast touch typist, and I did no typing at school. I taught myself over a couple of weeks during odd spare minutes at work). Even for your son who finds it more difficult or uncomfortable than most people, the chances are that if he truly needed to learn later on and was totally determined to do it, he could pick it up quickly. (If he absolutely can't, then there doesn't seem to be any point in pushing it anyway.)


So, I'd be putting the ball in his court. He is old enough to understand the convenience of being able to type fast and accurately. If he wants to keep trying, you can help him check out some alternative programs. If not, let him use his own 'wrong' method. There are millions of highly successful people who'd fail a touch typing test.

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I'll agree with Hotdrink.


Think about why you want him to learn to touch type and whether he agrees with it as well.

If you want to continue, when my son was learning to type, I took an old keyboard and used model paint over the keys so my son couldn't look at the keyboard and hunt & peck :) It helped! (And you know we're a gaming family when "wasd" were the first keys to wear off!)

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Don't give up till you've tried the Dvorak keyboard layout. It made a HUGE difference for my dd. HUGE. We had worked on typing for years, same deal with the motor control and complexity of movement not working. Finally, in desperation this past year, when I realized I was going to have a kid whose handwriting was half-way to illegible AND who couldn't type, I got really worried and started researching. Dvorak is a more efficient arrangement of the keys. It's a simple toggle on a mac, and I assume you can change it on your Windows computer as well. Google and find the layout. All the major letters are on the home row, so when they type their fingers basically stay right there and never move. I got her the Mavis Beacon for mac software that had Dvorak lessons in it. I think since then we've had some threads where people have found free Dvorak lessons online.


When I had her made the change, dh thought I was MEAN, TERRIBLE, etc. and didn't mind giving me ugly looks about it. Dd wanted to complain, but I gave her a separate user account on the computer. You can do this on windows or mac. So I set her up with her own account, gave her an email, and set the whole thing so it would only work in Dvorak without an admin password to change it. Then I told her I'd pay her $1 for each wpm (word per minute) any month she increased by at least 5. She went from 5-8 wpm on the initial test to *40* in just a few months! And 40 is the last point we checked, because at that point she was functional and touchtyping. No she's not perfect, but she's functional.


Here's a little link to how to make the change on a Windows computer. http://www.microsoft.com/enable/training/windowsxp/keyboardlayout.aspx



You can also google and find a pic of the keyboard layout. I printed it and let her keep it in front of her a while. Because the keyboard she was pecking on was QWERTY, she basically HAD to touch type at that point. I think the keyboard chart I used with her was blank and she filled it in, come to think of it. So you could do that as an introductory exercise, then lose the paper.


Anyways, don't give up till you try Dvorak. They hate change, yes, but for us it made a huge difference. If he can accept the change, it might help.

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OhElizabeth, I'll check on that.


DH and I talked with our son last night about it and wanted to know his opinion. He's just been getting frustrated. His latest lessons have been capitals and semi-colon and colon. The problem is that the lesson always has lots of whatever it has covered, so he was having to basically keep one of the shift keys down the whole time. And his pinky doesn't move well so the semi-colon and colon were hard. We finally decided that he had learned enough to get by. Our goal is to have him be able to type notes when he's in college because it would be easier for him to keep up with than handwriting. I think it's part of his Aspergers, the difficulty with writing. I'm not sure. He knows where all the letters are, shift keys, and comma and period. He types 40 - 45 wpm when he's typing random words, and about closer to 35 wpm when he's typing sentences. I didn't realize he was that good. We don't think that's bad. He'll continue to play games and practice those simple things. I'm also thinking of creating some easy dictation for him so he can learn to type without having the words to guide him. I told him that in a pinch, if he's typing notes, he doesn't have to use capitals. No one will see his notes so he can really do what he wants. But I do think knowing the comma and period are really important.


Thank you for your opinions. It's so hard to know when to say enough and when to continue challenging.

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My ds is young, but he is also on the spectrum and has some fine motor control issues. He just can't "control" his hands as well as other children his age. Add some visual issues and it can be frustrating. I think in regards to typing, I would be happy with speed over correct finger placement. Some may disagree. We've played around with BBC typepad and it frustrated him. But if left alone to type on his own, he can type okay. I think just getting him to use both hands and multiple fingers, and to be able to scan from the keyboard to the screen repeatedly, and to pick up speed and minimize errors, as well as having a strong memory of the keyboard layout may be best? I'm not sure.


I know that for right now if I asked him to keep his fingers correctly placed, it's frustrating.

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