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    #245855 - 07/11/19 05:44 AM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: Pemberley]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    Weighing in from personal experience rather than research. Because, frankly, if research that says you need to write by hand in order to learn was correct my DD would not have learned most of what she knows...


    Pemberley when I was posting here more regularly I think you were still at the first school, at the beginning of this fight for your daughter. It's so wonderful to hear what has worked and the gains that have been made.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    I noticed problems with DD's fine motor and hand-eye coordination before her 18 month check up but it took until age 5 to convince the pediatrician to refer her for an eval.correct my DD would not have learned most of what she knows...


    Completely off topic, but I noticed my youngest child's speech declining at 18 months. I took her to a speech therapist who laughed at me and said she was so far advanced for age norms there could not possibly be anything wrong... I eventually got her in to an ENT who found her ears utterly clogged with wax, they were cleaned and her speech became clearer. And she's been having them cleaned by that ENT every few months ever since...Mothers do make useful observations, imagine if we were listened to more often.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    By that time kindergarten was looming and the OT had to focus on getting her to be able to hold a pencil and try to form letters rather than the many OT tasks that should have been explored first. DD spent the next 7 years with OT's working on her handwriting. Painful, frustrating and not a good use of her time. By 4th grade the OT's said she wouldn't make much more progress and wanted to end the sessions. DD herself said "Mom you can't run away from your problems - you know that - right?" She then went on to explain she may not always have access to her technology and wanted to be able to write a short note by hand if needed so we continued working on handwriting even though we knew it would never be her means of communicating ideas.

    In 5th grade we moved to cursive. Most schools no longer teach cursive but I had read (probably here...) that it's easier for many dysgraphic students because you don't have to pick the pencil up between letters. The OT's used the program ""Cursive Without Tears" which my daughter said "is most definitely cursive WITH tears for me..." She was not one who benefitted from cursive and still cannot read cursive - either handwritten or a font that resembles it. We dropped it in 6th grade in favor of an all AT approach.correct my DD would not have learned most of what she knows...

    I had been pushing AT since 1st grade and faced initial pushback from a well intentioned but woefully misinformed school OT who said it was not developmentally appropriate to introduce keyboarding prior to 4th grade. She insisted that kids needed to learn handwriting in the early grades or they would never develop the skill. (Once I convinced the 1st grade teacher to scribe a story for DD and she compared the level of detail in the 2 page result to the 4 or so handwritten lines DD was able to write herself in a longer amount of time she was convinced but couldn't do much to help convince the OT...) Got approved for an AT eval end of 1st grade but nothing was actually done until the end of 2nd grade. By third grade she was in a Spec Ed school with her program emphasizing AT.


    This is exhausting just to read.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley

    We started with a chain of AT specialists who would introduce an app or program and then leave DD and her teachers to figure out how to implement it.


    This really speaks to me. I tried to get EquatIO working for my middle daughter last year, but their model was set up around working with schools not an individual parent who had to find a way of making the app fit the school (rather than a teacher deciding to use the app for their class and thus being well set up for it's use). School would clearly have let her use EquatIO - if I could figure out how to make it work without them having to do anything or change anything...

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    There was a young Spec ed teacher at the school who took the lead on troubleshooting the AT but while better than handwriting still was far from streamlined. Each technology glitch derailed DD's ability to complete her work.


    This is an obvious risk/issue which I had not considered enough, but really does speak to why various things have failed for us through the years, and why technology seems less scary if we are homeschooling, as the parent, teacher and technology "owner" I will be constantly aware of and remediating the problems until we have a system that works, and there just doens't seem to be that in school.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    She soon learned that she couldn't really rely on anything other than her ears and her spoken voice. She primarily came to rely on oral testing to show her knowledge. We did discover that the built in voice-to-text on iPad 2 or higher worked just fine with her voice after trying and failing to get Dragon to work early on.


    Thanks for this tip re the build in voice to text.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley

    Getting the right AT specialist was critical. In 6th grade our district placed her in their one day a week TAG program and actually contracted to bring in an OT to work with her for an hour developing whatever AT approach would be needed for that day's classwork. The OT's however refused to work with her on AT. Apparently at some point the 2 fields diverged. Older OT's were trained in AT but for younger ones it was a separate discipline. Much to DD's chagrine they insisted on using that hour to work on handwriting which had previously been declared futile. So while DD struggled to figure out AT solutions on her own (with technology that kept glitching and without the young sped teacher around to help troubleshoot) she also continued to work on handwriting. Very frustrating situation.


    This just makes me so mad for her and you!

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley

    After a few false starts we found the perfect AT person who said it was her job to not only determine the best technology, apps and programs but work with DD on knowing which to use when, troubleshoot, streamline, train the school and teachers, etc. THAT'S what you probably need.


    I am just not sure that such a person even exists in my city (or possibly in the country)

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley
    It took months to untangle all the mess created by previous AT snafu's. She had the school district purchase new equipment (DD uses a chromebook, an iPad Pro, iPhone 8 and an older mini she was gifted and used as a life preserver when the district issued iPad malfunctioned so badly.) She has a long list of apps and programs to do just about everything. The AT specialist's mantra is "Work smarter not harder" because DD had gotten used to just spending more and more hours doing things in a convoluted way when she had no AT support. (She would write, copy, edit, email to herself, copy, place in another app, etc whatever she needed to do when she didn't have a single program to do everything for her...) She worked with DD weekly and they went through every project or assignment DD had while she learned to streamline her process. The AT specialist also works with each teacher to assure they know what DD's process needs to look like. Both DD and the teachers have been traIned in how she uses voice notes. (She records the classes, can type shorthand notes to bookmark certain areas, take photos of the notes on the whiteboard, etc.) It's all way, way over my head but DD is now totally independent. They meet in person maybe once a month and the AT specialist zooms into her classes or to discuss any problems she's encountering. This past spring DD copresented with her at a conference for teachers and administrators explaining how AT makes her education possible.


    This is such an amazing high note to this story, I am so glad to read it. And wish we could find our own such expert!

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley

    Interestingly DD LOVES to write. She writes stories, songs, scripts. Whenever she has free time she writes. However the problems she experienced with the glitchy iPad a few years ago makes her reluctant to use voice to text even though it is MUCH faster when it works. She insists on typing everything which is a longer, harder process and her dyslexia means there are tons of spelling errors. She has some programs that allow her to move between keyboarding and voice recording it she gets really stuck on a word.


    This is one of the many parts of your post that really emphasize the importance of AT being well supported and issues immediately addressed so there can be trust for the user.

    Originally Posted By: Pemberley

    I'm not sure if this helps or if you are looking for more specifics about what programs and apps DD is using. If so maybe provide a specific list of tasks and I'll find out what DD is using. (ie a worksheet that can't be done by hand can be photographed, filled out on an iPad and printed, emailed or shared by Google) The only thing they haven't come up with a workaround for (other than scribing) is handwritten group activities like "foldover stories" in a creative writing class.

    HTH


    It has really helped, I would be really interested in how specifically she does math. I think questions about other areas of learning or types of tasks will come as we get going.

    What I had hoped to get an impression of from asking these questions was partly what sort of device would be most useful to her at the moment (ie laptop because typing is most important or ipad because video, photos, voice to text and using a pencil are more important). And between other research I have been doing and thinking through all of your posts I am getting clearer on that decision.

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    #245856 - 07/11/19 05:48 AM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: aeh]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    Originally Posted By: aeh
    Throwing in the little bit suggested by research, from a cursory scan:

    Prior research on learning and memory for handwriting vs typing appears to have been at the letter level (preschool/kindergarten students) or the word list level (college students). The letter-writing study found significant differences for older preschoolers (near K age), but had many design limitations, while the word memory study found no significant differences for free recall, and very mildly significant differences (p = 0.036) for recognition. Both study groups were relatively small (only 13/12 students in the preschool study, in the age condition with significant results).

    For notetaking, it appears that the differential benefit obtained in studies that find one from handwriting lecture notes over typing notes comes from the different notetaking behavior exhibited by typical college students. That is, handwritten notes tend to force students to organize, summarize, and synthesize content in their own words, whereas the content of typed notes tends toward verbatim transcription, which, apparently, many people can do without actually processing the content.

    IOW, it is not handwriting per se that helps in learning and memory, but organizing, summarizing, digesting, and synthesizing. Which I think we knew already!


    Thanks AEH, yes I think the articles I have read about the value of handwriting which seemed most sound it has ben about the WAY that people worked with handwriting. Which is not the handwriting itself... So that suggests the importance of fostering good study skills in a digital format if handwriting will not be their method.

    I do also wonder how much these studies account for whether the test subjects learned all their learning related skills in a handwritten format vs having well developed digital skills. I have a huge automaticity advantage in typing. Some people would have a greater advantage in handwriting.

    I did find one interesting study, I will see if I can find the link, I have way too many tabs open at the moment!

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    #245857 - 07/11/19 06:12 AM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    Just adding three articles I did find quite interesting, for various reasons:

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jcal.12323

    https://thestableoyster.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/building-automaticity-in-handwriting/
    I thought it was really interesting that the author noted the problem of how schools emphasize neatness and how this interferes with obtaining automaticity because the child focuses on the wrong thing and never learns what they fundamentally need. Our OT did always focus on how the pencil was held (ease the death grip), muscle control, flow, also size where bigger = better (middle child has books full of various types of patterns she practiced daily for the hand OT, and alphabets, etc).

    https://learningspy.co.uk/writing/handwriting-matters/

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    #245858 - 07/11/19 06:47 AM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    Pemberley Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 729
    The wonderful things about good AT specialists is their ability to adapt to unusual situations. I wonder if MY AT PERSON could help you. I mean what's the difference between her zoooming in across the state in the US and zooming to the other side of the world? PM if interested and I will send her contact info. At the very least she may have professional contacts to point you to where you are.

    DD can't use just one device. She carries a backpack as big as she is because different tasks require things that are only found on one or the other. She shares most work through Google. But then again she has 11 diagnoses - issues with info going in as well as coming out. Your kids may not be as complex. She has an external keyboard for her iPad so you don't have to be limited to a laptop for that feature.

    Math is done 1-1 with a special ed math specialist. DD prefers to work with pencil and paper although she has been introduced to some math apps. I know she used one for plotting a graph for a lab report. She has literally no automaticity in math but gets the higher level concepts. It's so individualized for her I'm not sure how much I can help in that regard.

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    #245859 - 07/11/19 07:27 AM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    Thanks Pemberley. I feel like a iPad is the way to go for now, but we have spare laptops available if needed, though I suspect there is a good chance she won’t need as many options as your DD. And we’d definitely set her up with an external keyboard if we went with an iPad. I have sent you a PM.

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    #245865 - 07/11/19 04:39 PM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3457
    If you are not restricted by the iPad-native apps that work best for her, you may also consider one of the many laptops with stylus-ready touch screens.

    And on a little side note: one of our children is currently fascinated with NitroType (parallel site to typing.com), and after hearing me talk about the relationship between how one processes notes and typing, has taken to reporting the content of the typing activities to me a couple of times a day--I think, to prove that one -can- retain information from verbatim typed notes, if sufficiently motivated!

    Oh, and this is a child with completely age-appropriate fine motor and handwriting skills, and reading/spelling skills apparently commensurate with cognition (so not dealing with any additional exceptionalities), whose writing is also far and away higher in quality and in quantity when typed than when handwritten. Insisting on handwriting doesn't only impede students with disabilities. Which is yet another example of why I feel there is no reason to mandate handwriting beyond a pared down list of essentials.

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    #245866 - 07/11/19 06:31 PM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    We aren’t (yet) constrained by any particular iPad apps. We are however running a complex Apple and Unix ecosystem. We were required to purchase a surface pro for the eldest child starting high school some years ago and the pain involved in integrating that into our home, especially backing it up, means that we’d have to be very motivated by specific AT not available on an Apple device to purchase something windows or chrome based.

    Love the story of your child proving the dominant theory wrong with daily updates.

    In terms of not needing to pay attention to content while typing, this would also be true of handwriting for some people, and many other skills are open to processing thoughtlessly...My first boyfriend was a linguist, and a proofreader for a British newspaper (when this really meant something). I remember having him proof read my essays and later asking what he thought. He’d look confused and say “I didn’t read it! I just fixed it! You have to tell me if you want me to actually read it...”

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    #245867 - 07/11/19 07:05 PM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    aeh Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3457
    That's an impressive piece of dividing aspects of written language! So it appears your friend was able to separate the semantic aspect of reading entirely from grammar and mechanics. I know I can read a document only for the latter when the content is beyond me (I proofed my sib's doctoral dissertation in a field far removed from my own areas of expertise), but I'm not sure if, without setting out to do so, I could switch into that kind of proofing only mode if the content were readily accessible. I'm sure he had lots of practice. I can, however, read lengthy passages out loud with expression, without processing any of the content.

    And I agree, it seems the same would be true of handwriting in some cases.

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    #245868 - 07/11/19 07:47 PM Re: Automaticity & AT [Re: MumOfThree]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1527
    Loc: Australia
    I am not the best proofreader anyway, but I absolutely can’t proofread without reading for meaning, or trying to. On the other hand I can totally read children’s books aloud with expression and have no recollection of what I just read at the end...

    My husband has been known to fall asleep at the computer and type his dreams, that’s some next level automaticity...

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