Touch typing and Dyspraxia

Both Dyslexia and Dyspraxia are learning difficulties and there is much overlap between the two (research estimates that about half of Dyslexics are also Dyspraxic).  A key issue for Dyspraxics is usually poor handwriting, and with the need for written work in school this often has a major affect on both academic performance and self esteem. Learning to touch type and using a computer will completely change the experience of written work.  Dictation (using a scribe) or voice recognition software are options but can be very difficult & time consuming to master for anyone – Dyspraxic or not!

Learn to Touch Type - Special Needs

Why is touch typing helpful for Dyspraxia?

As with Dyslexia, the important thing about typing by touch is that it is a different process in the brain compared to writing with a pen.  Touch typing becomes an unconscious physical skill – something a Dyspraxic child can master with practice and can be top of the class (see Lucy’s story below).

It’s not really about if you can use your little finger to type P or Q, it’s about what’s happening in the brain.  This is muscle memory or automaticity (“auto-mat-i-city”). As well as helping written work generally, touch typing offers a different and powerful way to learn to spell; spelling becomes a series of patterns & finger movements not a string of letters to try to remember.  Words are programmed into the muscle memory – you think the word and your fingers type it, you don’t consciously think about how to try to spell it, it “just happens” as the unconscious controls the process.  The most important thing is to achieve muscle memory, not necessarily using all 8 fingers to do so.  However, maintaining accuracy is key, and consistency will achieve this – always use the same finger for each letter.

Why choose Englishtype?

For a child with Dyspraxia learning to touch type, choice of software is critical to success; extra support for learning key & finger relationships and relevant vocabulary, as well as enough content for time & practice to learn finger movements is key. Englishtype’s colour coding is a unique system that builds the touch typing skill effectively for Dyspraxics. As well as making a coloured keyboard, this can also be supplemented with coloured dots or nail varnish on the fingers if needed, and extra texture on new letters while finger movements are learned.  It may take longer to acquire the automatic skill of typing by touch, but it is very achievable.    See “Learning to Type” page and “Top Tips for Learning”.

  • Developed by an Educational Psychologist specialising in Dyslexia
  • Designed for the UK National Curriculum and boosts literacy while teaching typing
  • Unique colour coding builds muscle memory quickly
  • Letters introduced in order of finger movements makes learning easier
  • Multi-sensory design – see, hear, read, type
  • Choice of 8 background screen colours
  • Carefully selected vocabulary with 3 levels of difficulty to choose
  • Programs the muscle memory with useful, high frequency words
  • Extra spelling lessons for optional additional learning and wider vocabulary
  • Variety of different activities to build muscle memory / unconscious skill
  • Teacher Admin package for schools
  • Teaching typing for 25+ years in schools and at home
  • Built by award winning game designers to make learning fun
Englishtype - Special Needs - Why English Type
Englishtype - Special Needs 5

Englishtype and Dyspraxia Success Stories

My eldest son, who has Dyspraxia, very successfully learnt to touch type with Englishtype, thank you.  He was diagnosed with Dyspraxia by an Educational Psychologist and Occupational Therapist. He’s a bright boy – verbal skills in 98th percentile but processing in 2nd percentile and therein lies the issue. As he’s bright he was able to find ways of compensating for a long while. When he was 11½ yrs old he started to learn to type. It took him about 3½ months to get sufficiently proficient to be able to take a computer to school and he improved after that. We made him do Englishtype every day for his 3 week Christmas holiday! He is now 14 and touch types fast. He thinks it is about 52 words per minute! He uses a computer all the time in lessons and for homework and in exams. He writes only for maths or in exams for short answer questions in e.g science. 

It has revolutionised his life; he’s a bright boy, but couldn’t get anything down before so was very unhappy and frustrated at school. He knew the answers, what he wanted to say, but couldn’t. Now he can! I realised typing, whilst essential for him, is a very useful skill for all my kids so now the younger two are learning (they don’t have Dyspraxia).

Mum Jacqueline about her Dyspraxic son, now 14yrs old

“Last year, Lucy had an Ed Psych report which diagnosed moderate Dyspraxia and recommended learning to touch type.  I honestly didn’t think Lucy would manage to learn to touch type – but her handwriting and spelling were poor so I was really keen to try.  Englishtype appealed to me because it is Dyspraxia supportive and designed to improve spelling as well as typing.  I hope that this conveys just how much I feel Lucy has benefitted from touch typing and Englishtype. I have already recommended it very highly to a number of friends as I think it absolutely excellent. I think the key to our success was a very concerted effort at the beginning (almost treating it like a holiday course you might attend at a school) and covering the keyboard with coloured stickers, as recommended by Englishtype.

We bought a keyboard and covered all the keys with coloured stickers so she couldn’t see the letters.  I sat with her early on to make sure she looked at the screen and not at her hands.  With a small amount of bribery, Lucy worked almost every day through the Easter holidays (2 hours a day, sometimes more, she was very motivated by the games and the badges) and was typing at about 20 wpm by the end of that holiday – which I thought was amazing.  Lucy had completed the whole course by the end of the following summer holidays and she had reached 30/35 wpm.  In just two school holidays, she had completely cracked the skill.  Lucy found the course something she enjoyed doing after she had got over the initial hump (which happened surprisingly quickly). Occasionally she got a bit de-motivated (back to bribery!) but otherwise she has really enjoyed sitting down and tapping away and has gained a huge amount of satisfaction from it. 

She went into Year 7 and now uses a lap top in class and types most of her homework.  She doesn’t yet use a lap top for exams but this is likely to happen.   However being able to type has made a really huge difference to her confidence.  Her school promotes learning to type (using a different program) and she is always delighted to be top of the leader board.   She has nagged me to put Englishtype on her new computer because she says she prefers the games and wants to get Gold in everything.”

Mum Gaby and her 12 yr old daughter Lucy with Dyspraxia

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