Providing a dyspraxic or dyslexic child with a laptop computer will not instantly cure all their problems, but with proper preparation it can be a liberating tool, freeing them from the tyranny of laborious and untidy handwriting that no teacher would want to read, and allowing higher level thinking to flourish, work to be edited, output to increase, spelling to be checked, presentation to improve, and copying from the board to be more accurate. Some dos and don'ts:
- Don't even think about allowing a child to use a laptop in class until he/she can touch type more than 20 words per minute (or twice as fast as average handwriting speed).
- Do attend a talk on the practicalities of using a laptop for ideas on how to make it work. There are many considerations to take on board.
- Do talk to the school about your plans and preparations - you need their permission and support.
Be flexible, particularly in the early days, about how much the laptop is used. Some teachers may not be sympathetic until the child can prove that they are capable of organising themselves and their work without disrupting the class and requiring too much help from the teacher.
Start by using a computer just for homework, and introduce gradually into other parts of the curriculum as confidence and competence improves.
Many secondary schools will now allow children to sit entrance exams using a computer, if this has been recommended by an educational psychologist, but this is something you should check well in advance when you are looking at schools.
topics - Dyslexia - Dyspraxia
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