I am radically editing this post because it's just too long and I didn't make my questions clear enough...

It's been a long time since I was a regular poster here....

I am about to start homeschooling our youngest child, who is 9, we've been around the block with handwriting difficulties and our older children. This one has less handwriting difficulty than my middle child, but it's still an issue for her and I am currently planning how to proceed (now that I don't have to negotiate with anyone and can use any measures I like).

I am digging into the research about handwriting, typing, automaticity, etc hoping to understand if it is really handwriting that matters, or whether it's what you have most "native" automaticity with. And I am not having a huge amount of success.

The questions on my mind are:

1) what AT solutions are considered best of breed now for kids with handwriting issues?
2) how much effort is it worth putting into maintaining some level of handwriting for a kid who is able to write but can be expected to be unable to produce volumes at speed?
3) Is there clear research on when handwriting is "better" for learning and memory and how to identify when typing is actively better for learning and memory?

(ie we know she will never write essay type exams by hand, but should she write notes by hand?)

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Some potentially use bits from the original TLDR post:

Profile wise she her verbal IQ is exceptional, other reasoning indexes and processing speed are above average, while working memory is age normal at best and possibly weak (picture span was weak but the psychologist was not completely convinced of the accuracy of the score). Achievement testing was all 94th percentile and higher (much higher in literacy). As mentioned she has genetic connective tissue problems that impact handwriting.

This child can physically write, she scored 151 on sentence composition and 139 for the essay on the WIAT, she is not currently disabled by handwriting (though the psychologist agreed she would struggle with the volumes required in the future). Also, despite the great scores, I read her essay when we went for the review with the psychologist and was not impressed. The psych raved about her essay, while my husband and I thought it was pretty sub par compared to what she can do with time and what she does with typing. As such I am certain that, like her sisters, her speed, volume and quality will improve with typing (particularly given she already does better with typing and she has not yet mastered the level of full touch typing we insisted on for her sisters).

I am quite clear that perfecting her typing is an immediate goal for us in our homeschool plan. I am less clear what other skills to prioritize... whether to finish teaching her cursive. Whether to buy her an ipad with pencil and work on her handwriting in digital format, etc. If we can develop a handwritten workflow for note taking on a digital device that then becomes searchable, or can be converted to a font, is that better for her than only having typing? Is it worth trying to learn speech to text as well as typing?

I feel like we are quite behind on assistive technology usage in Australia compared to some of the things I see mentioned here, which leaves me feeling like I don't know what I should be looking at for her.

I want to both give her the maximum ability to output at her intellectual level right now, but also work on any and all skills she will need or benefit from in the future which are actually likely to be achievable. I am concerned about future exams requiring short written answers, which my elder children have no usable provisions for. Subjects like history and english they type but chemistry, for example, it's just extra time and handwriting, which is not ideal.

Planning for how to help the youngest is almost more confusing because she's not completely incapable in this area. I feel like we ought to maintain handwriting because there's so much talk about how important it is...but we KNOW that she will struggle enormously to produce volume at speed by hand in the future and we know that neatness and bookwork feeling "hard" are part of why she was failing in the classroom.


Edited by MumOfThree (07/09/19 01:26 AM)