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Ok, my son cannot learn to type. Anyone have this problem with a child?


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He has been working on typing for 3 years. He started with type to learn (because I heard it recommended for kids with dysgraphia) and he's been using typing instructor for over a year now. He had a very difficult time learning to write and didn't actually attain any kind of fluency until we began cursive in 3rd grade. His handwriting isn't pretty, but it is perfectly legible if he makes an effort.

 

He does only spend 10 or 15 minutes a day on typing. Maybe I need to increase that significantly? He can type about 20 wpm, but that is only with looking at the keyboard the whole time.

 

Anyone tackle this successfully?

 

TIA!

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You may want to try something else. The following posting may help you:

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/388393-typing-program/page__hl__typing#entry3949399

 

When I taught DS to type, he could not see his hands. The keyboard tray was pushed under the desk and he practiced 10 minutes, took a short break, and practiced 10 more minutes. We did this every morning for one semester. We followed all the ergonomic suggestions with chair and monitor height. Accuracy was more important than speed.

 

The Ultra Key software might be worth exploring.

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I think typing 20 WPM is perfectly fine. I also think looking at the keyboard is perfectly fine. In fact, I often do! As long as he knows the keyboard, I think he could just begin typing his work now, and he will improve.

 

When I switched my ds to typing for his work he was typing 9 WPM. It was just using typing everyday for his work that helped him improve. Now he would rather type than dictate to the computer because that is just how he thinks!

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My son was unable to learn to type using any type of method or program. I eventually gave up on those and he figured out his own way. Yes, he sometimes looks at the keys, and he doesn't type with the recommended fingers, but he types faster than I do. And I look at the keyboard sometimes too. My husband also came up with his own method, and I can't even come close to his speed. Chatting with online friends in Club Penguin and similar sites when he was younger is what really motivated him to type faster.

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You may want to try something else. The following posting may help you:

http://forums.welltr...ng#entry3949399

 

When I taught DS to type, he could not see his hands. The keyboard tray was pushed under the desk and he practiced 10 minutes, took a short break, and practiced 10 more minutes. We did this every morning for one semester. We followed all the ergonomic suggestions with chair and monitor height. Accuracy was more important than speed.

 

The Ultra Key software might be worth exploring.

Thanks for the link to that thread. Lots of great info there. I am curious what makes UltraKey different than other typing programs (since I've already bought 2). Though I will probably buy it and try. It can't hurt anything but my wallet, LOL. I don't really have a way to set things up so my son can't see his hands, but I could try and get creative with that. I honestly don't know that he'll be able to type without looking, though. It's just one more frustration in a long line of things that makes schoolwork more difficult for him than the average kid.

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I think typing 20 WPM is perfectly fine. I also think looking at the keyboard is perfectly fine. In fact, I often do! As long as he knows the keyboard, I think he could just begin typing his work now, and he will improve.

 

When I switched my ds to typing for his work he was typing 9 WPM. It was just using typing everyday for his work that helped him improve. Now he would rather type than dictate to the computer because that is just how he thinks!

Oh, I don't know. It is just so painfully slow. The 20 wpm is according to Typing Instructor, but I'm guessing it may not even be 20 words per minute when you account for the fact that he's got to look up at his paper and memorize as much as possible and then look back at the keyboard and type it. He's always been terrible at dictation and I suspect he is only able to hold short amounts in his head at a time, especially while trying to type at the same time.He does type his papers 99% of the time. Once in awhile I'll jump in after he's had a particularly long day and type something up for him. He is always so grateful when I do that because I can type in 5 minutes what it takes him an hour to do. This particular kid has no interest in computers at all. It's all I can do to get him to dictate an e-mail to me so that I can type it and respond to people (mostly from Boy Scouts) that he needs to get back to. Thanks for the encouragement, though. You have got me thinking that I really need to sit and observe him next time he is typing so I can better evaluate how he is doing and if there is anything I can do to help.

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My son was unable to learn to type using any type of method or program. I eventually gave up on those and he figured out his own way. Yes, he sometimes looks at the keys, and he doesn't type with the recommended fingers, but he types faster than I do. And I look at the keyboard sometimes too. My husband also came up with his own method, and I can't even come close to his speed. Chatting with online friends in Club Penguin and similar sites when he was younger is what really motivated him to type faster.

 

Interesting. In the other thread that was linked, one of the mom's linked an article to ldonline that I believe I've read in the past (though I haven't had a chance to read it yet today). I think it says to give the child about 10 minutes a typing instruction using the regular method so they know how typing is supposed to be done and then let them type the rest of the day however they want. That eventually they will figure out a system. I need to talk to my son about this. He is quite the rule follower and I can pretty much bet that he always tries to do everything just the way he was taught when he types. I need to let him know he can do things differently if another way is easier for him. And maybe I'll have to give up on the idea that he will not be a touch typist. Thanks!

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My son taught himself to type playing online games like Toon Town, Club Penguin, Minecraft, etc where he wanted to chat. I tried to "teach" him using Dance Mat typing and a few other low-cost options but he hated them and couldn't do it. He doesn't type the right way but he uses both hands, doesn't look, and seems to type about 40 wpm. I kind of wish I had taught him the correct finger placement before he got so much practice because I think it may be hard for him to go back now, but if your son knows the starting placement, some fun activities rather than drill might help reinforce it.

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You may want to try something else. The following posting may help you:

http://forums.welltr...ng#entry3949399

 

When I taught DS to type, he could not see his hands. The keyboard tray was pushed under the desk and he practiced 10 minutes, took a short break, and practiced 10 more minutes. We did this every morning for one semester. We followed all the ergonomic suggestions with chair and monitor height. Accuracy was more important than speed.

 

The Ultra Key software might be worth exploring.

How long did you have your son type each day when he was learning?

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My son taught himself to type playing online games like Toon Town, Club Penguin, Minecraft, etc where he wanted to chat. I tried to "teach" him using Dance Mat typing and a few other low-cost options but he hated them and couldn't do it. He doesn't type the right way but he uses both hands, doesn't look, and seems to type about 40 wpm. I kind of wish I had taught him the correct finger placement before he got so much practice because I think it may be hard for him to go back now, but if your son knows the starting placement, some fun activities rather than drill might help reinforce it.

Sounds like if he is doing 40 wpm, he's doing great. In one of the articles that was linked, it was stated that it was good to teach correct placement, but then to just let kids who struggle make their own modifications. My nephew, who cannot write at all, types very quickly and he's never had a typing lesson in his life. He does love to play on the computer, though.

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How long did you have your son type each day when he was learning?

 

 

For practice? 20 minutes with a break in the middle....After he practiced? None...I scribed for him, he played with Dragon Speak Naturally, or he wrote with messy handwriting. Once he started learning to type, I didn't turn him loose on a keyboard until he mastered it. I didn't want to re-enforce negative habits during the learning process.

 

Btw, I am utterly shameless in the rewards and prize department. I bribed and did all that I could to encourage him and make typing work.

 

Your child may need a more particularized typing program that suits his learning style. He may need some sort of OT, or he may work best with speech to text software. Keep the options open. Blessings, h

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He has been working on typing for 3 years. He started with type to learn (because I heard it recommended for kids with dysgraphia) and he's been using typing instructor for over a year now. He had a very difficult time learning to write and didn't actually attain any kind of fluency until we began cursive in 3rd grade. His handwriting isn't pretty, but it is perfectly legible if he makes an effort.

 

He does only spend 10 or 15 minutes a day on typing. Maybe I need to increase that significantly? He can type about 20 wpm, but that is only with looking at the keyboard the whole time.

 

Anyone tackle this successfully?

 

TIA!

 

 

Which typing instructor? The one for kids with lots of games to play? If so, has he gotten to liking any of the games? My ds got quite improved mainly with the typing with sharks and the tomb typer working gradually up and up in difficulty. If it is same program, I might be able to give specifics on how my ds has used it successfully.

 

How old is he, and what does he like to do?

 

I am wondering about the sense that you need him to do touch typing. If he works direct onto computer the issue of typing from a paper disappears by and large. I'm not sure that it is so bad to look for others than word processing professionals. Whether 20wpm is good or not depends on age and what he needs to do. Some journalists used to type with just 2 fingers (maybe still do), but do so fast enough to do their jobs.

 

Also some people have moved to keyboards other than QWERTY. It was designed to slow down excellent typists to keep keys from jamming -- with a computer, that is no longer an issue. I do not know how one converts to something else though.

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Which typing instructor? The one for kids with lots of games to play? If so, has he gotten to liking any of the games? My ds got quite improved mainly with the typing with sharks and the tomb typer working gradually up and up in difficulty. If it is same program, I might be able to give specifics on how my ds has used it successfully.

 

How old is he, and what does he like to do?

 

I am wondering about the sense that you need him to do touch typing. If he works direct onto computer the issue of typing from a paper disappears by and large. I'm not sure that it is so bad to look for others than word processing professionals. Whether 20wpm is good or not depends on age and what he needs to do. Some journalists used to type with just 2 fingers (maybe still do), but do so fast enough to do their jobs.

 

Also some people have moved to keyboards other than QWERTY. It was designed to slow down excellent typists to keep keys from jamming -- with a computer, that is no longer an issue. I do not know how one converts to something else though.

 

It's the regular TI, but it does have games. Maybe he doesn't need to touch type, but my instinct tells me that he needs to develop automaticity with typing in order for it to be truly useful to him. At this point, he has an easier time writing his papers in cursive than typing them. He has developed a level of automaticity with cursive, but still can't write very fast. I think about him trying to take notes in college. Also, the local votech school offers a certification program in computer systems, which I think would be a good fit for him career-wise (It's almost exactly what his dad does.), but it requires a high typing speed to even get into the program.

 

As far as what my son likes to do, he loves board games, having nerf gun wars with his friends, participating in Boy Scouts, especially the camping, and swimming on a recreational swim team. He's a pretty serious coin collector. Though my dad bought him a software program to catalog all his coins and he didn't make it far inputting them.

 

IDK, he has such a difficult time organizing his thoughts, I just wanted to try and make this part of writing easier for him.

 

Thanks for trying to help.

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Hmmm. Since not quite same program this may not help, but see if it has a "typing with sharks" game. If so, and if he might find that fun, it can be set to start on home row only at a lowish speed and work up speed on that row only, then go back and add another level of difficulty with the speed back down and work back up on speed and so on. You have to watch the words on the sharks while you type them before they sink your submarine, so it means you do have to touch type. Anyway, that game got my son from about 8 wpm to about 40 wpm on regular keyboard, no numbers, mainly because he found it fun enough to do it a lot.

 

 

Possibly you could have him do chess on computer to move from board based game to use of computer. ????

 

My ds started duolingo language which also requires typing--I don't really see any connection to things you say he likes, but maybe something like that would be another inroad--it has an area for having a group of friends work on a language in a friendly competitive way, so maybe in some way that could be another typing opportunity.

 

Why are you thinking a computer systems career for him? Are there actually aspects of computer that he does like to be involved in?

 

Funny in a way that you want your child to do more on computer. So many parents have the opposite trouble that their child is computer addicted and will only play computer games or do computer social interaction, even to point of texting someone right there in same room. So many will not get out and swim, camp, etc. Do be thankful for these real world activities and real world human interactions!

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Hmmm. Since not quite same program this may not help, but see if it has a "typing with sharks" game. If so, and if he might find that fun, it can be set to start on home row only at a lowish speed and work up speed on that row only, then go back and add another level of difficulty with the speed back down and work back up on speed and so on. You have to watch the words on the sharks while you type them before they sink your submarine, so it means you do have to touch type. Anyway, that game got my son from about 8 wpm to about 40 wpm on regular keyboard, no numbers, mainly because he found it fun enough to do it a lot.

 

 

Possibly you could have him do chess on computer to move from board based game to use of computer. ????

 

My ds started duolingo language which also requires typing--I don't really see any connection to things you say he likes, but maybe something like that would be another inroad--it has an area for having a group of friends work on a language in a friendly competitive way, so maybe in some way that could be another typing opportunity.

 

Why are you thinking a computer systems career for him? Are there actually aspects of computer that he does like to be involved in?

 

Funny in a way that you want your child to do more on computer. So many parents have the opposite trouble that their child is computer addicted and will only play computer games or do computer social interaction, even to point of texting someone right there in same room. So many will not get out and swim, camp, etc. Do be thankful for these real world activities and real world human interactions!

 

Thanks for the ideas. I think I am going to sit and observe him this week and see exactly how he is using the typing program and see if there's anything I can adjust to help him improve. I'll really check out the games. I think there is one something like he shark one you mentioned.

 

I don't really want him playing on the computer more. I just want him to be able to develop good typing skills so that things are easier for him. The computer systems career is probably a pipe dream, but my husband is a telecom engineer, which means he coordinates all the phone systems for a large corporation. Computers just seem a better way to go than phones and my son is so like my husband, I was thinking that might be something that would work out for him. It is a very interactive job, involving talking to people all day and doing a lot of detail oriented work. My dh has some mild language disabilities, but I think my son's are probably much worse, so that may not be a possibility. I just know that this is a kid who is going to need a technical job, as well as lots of interaction with people. He'll probably surprise me and major in communications, LOL.

 

Anyway, I'm just going on and on. I'd forgotten how nice everyone is on this board and it's been so great to talk some of this through. Thanks so much for the help!

Lisa

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How long did you have your son type each day when he was learning?

 

The f and j keys have tiny little bumps on them to help the user line their fingers up on the home row. Maybe remind your son of that. Your sons hands and keyboard may be covered by a light cloth/towel as he types too, so that he types without being able to see the keyboard.

 

If you decide to invest in a different typing program, call the publisher and speak with their customer service first. Some companies may provide a free trial. I have read about one program that works very slowly and is a very gentle approach as compared to something like Mavis. You'll need to search the boards.

 

OhE taught her DD using the Dvorak layout with Mavis.

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Since every keyboard in the house has a slightly different spacing and the special keys are not all in the same place, I decided not to even bother teaching touch typing.

 

The kids learned to type when they started working on the computer and it gradually speeded up through use. No special programs or games. The more they used it, the faster they got.

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Have you considered investing in an AlphaSmart Neo with Cowriter? Basically it's a battery operated word processor - has a standard keyboard. Cowriter is a word prediction program. You type in the first letter or 2 of the word, and 6 word choices come up on the screen. You enter a number (1-6) to choose the appropriate word. Seriously it's fabulous, and I think it helps with spelling too - because they see the correct word and learn to choose it. The word prediction is quite "smart" - it predicts grammatically correct word tenses and gives choices based on the frequency of what words your child is typing.

 

http://www.neo-direct.com/NEO2/keyfeatures/cowriter.aspx

 

It's one of the best investments we ever made.

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Pastel, I was kind of at my wit's end for my dd (I know, people don't think of girls with this!), because her handwriting was scary AND the typing wasn't going well. How old is your dc? I wasn't really worried when my dd was young and typing at a modest speed, pecking, looking at her hands, using alternate fingers. When they get into junior high and high school though and you need them to type full papers, that won't seem so cute anymore. Not that it was every cute, at that point you look at 20 wpm and realize it's non-functional and that they can't GET any higher.

 

Yes, we switched her to Dvorak. My dh thought I was a witch, and my dd wasn't happy AT. ALL. But you know now she THANKS me and blesses my name over it. Seriously. So that's the first thing, look into Dvorak. With Dvorak the keyboard won't be labeled, meaning he'll have to learn them. There are less midline crosses (huge for our kids!), and it's just plain more efficient. Yes, I also gave her an account and more time on the computer with social things (email, etc.). And yes, I used Mavis Beacon. MB plus the change to Dvorak was good for us. I'm not sure staying where we were would have solved things.

 

Btw, some trivia for you. Look at his speed when he's typing what's in his head vs. what he reads. He may be higher at one than the other. I think it has to do with that midline of the brain thing. My dd struggled with piano also. I did some reading about it here on the boards (try MommyFaithe's posts) and it's something about going from thing on paper to finger on key requires the info to cross the midline in the brain. When that doesn't work well, you get glitches. Like my dd could tell you the names of the notes or strike a not when told the name, but she couldn't read the name and strike the note. Yup. We may try again this summer, just for the therapeutic value, but anyways.

 

So she's been at that very functional 35-40-ish range for a year or so now. This summer I'm wanting to bribe her (yes, definitely) and see if I can get her up to 70 wpm for high school. Like I said, I need more speed and more accuracy to help her get out all her thoughts and get out her papers, type notes during college lectures, etc. Don't think short term. I'm not meaning to degrade other people's choices. I'm just saying that's why I decided to make that choice to change keyboard layouts, because I wanted her FUNCTIONAL. This way she can type, and it's not holding her back. You can also google and find standards for each grade. Like google 7th grade typing wpm and see what you get... I don't know how old your dc is, but you get the idea.

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Have you considered investing in an AlphaSmart Neo with Cowriter? Basically it's a battery operated word processor - has a standard keyboard. Cowriter is a word prediction program. You type in the first letter or 2 of the word, and 6 word choices come up on the screen. You enter a number (1-6) to choose the appropriate word. Seriously it's fabulous, and I think it helps with spelling too - because they see the correct word and learn to choose it. The word prediction is quite "smart" - it predicts grammatically correct word tenses and gives choices based on the frequency of what words your child is typing.

 

http://www.neo-direct.com/NEO2/keyfeatures/cowriter.aspx

 

It's one of the best investments we ever made.

 

This looks really good. I like that it would take some of the pressure off of him in areas other than just typing as well. It seems like everything is a struggle these days. I'm going to spend some more time looking at it today and will seriously consider it.

 

Thank you!

 

ETA: I've read through the site and this looks like it could be really helpful. But does it attach to our computer some way? The screen is so small on the device. How does that work? Do you type on it and watch what you are typing on the small screen and then just look at what you've written overall in the end? Not sure I'm making sense, but can you see what you are typing on your regular computer screen as you are using this thing and do the word prompts show up there or do you have to keep looking down at the small screen on the device? Also, it says it will sit on any laptop. Can you use it with a regular computer as well? Can you use it to type into Word?

Thanks again!

 

ETA: it looks like I could use the Dvorak keyboard setting on this as well.

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Pastel, I was kind of at my wit's end for my dd (I know, people don't think of girls with this!), because her handwriting was scary AND the typing wasn't going well. How old is your dc? I wasn't really worried when my dd was young and typing at a modest speed, pecking, looking at her hands, using alternate fingers. When they get into junior high and high school though and you need them to type full papers, that won't seem so cute anymore. Not that it was every cute, at that point you look at 20 wpm and realize it's non-functional and that they can't GET any higher.

 

Yes, we switched her to Dvorak. My dh thought I was a witch, and my dd wasn't happy AT. ALL. But you know now she THANKS me and blesses my name over it. Seriously. So that's the first thing, look into Dvorak. With Dvorak the keyboard won't be labeled, meaning he'll have to learn them. There are less midline crosses (huge for our kids!), and it's just plain more efficient. Yes, I also gave her an account and more time on the computer with social things (email, etc.). And yes, I used Mavis Beacon. MB plus the change to Dvorak was good for us. I'm not sure staying where we were would have solved things.

 

Btw, some trivia for you. Look at his speed when he's typing what's in his head vs. what he reads. He may be higher at one than the other. I think it has to do with that midline of the brain thing. My dd struggled with piano also. I did some reading about it here on the boards (try MommyFaithe's posts) and it's something about going from thing on paper to finger on key requires the info to cross the midline in the brain. When that doesn't work well, you get glitches. Like my dd could tell you the names of the notes or strike a not when told the name, but she couldn't read the name and strike the note. Yup. We may try again this summer, just for the therapeutic value, but anyways.

 

So she's been at that very functional 35-40-ish range for a year or so now. This summer I'm wanting to bribe her (yes, definitely) and see if I can get her up to 70 wpm for high school. Like I said, I need more speed and more accuracy to help her get out all her thoughts and get out her papers, type notes during college lectures, etc. Don't think short term. I'm not meaning to degrade other people's choices. I'm just saying that's why I decided to make that choice to change keyboard layouts, because I wanted her FUNCTIONAL. This way she can type, and it's not holding her back. You can also google and find standards for each grade. Like google 7th grade typing wpm and see what you get... I don't know how old your dc is, but you get the idea.

 

 

Hi Elizabeth. I did really toy with the Dvorak keyboard and even learned how to switch ours over when I saw you posting about it a year or more ago. At the time, I felt that would be a last resort because my fear was that he wouldn't have access to that format at a time when he really needed it.

 

Anyway, we may be getting to last resort here. I've had a busy week and haven't observed him typing this week, but I'm going to do that today. My son is 13 and will be 14 in a few short months. He's come so far, but there are days when I really begin to realize just how much he is struggling. I think the other thing that is confusing for me is that he has days where he does so well and then others that make me wonder why I'm even trying.

 

 

How did you use MB with Dvorak? My son has difficulty just getting his thoughts out clearly when he is speaking, let alone trying to write or type them. I think that's a big difference between our kids. He's also a very concrete thinker. I always say he has an expressive language disorder because that seems like the biggest issue, but his fine motor and, more important, gross motor and planning issues are a real obstacle as well. I thought we were past that when I got him writing in cursive, but now I see it affects him in so many ways, from speaking to playing sports, to carrying out all the steps in a task.

 

This has been a discouraging week for me, so I appreciate everyone's feedback so much. Thanks again.

 

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Hi Elizabeth. I did really toy with the Dvorak keyboard and even learned how to switch ours over when I saw you posting about it a year or more ago. At the time, I felt that would be a last resort because my fear was that he wouldn't have access to that format at a time when he really needed it.

 

Anyway, we may be getting to last resort here. I've had a busy week and haven't observed him typing this week, but I'm going to do that today. My son is 13 and will be 14 in a few short months. He's come so far, but there are days when I really begin to realize just how much he is struggling. I think the other thing that is confusing for me is that he has days where he does so well and then others that make me wonder why I'm even trying.

 

 

How did you use MB with Dvorak? My son has difficulty just getting his thoughts out clearly when he is speaking, let alone trying to write or type them. I think that's a big difference between our kids. He's also a very concrete thinker. I always say he has an expressive language disorder because that seems like the biggest issue, but his fine motor and, more important, gross motor and planning issues are a real obstacle as well. I thought we were past that when I got him writing in cursive, but now I see it affects him in so many ways, from speaking to playing sports, to carrying out all the steps in a task.

 

This has been a discouraging week for me, so I appreciate everyone's feedback so much. Thanks again.

 

 

Hi Pastel, I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I know it's nerve-wracking to try to sort through these things. It's not like we're emotionally ambivalent; it really MATTERS to us how it turns out! As Kathy Kuhl says in her convention talks though, even if it DOESN'T work out, it's STILL ok. I know that scenario doesn't occur to us, but she's btdt and says it's the case. :grouphug:

 

Next, with the things you're describing, I'll back up and ask a question. Have you done evals? He should have evals done. The things you're talking about are pretty serious, and you need some honest answers and honest advice. If you haven't done evals yet, that's one thing to work on pronto. You need *words* for these problems so you can research better on the internet and find *options*. Right now you're seeing less options, because maybe you don't have the right words? That's the good part of labels, so see what you can do there or start using those terms if you have them. (dysgraphia, expressive language disorder, etc.)

 

Next, I'll ask a question that's NONE of my business (but I'll do it anyway, haha). You consider him rising 8th or 9th? Summer birthday plus boy plus things not working right maybe = transition year? Like I said, none of my beeswax. If meeting certain expectations is really rough-going and things seem more on track with a grade adjustment, it's one thing to consider.

 

I hear you on Dvorak being the last resort. But remember, it's an EASY ADJUSTMENT on any computer. I can't fathom a situation where a person with a documented disability (which you're going to have because you're going to get the evals) couldn't get permission to toggle the computer to Dvorak in a class where he's required to use their computer. And if he's on his computer, then it doesn't even matter. In fact it's all the better. Can you imagine the campus thief who tries to steal his laptop and can't figure out why the thing won't type? :lol: :lol:

 

Not all Mavis Beacon software has Dvorak. Mine was MB for mac. If you're on a pc, there are free options online. It's DEFINITELY worth the effort.

 

Yes, our kids are doubtless different. We've had the evals, so we have some labels. You get your evals and then we'll trade labels. :D No, seriously I hate the labels. These problems are all so similar and intertwined, that it's often a matter of degrees. There can be, as you say, a really BIG SPREAD in degree of impairment. I make no guarantees. It worked for us, but I found it googling terms that fit and meshing it with what I knew of how she thought and functioned. We have known midline issues, so I knew decreasing midline crossing would help. It doesn't sound like that's *all* you have going on, which is again why you get evals, so you can make informed choices.

 

Don't be afraid of Dvorak. It doesn't hurt regular people, just makes them faster. It's just giving him the optimal chance. I had already tried several types of software with her for QWERTY. I've seen some of the adaptations people make for teaching QWERTY, with keyboards with finger guides, that sort of thing. To me it would have been beating down a path that wasn't going to be successful. You just watched her fingers and could tell that. Dvorak solved that. Her fingers stay on one row most of the time, which means it takes dramatically less complicated motion to get her thoughts out.

 

So whatever, don't be afraid of Dvorak. Get some evals. Keep us posted. :)

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Hi Pastel, I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I know it's nerve-wracking to try to sort through these things. It's not like we're emotionally ambivalent; it really MATTERS to us how it turns out! As Kathy Kuhl says in her convention talks though, even if it DOESN'T work out, it's STILL ok. I know that scenario doesn't occur to us, but she's btdt and says it's the case. :grouphug:

 

Next, with the things you're describing, I'll back up and ask a question. Have you done evals? He should have evals done. The things you're talking about are pretty serious, and you need some honest answers and honest advice. If you haven't done evals yet, that's one thing to work on pronto. You need *words* for these problems so you can research better on the internet and find *options*. Right now you're seeing less options, because maybe you don't have the right words? That's the good part of labels, so see what you can do there or start using those terms if you have them. (dysgraphia, expressive language disorder, etc.)

 

Next, I'll ask a question that's NONE of my business (but I'll do it anyway, haha). You consider him rising 8th or 9th? Summer birthday plus boy plus things not working right maybe = transition year? Like I said, none of my beeswax. If meeting certain expectations is really rough-going and things seem more on track with a grade adjustment, it's one thing to consider.

 

I hear you on Dvorak being the last resort. But remember, it's an EASY ADJUSTMENT on any computer. I can't fathom a situation where a person with a documented disability (which you're going to have because you're going to get the evals) couldn't get permission to toggle the computer to Dvorak in a class where he's required to use their computer. And if he's on his computer, then it doesn't even matter. In fact it's all the better. Can you imagine the campus thief who tries to steal his laptop and can't figure out why the thing won't type? :lol: :lol:

 

Not all Mavis Beacon software has Dvorak. Mine was MB for mac. If you're on a pc, there are free options online. It's DEFINITELY worth the effort.

 

Yes, our kids are doubtless different. We've had the evals, so we have some labels. You get your evals and then we'll trade labels. :D No, seriously I hate the labels. These problems are all so similar and intertwined, that it's often a matter of degrees. There can be, as you say, a really BIG SPREAD in degree of impairment. I make no guarantees. It worked for us, but I found it googling terms that fit and meshing it with what I knew of how she thought and functioned. We have known midline issues, so I knew decreasing midline crossing would help. It doesn't sound like that's *all* you have going on, which is again why you get evals, so you can make informed choices.

 

Don't be afraid of Dvorak. It doesn't hurt regular people, just makes them faster. It's just giving him the optimal chance. I had already tried several types of software with her for QWERTY. I've seen some of the adaptations people make for teaching QWERTY, with keyboards with finger guides, that sort of thing. To me it would have been beating down a path that wasn't going to be successful. You just watched her fingers and could tell that. Dvorak solved that. Her fingers stay on one row most of the time, which means it takes dramatically less complicated motion to get her thoughts out.

 

So whatever, don't be afraid of Dvorak. Get some evals. Keep us posted. :)

 

Thanks, Elizabeth. We have had evals both through the school, with a developmental pediatrician, through Children's Hospital, an OT, an independent speech/language pathologist and through Lindamood Bell. Some were done when he was 2 - 6 years old, but we took him back to LMB about a year and a half ago and we also had him reevaluated by a speech pathologist a bit prior to that. He's done speech/language therapy, LMB's V/V, OT, social skills group for a year, Berard auditory training, Neuronet and I'm sure there is more that I'm just forgetting. The only label I ever received for him was expressive-receptive language disorder, though when he was young, autism was on the table until we tried dietary interventions that changed his life. When I talk about his issues, I usually just say expressive language disorder because I feel V/V almost completely resolved the receptive issues.

 

When he was kindergarten age, he tested in the 2nd percentile for fine motor skills. (The school felt intervention was unnecessary, ha!). Anyway, I did part of the NILD program with him at home called rhythmic writing for a couple of years and that really seemed to help. Switching to cursive was a big help as well.

 

So, he's got a label, but if you google "expressive language disorder" the only therapies that come up are speech/language therapy, which we never felt was helpful, and it used to be you would see a lot of recs for social skills groups, but that doesn't seem to be mentioned as much anymore. He clearly has gross motor and motor planning issues as well, but we did OT for 2 years, got amazing benefits in the first few months and then never really saw any improvements beyond that, so we dropped OT and put him on the swim team. Sadly, he hasn't been able to develop certain skills in swimming, so all his friends are moving on to more competitive teams next year and he was going to be stuck with the younger kids. He loves swimming, but he's decided not to continue. This has been a real heartbreak for him, I think.

 

He has gotten much, much better. His standardized testing in first grade had to be redone because it didn't meet the minimum 20th percentile. Every year since then, his grade equivalent number (and I understand what that number means) has jumped more than one year. Some years, it's jumped 3 years. So, he began way below average In every area except for vocab (go figure) and now his scores range from the 85th to the 99th percentile on the IOWA and the school administers the test, not me.

 

BUT, he still clearly struggles, making tons of glitchy mistakes on things he understands perfectly well and with writing and speaking in an organized, clear manner. This is his second year taking a writing class where he is supposed to write a paragraph a week and it takes him 4-6 hours to write something decent and then I pay a friend of mine to come in and talk him through it for two and a half hours to help him clean it up and think it through.

 

I did hold him back a grade in K. He just makes the deadline by a few weeks, so I never considered doing anything else. So, he will be an older 8th grader this year.

 

I spoke a llittle with Kathy Kuhl at CHAP, but I'm sorry I missed her lectures. She recommended seeking out a speech pathologist again now that he is older and I did put a call in to one last week. I'm going to have to buy Kathy's book.

 

Anyway, thanks for reading all this. It helps just to "talk" it through a bit. I'm seriously thinking about the Noe2 mentioned above. It does support Dvorak, but might be helpful to him in other ways as well. I suppose I am going to have to get official evals done again prior to college, I'm just not sure when the best time to do that is.

 

It sounds like I need to do some googling on the MB Dvorak as well. And thank goodness I only had one other child, though I desperately wanted others. This particular kid wins the award for most expensive child on earth, LOL. Worth every penny, of course.

 

Thanks so much!

Lisa

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This looks really good. I like that it would take some of the pressure off of him in areas other than just typing as well. It seems like everything is a struggle these days. I'm going to spend some more time looking at it today and will seriously consider it.

 

Thank you!

 

ETA: I've read through the site and this looks like it could be really helpful. But does it attach to our computer some way? The screen is so small on the device. How does that work? Do you type on it and watch what you are typing on the small screen and then just look at what you've written overall in the end? Not sure I'm making sense, but can you see what you are typing on your regular computer screen as you are using this thing and do the word prompts show up there or do you have to keep looking down at the small screen on the device? Also, it says it will sit on any laptop. Can you use it with a regular computer as well? Can you use it to type into Word?

Thanks again!

 

ETA: it looks like I could use the Dvorak keyboard setting on this as well.

 

The AlphaSmart is a stand alone word processor, with the ability to transfer files to a PC. It comes with software that you can install on your PC. To transfer what you type, you will need to use a cable unless you purchase their wireless transfer device (we have not done that). I can't remember if you can transfer it into Word or maybe Google Docs.

 

Yes, you type directly on the AlphaSmart and you see what you type on the screen. I suppose it is a little small, but the font size is very nice and until you mentioned it I hadn't given the screen size a thought. With CoWriter installed, yes, the Word Prediction choices show up right on the AlphaSmart screen. If you are thinking you don't like the screen, I'd recommend looking into buying CoWriter to add to your PC and just skip the whole AlphaSmart. I believe you can do that. The portability of the AlphaSmart is very nice though. If you ever think your child would go back to a traditional school setting it's very possible they could use one there too.

 

You might consider calling and asking if they have some sort of money-back guarantee or return policy. Maybe you could try it out to see if would work for you?

 

HTH.

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I asked Susan Barton for her recommendation and I receieved this message. Maybe try some of the tips included about settings.

 

From Susan....

 

My favorite typing program is called Type To Learn by Sunburst Software.

 

It runs on both a Mac and a PC, and it is very inexpensive.

 

You can buy the Home version in most computer stores, or directly from Sunburst Software on their website by going to:

http://commerce.sunburst.com/product.aspx?p=91472

 

When it arrives, make sure it won't frustrate the student by changing its settings to Low Vocabulary, Large Font, 8 words per minute, and 70% accuracy.

 

Once they have gone through the lessons once, change the settings to Medium Vocabulary, Medium Font, 20 or 25 words per minute, and 85% accuracy.

 

Most students are typing between 30 and 45 words per minute by the time they've gone through the lessons a second time. And because the settings are different the second time through, the lessons seem entirely new.

 

 

Start a child doing 10 or 15 minutes a day of Type To Learn as soon as the child's hands are large enough to reach the keys. Or go to a store like Fry's Electronics and purchase a three-quarter size keyboard.

 

 

You may also want to purchase a removable key-cap cover, to use during the lessons, which costs about $ 15. You can purchase them on this website:

www.protectcovers.com/index.php/keyboard-typing-tutor.html

 

 

Most students will be able to type at least 25 words per minute by the time they've gone through the lessons a second time. At that point, a child with dyslexia should be allowed to type all school assignments. For in-class assignments, they can use an Neo portable keyboard (which used to be called the AlphaSmart Pro keyboard). These battery operated keyboards weight about a pound, fit easily in a backpack, are very sturdy, and the Neo version costs only $ 169. To learn more, go to:

www.neo-direct.com/

 

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  • 2 months later...

My son is 8 years old and he already loves the internet, I am trying to teach him to type fast. He likes =) I originally asked him to try online lessons. Tried these sites http://www.ratatype.com/, http://www.typingweb.com/ He pretty well, but still far from ideal. Try online lessons should help.

When I look at theses sites, and even when DS sat in the NT classroom, the emphasis with typing seems to be on speed.  I disagree with this premise when teaching an elementary aged student to type.  Accuracy and ergonomics are far more important.  

 

When I brought DS home mid 5th grade, It took about 5 weeks to deprogram and convince him that accurate typing was the goal.  Once he slowed down and focused on accuracy, speed improved.  

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Well, since I started this thread, I'll share that I just bought a new typing program that I saw in a free copy of HSDLA's newsletter in their struggling learners section.  It is called Keyboard Classroom.  It is the only typing program I have seen that seems to actually have some special features that might be helpful to my son.  We aren't going to start using it for a couple of weeks yet, but I'll report back if we have any success with it.  If not, we're going to take a break from typing and try Dragon or the Dvorak keyboard. 

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Now, this is interesting. I just held out my hands and asked my son to identify the home keys for each finger and he didn't know 2 of them!! And he has a really good memory for a lot of things.

I don't think this means much. I couldn't do that either and I type about 90-100wpm using standard finger positions, more or less.

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Interesting discussion about the midline thing. Oldest DD struggles with 5 finger typing (though she is super-quick with 1 finger typing on the ipad) and also with learning the piano. I've been suspecting motor planning issues because she also has difficulty with penmanship, tying shoes, learning to ride her bike, dance choreography, etc. despite relatively good coordination & fine motor skills.

 

I will have to look into the Dvorak keyboard.

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I don't think this means much. I couldn't do that either and I type about 90-100wpm using standard finger positions, more or less.

Interesting. My sister said the same thing last night when I mentioned your comment. I type as fast as you, but still have asdf jkl; engrained on my brain along with the fingers that go with those letters. When I asked my dd, who can do all her own typing, she knows all the home keys and associated fingers as well. I'm not sure what the difference is. I guess I was hoping that it indicated that if I just emphasized that he needed to memorize the keyboard, it might help. I was even thinking of having him do some "air typing" to practice which fingers hit which keys about 5 minutes a day.

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Interesting discussion about the midline thing. Oldest DD struggles with 5 finger typing (though she is super-quick with 1 finger typing on the ipad) and also with learning the piano. I've been suspecting motor planning issues because she also has difficulty with penmanship, tying shoes, learning to ride her bike, dance choreography, etc. despite relatively good coordination & fine motor skills.

 

I will have to look into the Dvorak keyboard.

Yes, we tried piano with dd for several years.  (first with me, then a formal teacher)  She could strike the key if you said the note name, or she could read the note and tell you the name.  However to read the note and strike the key, that was horrible.  That requires crossing the midline, a big weakness.  I finally stopped the lessons, since it was a year of paid (and more of me) and she was only memorizing.  I don't know what it would have taken to get her to actually read and play music, but the teacher was working on her masters and apparently hadn't had enough education classes to recognize what was happening.  :(

 

And yes, at our eval he said her handwriting is still not automatic for motor control.  Didn't give her a dysgraphia label, but did say her handwriting is not automatic.  And the OT mentioned praxis during the eval as being evident in certain things she did and then didn't put that into the report.  (She was TOTALLY hairbrained.)  I've somewhat wondered if the reason the psych didn't put dysgraphia was because the OT didn't mention the praxis, but I have no clue.  Spit spit.  Anyways, that's what's going on here.

 

She was, um, well she had just started to ride a bike and tie shoes before her VT eval, and that was age 10, turning 11.  The shoes were a bit earlier, because she tied her own skates the year ds was born.  Up till then, I had always tied them.  I think some of it was the praxis showing up (inability to imitate  as in motor plan something only seen, not described) and some of it was visual memory, vestibular, and bilaterality stuff.  

 

So yes, look into Dvorak.  I don't consider QWERTY worth the effort.  There are no upsides, only down sides with it.  Dvorak is dramatically more efficient, decreases the midline crossing, and requires less up and down fine motor precision.  It's a simple toggle in the settings of the computer, and you can configure user accounts (or their ipad) to it.  Now check, but I think the soft keyboard (on the screen) of the ipad cannot do Dvorak.  For that she pecks QWERTY.  So it's not like she's utterly unfamiliar with it at this point.  She uses the wireless keyboard with her ipad and she can set that to Dvorak.  The ipad differentiates hard and soft keyboard in the user settings.

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Though memorizing the position of the keys is just the foundation.

Where what needs to be developed, is a motor memory of the movement between keys.  

Practicing typing phonemes can helpful, so they can be typed as an automatic movement pattern.

So that the movement patterns rather occur as motor reflex actions.

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