Pat Payne, YRD Chair, first realised the benefit of typing for a dyslexic when her son was able to use a laptop while sitting his GCSE exams in 1993. He was one of the first dyslexics in the county to do so; he learned to use the keyboard and was able to ‘hunt and peck’ quite quickly. However, even +25 years on, dyslexic children are still unlikely to learn to type in school, despite typing being taught in countries like Australia, Canada & American.
YRD now promotes touch typing for dyslexic children. The significant benefits of typing are unlocked when the process becomes an automatic, physical skill – like playing a sport or instrument or riding a bike. The skill transfers into the unconscious muscle memory; it improves spelling, reduces cognitive processing load and frees the mind’s creativity. For a dyslexic child, this gives huge boost to self esteem.
YRD Typing Club offers weekly sessions and uses Englishtype, a multi-sensory program designed by an Educational Psychologist specialising in Dyslexia. Englishtype uses a unique colour coding system of fingers & keys and teaching is done using complimentary coloured keyboards (the onscreen keyboard shows letters & colours, the typing keyboard just has colours).
Children can get to their muscle memory working in as little as 10-12 weeks (the target is 30 words per minute, an amazing speed, this is muscle memory speed). Englishtype makes learning fun, playing games, collecting outfits for the character Qwerty and winning awards & trophies – the children really enjoy this.
Typing Club has 2x30mins sessions (15min break) and children are also strongly encouraged to practise at home during the week – little and often is more effective than doing one hour once a week, for example. This year, 2 youngsters have achieved 30wpm Gold Star Awards! Their self esteem has shot through the roof, they can do something no-one else in their class can do!
YRD wants to make sure all dyslexic children learn to type and are allowed to use their typing skills in school. Schools vary enormously, some insist on pupils using keyboards and others will not allow them at all. It’s time to free your dyslexic child from writing with a pen, get them touch typing. If you’re in Yorkshire, get in touch with YRD and enrol your child in Typing Club.
by Pat Payne – YRD Chair