Typing Made Easy!
The first thing we would like you to understand is that it is NOT at all necessary for students, K-12, to learn traditional keyboarding skills in order to be very successful in typing written schoolwork!
One of the most common issues that arises when it is determined that the use of Assistive Technology (AT) for completion of written schoolwork would be appropriate for a student is – “How are the student’s typing skills?” Making the use of Assistive Technology (AT) accessible as quickly as possible through typing is often the key to how successful it will be for most students. Many students with educationally significant handwriting challenges/Dysgraphia also often have other disabilities such as Physical Impairments, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADD/ADHD and Learning Disabilities. These students often have fine motor and motor planning difficulties related to their disabilities that interfere with their ability to write with a pencil. These problems make it very difficult/impossible for them to develop the “muscle memory” necessary to become an efficient traditional typist. Muscle memory is the ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought, acquired as a result of frequent repetition (practice) of that movement. The difficulty/inability of being able to develop muscle memory interferes with the ability of many of these students to learn traditional typing skills, also known as Touch Typing. Touch Typing is a very complicated motor planning task and therefore, trying to teach Touch Typing to a student with fine motor problems or a motor planning disorder is very similar to expecting them to write their assignments with a pencil. Also, many students with ASD and ADD/ADHD have major difficulties with frustration, attention and focus. Based on our extensive experience working with these populations of students, we have found that trying to teach Touch Typing to these students is rarely, if ever, successful. One of our students with ADHD, frustrated when trying to learn Touch Typing, said it best when he stated, “I hate this! I just want to throw this computer out the window!” Finally, many very young children (pre-school – 2nd grade) often have very small hands that make it impossible to reach all the keys on the keyboard when attempting to type in a traditional manner.
SO – given all of these factors that often occur in students who struggle with using a pencil to handwrite their schoolwork, we knew we needed to develop a method of quick and easy Adapted Keyboarding Instruction that would allow these students to learn how to type quickly, in a way that was “doable” and not frustrating for them. Our method of Adapted Keyboarding Instruction is an actual “method” of typing that reduces the number of fingers needed to type and NOT “hunt and peck” typing. This method can be mastered by many students in 8 weeks or less, practicing at school or at home 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes. We have even had very young students (ages 4-7) easily master this method very quickly. We had a 1st grade ASD student who was able to type over 70 words per minute after he completed Adapted Keyboarding Instruction! Another middle school student learned to successfully use this method after completing all of the lessons over just one weekend! One of our kindergarten ASD students became such a good adapted typist that she became a little “typing celebrity.” When other teachers found out how successful she was using Adapted Keyboarding to complete her assignments, they just had to come to her classroom to watch her working! One of the best things about Adapted Keyboarding is that it is not just quick and easy to learn – but it is also good for kids and adults of all ages! We have successfully taught this method to preschool, elementary, middle and high school students. Using this method, many students can successfully complete their written work in the same timeframe as their peers who use paper and pencil. This method has also often worked very well for students with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Coordination Disorder/Dyspraxia, Muscular Dystrophy, Hypermobile Joints, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Tourette’s Syndrome, etc. One of our students with Cerebral Palsy learned Adapted Keyboarding in 1st grade, used it all through his public school education as an all-A student and continues to use it as a college student where he is studying to be an attorney. A private school for students with Learning Disabilities in upstate New York contacted us recently and inquired about piloting our Adapted Keyboarding method within their school for the entire student body, as teaching traditional Touch Typing was not working for their students. We gave them our permission and later heard back from the school’s Occupational Therapy Team as to how successful the instruction had been. Many of our ASD students who previously needed a full-time paraprofessional to write for them often no longer need this service as they become independent in completing all their written schoolwork using AT and Adapted Keyboarding.
Our method of teaching Adapted Keyboarding is completely described in both of our Resource Guides available for purchase on this website. It is a very simple method and easy to teach for both parents and professionals by following our specific instructions. You can read more about the contents of our general Resource Guide by clicking on the “Resource Guide” tab and about the contents of our guide for kids with ASD by clicking on the “Resource Guide for Kids with ASD” tab. As always, please contact us by clicking on the “Contact Us” tab and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks!