For kids with ASD of all ages who struggle to do schoolwork with paper and pencil, it is now possible to complete ALL types of assignments using the latest “best practice" assistive technology (AT). While this IS great news, it is also true that most professionals and parents have little idea of what AT will help students become as academically successful as possible. Many professionals think that all kids need is a device to type on - and they will be “all set.” This is usually not the case. They often need ways to do worksheets, math, science equations and drawings. Many need to correct even the most severe spelling errors and some need speech recognition. Much of this type of AT found online is not current – and if it is, it is difficult to know if it really IS the best to use and implement in the classroom. The good news is that this is our specialty! To take the “guesswork” out of choosing what AT works best, how to implement it, how to teach our easy method of keyboarding, and much more – we have created our Resource Guide -
Assistive Technology, Classroom Implementation Strategies & Resource Recommendations for Kids Who Struggle to Write - Special Edition for Kids with ASD
WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE PUBLICATION
OF OUR FALL 2023 NEW 11TH EDITION!
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE IN PDF PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD
*PLEASE NOTE - NO MATTER WHEN YOU PURCHASE ONE OF OUR GUIDES, YOU CAN ALWAYS BE CERTAIN THAT IT REMAINS CURRENT AND UP-TO-DATE IN THE FUTURE BY PERIODICALLY VISITING OUR WEBSITE'S "GUIDE UPDATES" PAGE. THIS IS WHERE WE WILL POST ALL THE LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT NEW EQUIPMENT, SOFTWARE/APPS/EXTENSIONS, TEACHING STRATEGIES AND EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY USING WITH STUDETS. SIMPLY ENTER THE 4 DIGIT ACCESS CODE INCLUDED WITH OUR GUIDE ON THE "GUIDE UPDATES" PAGE ON OUR WEBSITE. IF YOU PURCHASED ONE OF OUR GUIDES PRIOR TO THE CREATION OF THIS PAGE, PLEASE EMAIL US AND WE WILL BE HAPPY TO EMAIL YOU THIS ACCESS CODE.
WE ARE VERY PLEASED THAT OUR
RESOURCE GUIDE IS RECOMMENDED BY
DR. TONY ATTWOOD, PH.D.!
"I was very impressed with the range of resources and strategies for handwriting problems (in Sue & Merri's Resource Guide, "Handwriting Problem Solutions"). I know that the solutions will be very applicable to children and adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I recommend that teachers and parents of such children consider how these resources and strategies could significantly improve not only handwriting/written output abilities - but also the academic performance and self-confidence of children with an ASD."
Our Resource Guide for Kids with ASD Includes:
Why & When Assistive Technology
Dysgraphia Diagnostic Evaluation Tests
Over 50% of kids with ASD have educationally significant problems with handwriting - and over 85% of kids with Asperger's Syndrome have this same difficulty. THE DIFFICULTY, OR INABILITY, OF MANY ASD KIDS TO COMPLETE THEIR WRITTEN SCHOOLWORK USING PAPER AND PENCIL IS OFTEN THE "MISSING LINK" TO THEIR SUCCESS IN THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT. Much time is spent working on behavior management, social skills and speech and language development in these students - but not much is done to help these kids compensate for their problems with handwriting skills so that they can learn to tell us what they know at school in written form in a way that is legible, timely and non-stressful for them. It is now thought by many professionals working with ASD students that the labored, poorly legible handwriting in many ASD students often cannot be significantly improved - no matter what handwriting therapies are tried.
It is our job to always stay on top of all the latest "Low-Tech" and "High-Tech" equipment and software/apps/extensions JUST in the field of helping kids with written output disorders learn how to complete their written schoolwork. WE WORK WITH MANY KIDS WITH ASD, K-12. The "GOOD NEWS" is that, for many of these kids, frustration can be turned into success by learning to use appropriate technological tools to complete the majority of their written schoolwork! 99.9% OF ALL WRITTEN SCHOOLWORK CAN NOW BE EASILY COMPLETED USING TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS - EVEN ADVANCED MATH AND SCIENCE! Time and time again, we have seen increased academic and personal independence, increased self-esteem and decreased negative behaviors in many ASD students as they learn how to complete finished written products that are as similar to those of their peers as possible!
Our resource guide was created to share our unique knowledge base regarding the latest state-of-the-art technology and classroom implementation methods used with our ASD students in our successful program - and much more! This special edition of our resource guide includes additional Section information, suggestions and anecdotal experience for both professionals and parents based on our extensive experience working with ASD kids with written output disorders. We use these "handwriting solutions" with students everyday – and they REALLY WORK! Our resource guide has been written from the perspective of what "test-driven" technology really works best in the school or homeschool environment – both for students and the adults that work with them. Our resource guide is a start-to-finish, easy to use resource for both parents and professionals that contains a full continuum of equipment, software/apps/extensions, products, services and supports for ASD kids, K-12, with written output disorders. It presents specific solutions ranging from how to help kids improve their handwriting skills to the introduction of "High-Tech" equipment and software/apps/extensions when a student’s handwriting is unable to be significantly improved though therapy/practice. Also included are our classroom implementation methods – which really are the key to making a smooth transition from traditional to technology-based methods for completing written schoolwork. All recommended equipment and software/apps/extensions in our guide include complete descriptions, website and ordering information.
If you have any questions regarding whether or not our resource guide or Consultation services would be of benefit to you and your particular situation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to set up a FREE 20 minute phone consultation with you to answer your questions.
It is important to note here that many ASD students receive Occupational Therapy privately or at school to help improve their fine motor and handwriting skills. While this therapy can sometimes help to improve the letter formation of many of these kids in isolation or for a limited number of words, their handwriting often deteriorates when they are asked to complete actual class assignments. Sometimes, when these students do learn to form their letters correctly, this actually slows them down when trying to write as they can seem to be actually "drawing" their letters and handwriting does not become an automatic task for them. There are different theories as to why handwriting is so challenging for many of these kids - but many professionals believe that it is due to poor fine motor skills. In the case of kids with Asperger's Syndrome, students' handwriting challenges are often motor-based, resulting in Motor Dysgraphia (for more information about Motor Dysgraphia, please click on the "Dysgraphia" button on this website). When Asperger's Syndrome was first identified in the 1940's by Hans Asperger, he noted that these kids often have an overall "motor clumsiness" - including serious problems with handwriting skills from a very early age. Some students may have sensory issues surrounding writing tasks. They may not like the "sound" of a pencil or pen writing or may not like the "feel" of the pencil or paper.
***OUR RESOURCE GUIDE WILL BE A VERY VALUABLE REFERENCE FOR YOU IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH AN ASD STUDENT/PATIENT, GRADES K-12, WHO HAS ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS:***
Is falling behind with written schoolwork and cannot keep up with written assignments independently
Has labored writing and fatigues easily when completing written schoolwork
Experiences physical pain/hand cramping when writing
Has written schoolwork that is often illegible/difficult to read
Has difficulty reading what they have written
Spends an inordinate amount of time completing class assignments
Spends too much time after school/at night completing homework
Has written content that does not “match” their thought content
Shows continued frustration/avoidance behaviors/crying/stress when asked to complete written assignments
Requires someone to write much of their written schoolwork for them (a scribe)
Requires accommodations at school such as reduced assignments and oral answers
****AS A GENERAL RULE, IF A STUDENT IS STILL STRUGGLING WITH WRITTEN OUTPUT BY MID-THIRD GRADE – IT IS TIME TO TEACH THE USE OF APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGICAL TOOLS TO COMPLETE WRITTEN SCHOOLWORK. SOME STUDENTS NEED TO BEGIN USING TECHNOLOGY AS EARLY AS FIRST GRADE IF THE LEGIBILITY AND SPEED OF THEIR WORK IS SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED. HANDWRITING SKILLS CAN CONTINUE TO BE WORKED ON – BUT THIS SHOULD TAKE A “BACK SEAT” UNTIL USE OF APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY IS TAUGHT AND IMPLEMENTED IN THE CLASSROOM SO THAT PRECIOUS ACADEMIC TIME IS NOT LOST AND STUDENTS ARE NOT PUT AT RISK FOR EMOTIONAL AND/ OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS RELATED TO THEIR PROBLEMS USING PAPER AND PENCIL. IN THE UNITED STATES, THE GOAL SHOULD ALWAYS BE FOR KIDS TO BE AS INDEPENDENT AS POSSIBLE IN BEING ABLE TO TELL US EVERYTHING THEY KNOW IN WRITTEN FORM. FOR STUDENTS WITH SECTION 504 PLANS AND IEPS, THEY MUST BE ABLE TO ACCESS THEIR FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION (FAPE). FOR STUDENTS WITH DYSGRAPHIA, THEY CANNOT ACCESS THEIR FAPE WHEN EXPECTED TO COMPLETE ALL OF THEIR SCHOOLWORK USING PAPER AND PENCIL ALONE. (For more detailed information about FAPE, Google “About.com – FAPE”)****
You will also have access to our Assistive Technology Implementation Plan. We have designed this plan to provide a smooth transition at school from traditional to technology based methods for completing written schoolwork for students with handwriting challenges.
While we never want most kids to abandon their handwriting skills, a student’s handwriting must be legible, timely and non-stressful for them.
ATTENTION HOMESCHOOLERS ☺ - The resources and strategies in our guide are very applicable to those who home school in helping kids with handwriting challenges learn to complete finished written products as similar to those of their peers as independently as possible. It is also important to know that many states DO provide Special Education services to kids who are homeschooled – in which case the first two sections are also very applicable to a homeschooled student. You can find out if your state provides these services by going to the website, "Homeschooling a Struggling Learner" at www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner/sn_states.asp.