Ok, I’m going to start this one with a disclaimer that this is good for all children, not just kids with Asperger’s Syndrome. Of course, that’s true of a lot of what I write about, but I’d like to make that perfectly clear.
Whew. Glad that one’s off my chest.
When my son finished second grade, his teacher – an amazing woman I still respect and will always look up to – recommended that we work on typing skills over the summer.
However, the idea of learning to type reports instead of having to painstakingly write them out – and possibly suffer a lower grade due to illegible words and poor handwriting – appealed to the whole family.
So we found a fun learn-to-type computer game.
Yes, they exist now. Things have come a long way from high school typing class (I’m dating myself here, but oh well). There are actually fun games out there that involve hitting the right keys with the right fingers… and blowing up spaceships/monsters/whatever (or climbing rock walls, or avoiding logs and animals) at the same time.
As I write this, my son’s actually in the other room playing his typing game. Foosh! Another snowboarder narrowly avoids a gopher.
The benefits from learning to type are pretty obvious. Most importantly, no more handwritten reports, which means no more hours of tedious, hand-cramping work that is deemed unacceptable anyway.
Once these new typing skill are improved – not necessarily mastered, but improved – then maintenance becomes important.
And yes, like so many other skills, we learned this the hard way, after forgoing typing for a few months. Whoops.
Ok, flash forward through yet another one of my mistakes… re-learn skill, only practice afterwards. How does one maintain typing skills, anyway? Well, email can do wonders. Email from grandparents… well, now we’re talking.
I’m not going to go into internet safety right now. Too big of a topic, and wow, what a digression. Suffice to say that I read his mail and check his outgoing mail (lots of praise for good writing and interesting topics). He’s fine with this, and we’re all happy. Yes, I would win the gold in protective mother category. Or at least silver. Woohoo!
Back to grandparent email.
Grandparents are truly magical. Their help and love builds self-confidence, expands skills, and teaches about the importance of family. I really can’t say enough about how wonderful grandparents can be.
Email from grandparents is no different.
When traveling, Grandpa will write and present puzzles about where he’s visiting modeled on video games. He’s very hip. Grandma will talk about upcoming visits, the baby cousin, and other fun stuff. She’s generous and kind.
But whatever they write about, he really can’t get enough of it, and looks forward to those messages. Best of all, he gets practice typing when responding to them. Also, the rules of letters – courtesy, asking about the other person, not just going on and on about oneself, and so on – are great for anyone to work on and master.
So I have to second that learn-to-type recommendation. Typing skills are a big plus for an elementary school kid. And they don’t have to learn it the same way many of us did; fun alternatives, made just for children, exist out there.
Note: Of course email doesn’t just have to come from grandparents. Uncles, Aunts, friends… any of these can qualify. So many kids have email accounts – or share their parents’ – that it’s easy to keep in touch with school friends. All summer we’ve been able to arrange meeting times and places via email that never would have happened otherwise. Under my watchful eye, of course. 😉
Also, schools will support – for kids who need the help – the use of a special keyboard in place of handwriting within the classroom.