Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Jan 15
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by Dennise Goldberg

When I was in Middle School it was the 70’s…typing classes were part of the curriculum.  It was a useful skill to learn back then even though we were using electric typewriters.  They were fun classes where you learned to type to music; occasionally we took tests to see how fast we could type.  At the time, I took the class because I knew I could do well in it; not thinking about the fact that the class was preparing me for high school and college.  As a matter of fact, I used an electric typewriter through college.  Typing classes are no longer necessary because technology has come such a long way since I was in school.  Gone are the days of struggling to edit your work on a typewriter; where you didn’t have spell check to watch your back!

Nowadays, everyone has a computer at home or has access to one at school.  Typing on a keyboard is a way of life for our kids who were lucky enough to be born during this time in history.  We introduced our son to the computer at a young age…..I have video of my son when he was 18 months old sitting with me in front of a computer.  Yes, technology has enriched our children’s lives in so many ways, especially for those with special needs.

For those of you who have elementary age children or younger, I’m sure the last thing on your mind is teaching your child to type.  However, that is the perfect time to expose your child to the world of “Keyboarding.”  There are many fun typing games out there, such as “Spongebob Squarepants Typing” to introduce the keyboard to your child.  As your child grows older, you can use other typing programs or work with them yourselves.  I bring this up now to the parents who have younger children because using a keyboard might have to be written in your child’s IEP as an accommodation some day.

Many children who struggle with fine motor skills, visual spacing problems, visual processing disorder, etc…can have an accommodation written into their IEP that they are able to turn in their written homework typed.  I’ve heard from many parents who have children that have difficulty completing their homework.  For some students, it might be a learning disability, for others it could be their ADHD medication has worn off by a certain time of the day; whatever the reason is, using a keyboard could help your child complete their work in a timely manner.  I have attended a number of IEP’s where this accommodation has been given to a student in elementary school.

Let’s take it a step further, say your child has now reached Middle School; he/she is now doing 3 times more homework than elementary school.  Not only will your child have to write essays in English, but they might also have to write them in History or Science class as well; where the assignment can be written in pen or typed.  Trust me when I tell you, typing is so much easier, I let my son do his first essay for Middle School in ink and it took him 3 hours…..I said to myself “I will not make that mistake again!” He was burnt out and I couldn’t help him study for his history test he had to take the next morning.  After that fiasco, I told him that he was going to type as many homework assignments as possible.  His speed has greatly improved since the beginning of the school year and he likes being able to edit his work without having to constantly erase or start over again.

Learning how to use a keyboard takes time and patience, but the end result is a child who can complete their school work in a more efficient and timely manner; which will make you life as well as your child’s life so much easier in the long run.

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