One of our readers recently posted on our Facebook page about a book she had discovered called Handwriting Problem Solutions with a link to their website. Of course, with Luke struggling so much in this area, I immediately checked out the website. Handwriting Problem Solutions is a guidebook full of “solutions for kids with written output disorders,” and something I knew I had to read. The authors were kind enough to send me a copy to review for all of you.
Handwriting Problem Solutions is an all-in-one guide to manage the process of discovery and implementation of equipment, teaching strategies, and educational resources that will help your child with handwriting problems, dysgraphia, and other written output disorders to complete written assignments as similar to their peers as possible. That’s exactly what I want for my son and what I am right in the throws of trying to formulate for him right now.
While you can find pieces of this information scattered all about on the Internet, Sue Ramin-Hutchison & Merri Domer, the authors of Handwriting Problem Solutions, have gathered and organized this information into one resource for you. And, even better, they have personally used all of their recommendations in their capacity as Special Educators for the past 10+ years. That means these two special education teachers have tested all of these recommendations and found them to be successful tools for children with all sorts of written output disorders. It’s like a Consumer Reports for techniques, systems, and products for children with writing disabilities. It’s truly a great resource if your child has any problems with written output.
Here’s their product description:
“…we have created a start-to-finish, easy-to-use resource guide for parents and professionals working with kids with handwriting disabilities. This guide provides a comprehensive, easy to understand overview of the process of receiving services for these kids through local school districts, as well as specific equipment, software, teaching strategies and implementation methods for these students’ classrooms. It contains a full continuum of equipment, products, services and support for kids with written output disorders – from how to help students improve their handwriting skills through the introduction of High-Tech solutions when handwriting is unable to be significantly improved and is no longer determined to be a useful tool to complete written schoolwork.”
The guide includes:
- how to obtain services and equipment for a child with written output disorders
- a discussion on special education vs. 504 plan
- low-tech ideas to assist kids with handwriting disabilities
- low-tech equipment options
- how to tell when low-tech solutions aren’t enough
- high-tech equipment options
- high-tech accessory options
- manufacturer’s pre-installed accessibility options
- special needs software recommendations
- adapted keyboarding instructions
- speech/voice recognition software
- implementation ideas for special needs technology in mainstream classrooms
- funding ideas and resources for high-tech equipment and software
With every recommended product is full contact information for the manufacturer and purchasing the product, as well as the current cost. They are always monitoring and trialing the latest equipment and software as it becomes available. They revise the guide every 2 years and also keep it current in the meantime through a bi-yearly email update newsletter you’ll automatically receive once you’ve purchased the guide. As well, they offer fee-based personal consultations to guide you on your child’s specific needs.
While we have exhausted all the low-tech options with Luke over the last couple years, I discovered some high-tech products I was not aware of in this book that I think may help him tremendously. For example, the use of PaperPort software and a scanner could allow Luke to complete all the exact same assignments as his peers, in the exact same format as his peers but by typing his answers instead of having to hand-write worksheets and story backgrounds and the like. This would be a huge help for Luke as he is so sensitive about not doing anything different than his classmates. I am hoping he’ll be granted special education inclusion in the next month or so and that this is offered by his school. While I will do anything to see my kiddo succeed and feel good about himself and experience accomplishments, I could not afford to purchase more than one or two of these technologies for him (and I shouldn’t have to).
The only thing I felt was missing is very new technologies like the iPad and associated Apps. Here’s what Merri had to say when I asked why they do not include this group of assistive technologies in their guidebook:
“As for the IPad, iPhone and iPad Touch – we do not use any of these at this time as none of the apps currently available allow kids to complete the exact same assignments their peers are doing in every subject. Many of the powerful software programs in our guide are not available for these devices at this time and there is nothing comparable. Also, almost all our students need to have a physical keyboard and a large screen – especially kids who are ADD/ADHD due to poor attention and focus. There are other devices that are more cost effective than the iPad that allow kids to do any type of written schoolwork. It is important for use to recommend the most cost effective equipment and software to help kids with written output disorders complete their written schoolwork.”
If you have a child who is struggling with handwriting, dysgraphia, written expression or any other written output disorder, I suggest ordering a copy of Handwriting Problem Solutions. It’s a great resource. Thanks again to Sue & Merri for sending me a review copy.
Related posts: 504 plan, adhd and school, CO-MORBIDITIES, dysgraphia, homework, learning disabilities, middle school, Penny Williams, school failure, written output disorder