Dyspraxia (DCD) - Handwriting Aids
There are so many aids and equipment for dyspraxia that parents are often totally confused with what to purchase first. I have listed a selection of aids which are specifically designed to help students (children and adults) with dyspraxia, and which I think would be most useful.
PenAgain ErgoSof Pen
This pen encourages the user to have a good pen or pencil grip. You can only hold this pen in the correct way, which makes it easier for students to use it correctly. It should be said, though that these pens are very comfortable to use and are not just for children.
The suppliers also confirm that the ‘no grip’ design may be of particular benefit to people who find it difficult or uncomfortable to hold a pen. These pens are refillable.
Price Approx: £7.00 (but well worth it and because of the shape a little more difficult to lose, even for the children!)
Available from: The Dyslexia Shop
The Triangular Grip
The original pencil grip designed to encourage correct tripod position. Excellent grips and incredibly cheap, considering the children lose them all the time! I think these are probably the best for the very young child.
Price Approx: £3.00 for 10
Available from: Crossbow Education
The “Stubbi” Pencil Grip
The Stubbi Pencil grip was one of the first grips designed with ergonomic properties and remains one of the most popular choices. Excellent pencil grips, students cannot fail to hold the pen correctly, and they are very comfortable to use.
Price Approx: £3.95 for 10.
Available from: Crossbow Education
Dexball Writing Aid
While this contraption certainly looks a little ‘odd’, it is very handy for the student who has problems with holding a pen correctly.
The Dexball has a pen holder attached to the softball and then the user holds the ball between forefinger and thumb. The pen is held in place by a plastic insert when tightened. Some children will love to use this because it is different and fun to use. However, it is not cheap, and if it were for my child, I would probably try one of the more affordable options first’.
Price Approx: £24.00 (expensive, but read the note above)
Available from: EmpTech
This Writing Slope enables children to work and write at the optimum angle. Each sturdy slope is set at the recommended angle of 20 degrees and has a rubber grip to prevent slipping. This is an ideal piece of equipment for the student who has difficulty keeping the work in the right position.
Price Approx: £25.00.
Available from: CrossBow Education
Dyspraxia (DCD) - Typing Aids
There are many typing aids for dyspraxia; the only problem is knowing what is about and where you can get them. I have listed a selection of aids which are specifically designed to help students with dyspraxia.
Big Keys for Keyboards
Keyboards with unique ‘large keys’ can be purchased.
BigKeys LX is a standard sized keyboard and has 60 large chunky keys. The keyboards are available with uppercase letters with coloured or white keys. The keyboards are not any larger than your standard keyboard.
They can be connected by putting the plug straight into your ordinary computer – couldn’t be easier.
They are perfect for students with fine-motor difficulties, such as Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, ADHD or other similar problems.
Price is approx. £120 ex. VAT (however, depending on the reason for the purchase, i.e., disability, you may not have to pay this.
For further information, go to Inclusive Technology.
Other aids will be added shortly.
Dyspraxia (DCD) - Screener Post 16
While researching dyspraxia, I found a Dyspraxia Screener by a company called, ‘The Yando Screener’.
As I have always thought I was dyspraxic, but have never actually been tested, I was interested in taking this screener. The results were as I predicted. With a price tag of just under £10 – I think this is good value.
This screener provides a simple screening form to find out if your strengths and weaknesses fit a dyspraxic profile.
Depending on the results, it can help one decide whether to seek a full diagnostic assessment for dyspraxia.
The screener is designed into four parts;
1. Motor Coordination
2. Sensory Processing
3. Time Management and Organisation
4. Communication and Social Interaction
The report gave me an overall screening result, which was positive and provided a summary of my strengths and weaknesses. My result was ‘positive’, therefore it suggested I had ‘dyspraxic tendencies’ and advised that I may need to look into a more comprehensive test.
I am not sure if they offer further testing, but obviously, you can make the decision as to whether you would like to have a comprehensive assessment or not. For myself, I wouldn’t take it further, because, at my age, (60ish), I see little point. However, if you are a student at college or university and having problems with your coursework, then this may be something you feel would be appropriate.
Coursework / Examinations
If you decide to have a full test for dyspraxia and this proves positive you may be able to have ‘reasonable accommodations’ for your exams etc., this could be extra time, a scribe, software to help you etc.
The Dyspraxia Foundation, can give you a lot of independent advice, go to their website at Dyspraxia Foundation.
Yando, the Dyspraxia Screener company can be found at the Yando Screener’
I have written this article, and they are my own views. I am not endorsing this product in any way, nor am I being paid to promote it.
Maria Chivers February 2019