dyslexia a2 z – Computers – Touch Typing Software
A lot of my colleagues believe that children/students should ‘touch-type’. I am not sure why they actually believe this to be essential. However, I do believe that all children / students should know their way around the keyboard but that is not the same thing as touch-typing. I am an extremely good at touch-typing, so I think I do know what I am talking about in this area, but my husband and one of my children can both use a computer brilliantly and they type at about 40 words per minute using three or four fingers. (Some typists only just about reach that speed.)
I also am not aware of any research which suggests that if student’s can touch type they are better at their work. They may get through long essays slightly quicker but I think that is a slightly different issue. I am sure they would get through their essays, quicker using Voice Recognition Software.
There are quite a few Touch-Typing packages available. Whilst I am sure they all work properly, many of them are less suited for the dyslexic student.
BBC Typing Package
The BBC Typing Package is free to download and is very easy to use. It takes you through all the different stages. (There is a lot of useful information on the BBC educational channel.
KAZ Typing Package
KAZ is a super touch typing package and is very cheap. You can down load it from the internet and children seem to love it because it has a giant floppy animal that keeps them amused whilst it takes them gradually through the different stages.
UltraKey 5 Packages
Age: 9 years+
Setting: School, home, business and university
Teacher’s settings: Extensive, including being able to add your own text into lessons and error analysis tools
Number of lessons: 15
Average length of lesson: 15 minutes
Number of games: none, only learning exercises.
Ultrakey 5 uses voice, 3D animation, video and virtual reality. This typing tutor is ideal for individuals, secondary schools and colleges where the huge range of options means that it can be personalised to any level of ability or individual’s requirements, including the font size, font style and challenge level. Colour-coded on-screen keyboard and life-like hands make learning to type easier while the built in text-to-speech function means that everything on screen can be read out if required.
Teachers can add their own content to lessons, tailoring them to individual student’s needs. The high quality graphics in Ultrakeys graphics provides a good representation of the finger-movements required for typing making it particularly useful for visual learners.
Keyboards for Nursery/Key Stage 1 children (or children with dyspraxia) Packages
BigKeys is a starter keyboard and has a lower-case keyboard. It has been designed for Nursery/Key Stage 1 children and it has a colourful and uncluttered layout in the traditional ‘qwerty’ style. All unnecessary keys are removed or hidden. The very large keys are colour coded – vowels are yellow, ‘r’ is red, ‘b’ is blue, etc. – further aiding letter recognition.
This beginner’s keyboard makes an excellent start before changing to the standard keyboard. It is very easy to use; no software needed – just plug in and go. An excellent choice for very young children. Further information from Key Tools.
A Dutch designer has come up with an innovative way to help people with dyslexia.
Christian Boer is developing a new typeface, called Dyslexie, which he hopes will make it easier for people suffering from the learning disability to read.
People suffering from dyslexia tend to mix up letters, especially ones that look similar, such as ‘p’ and ‘q’. Boer says font designers have compounded the problem by creating typefaces based on aesthetic appeal rather than readability.
The font Dyslexie combats this problem by making changes to easily rotated or inverted letters. For instance, letters are bolded on the underside, the ascender or descender of a letter is lengthened so the difference between the letter ‘h’ and the letter ‘n’, for example, is exaggerated.