The End of Hunting and Pecking
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Why do so many children, especially those with learning disabilities dread writing?
Writing requires a series of very specific and complex abilities. Skills such as word retrieval, word order, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, letter formation, the spacing of words/letters, and the actual physical output of the hand are some of the demands for writing a sentence. As children progress to higher grades, a list of additional requirements is needed to produce a good paragraph and essay.
Many kids who struggle with writing may develop avoidance habits to cope. They may write too messily to get the task over with, not proofing their work. They may write very little and not spend energy explaining their thoughts.
Children who fear writing can use technology to bypass their difficulties.
A multi-sensory teaching method created by dyslexia pioneer and writer Diana Hanbury King introduces finger-key positions using something all kids know - the alphabet. Students learn to type using the sequence of the alphabet paired with verbalization of letters. As they say each letter out loud, auditory pathways are stimulated leading to multi-sensory learning. With enough practice, muscle memory strengthens finger-key positions.
Dozens of conventional typing programs teach keyboarding with no pattern. Unfortunately, these programs offer no inherent meaning for most kids to really make the leap to being proficient. Once the alphabet sequence has been mastered using Diana Hanbury King's method, speed and accuracy can be developed using various applications.
Computer technology bypasses many of the deficits that prevent a child from completing written assignments, specifically visual-motor coordination issues. In other words, computer technology is not meant to cure difficulties with the writing process, but to compensate, and thus, make the writing process easier.
For students diagnosed with dysgraphia, educational therapy services can help resolve struggles with writing.