I teach Year 5 students.  One of students has dysgraphia, but is a bright boy who wants to participate and learn and for whom "getting things down"... writing or typing is a real handicap. He self esteem is way down low.

An individual stand alone computer has been promised him (surplus from another department) but as time is passing and it is not materialising, I am thinking.. I am wondering whether an Ipad would be a better way to go and hence I'm asking you guys to help me.

While I classify myself as computer literate, I don't have an Ipad and have a few questions you may help me answer.  If any of you teach "special needs" or very young children" have you found the touch screen keyboard, easy to navigate and so on, by students.  My student struggles with keyboarding. (we do daily keyboarding and the others have left him behind)

I believe that we would have to have some sort of evidence of what he is "doing in class".  The rest of the school community still "expects" hard copies of much of the work done. Printing could be a problem as we have a windows enviroment and etc (you would know the issues)

 

I had a brain wave just now... if my student could type on safari on blog or wiki pages.. then printing wouldn't be an issue, because I'd just print from my printer. 

 

I hope you can get a bit of an idea of what my dilemma is.  Perhaps you've been down this road with a student?  What did you do?  My idea is to actually present the idea to the child's parents and suggest they help with the cost - something I know they could afford and would support if they are assured of the value to their child.

 

I'd appreciate any thoughts... positives - negatives... Many thanks  - Edith.

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I don't deal with special ed but I think there is a software that goes from speech to text.  If his speech is not impaired, he could just talk into a mike and save the text on a wiki or blog or whatever.  If  the notes are the problem, couldn't you just post them on a wiki for him to study from?  Can't he be evaluated orally if writing is the problem?  Get a video camera and film what he knows.  Or maybe get him to work with a group or one other student and grade him on what they produce.  As I said, I don't work in special ed but there is so much available out there that there has to be a way to help this child.
The problem is that most of the time the class uses pen and paper. Overall... maybe 3 hrs a week on the computer.  He struggles with pen and paper.  I have one computer in the classroom attached to electronic white board and tied up with other network stuff.  I've been promised a stand alone... but it's not coming!!!!!! Frustration plus... so I'm thinking... "how can I get this kid producing something and not having the negative feedback his disability is giving him." I was thinking ... something cheaper.. and I'd head that an Ipad is in the hundreds of dollars not thousands... and with predictive text etc he may be able to keep up with the others.  But.. as Jonathan has suggested in another reply net book is a possibility too.  Many thanks for your time both of you!!!

Why do you think an iPad would be easier to type with than a regular keyboard for this student?

 

A netbook would be cheaper and probably easier to type on, and it would achieve the same purpose of being able to create work online. Although, that said, I have used an iPad and it is easier to type on than I thought it might be.

 

Have you thought about something like Google Docs for creating work online. It may be easier to set up and access than a blog and you could set up a document so that you had shared access to it.

 

If you go the iPad route, I believe apps like Documents to Go will allow you to create MS Office documents and sync them to the desktop of the computer that the iPad is registered to. You can then print them from there.

Thanks for the "google docs" tip.  That definitely would be one way to solve printing issues.

 

For me the advantage of the iPad is two fold. It is able to capture voice to text using Dragon Dictation. With a headset I have found it to be over 95% accurate. Speak may or may not be an issue for your child.

The other benefit is that the child can use a stylus and write easily on the iPad using a notetaker that changes writing to text.

He can also move through activities by using some of the browser based applications like a Google Doc and web-based Google Scribe, a form
Of predictive text software built into the browser.  

Finally, I have used tap to text, prologue2Go and other symbol software to help a child communicate. Setting up a blog for the child to communicate may also encourage writing.

Using an iPad has been more than an experience in the case of our special needs children. It has allowed them access to create. As with any device, the actual manipulation of the keyboard may prove a struggle. There are external keyboards you can purchase that work via Bluetooth, several Stylus, and audio inputs.  Good luck in your search! Here's a group I belong too that has been invaluable for resources: http://groups.diigo.com/group/iphoneipodtouch

Thanks Blanca,

Thanks for all your comments.  It's a huge thing... to get the best equipment as it is expensive.  I want to find the best current technology.  I used Dragon Speaking with windows several years ago... then it wasn't the greatest... but your positive comments make me want to revisit. I really appreciate your time..

 

I'll check out the group shortly, too.

We have Dragon Dictation on our iPod Touches. While it is very good, I'm not sure I personally would say that it was 95% accurate. It is a great idea, but a little hit and miss when I have used it. I hope they continue to develop it in order to improve its efficiency.
Do you live in the US?  If so and the child is diagnosed, wouldn't the school district have to provide the necessary tools for him to be able to do his work.  I had a visually impaired student and the Intermediate Unit got him a machine that magnified the text on a computer screen so he could read.  If not in the US, is there any kind of Disabilities Act or Social Service Agency in your country that could help you get what he needs?  Is there any kind of politically active group associated with this disorder who could help the parents find out and pursue the child's rights?

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