The Keyboard Interface and Dyslexia

I always find it so interesting when a student describes an educational break through to me.  Once they describe their solution to their struggle I wonder why an educator or parent didn’t think of it first!

Read how Yishay Garbasz went from “Handwriting” to “Fingertyping” and how it helped him facilitate his dyslexic writing process.

“A few years ago, when I exchanged pen and paper with a monitor and a keyboard I went through a change that was more than the significant but obvious advance in technology. I changed something very basic in my dyslexia, or rather in my dyslexic existence.

Of course the first noticeable difference was my handwriting.  It was clear and easy to read.  I now call this my “fingertyping”.

For the first time in my life others, as well as me, could actually read what I had written. Then a surprising fact was brought to my attention – I had many less spelling mistakes. Of course I kept spelling things “my way” but somehow it occurred less, considerably less.

Being a deeply curious person I could not let this change just become a fact without having a satisfactory explanation and after some reading and research I came up with what I call my little theory about the “dyslexic keyboard”.

There are four different writing processes a person can use:

  1. The acoustical process in which one says the word to himself while writing it. This process is used mainly with very long words.
  2. The letter sequence process in which one learns a sequence of names of letters forming a word.
  3. The visual writing process in which one has a visual image of how the word looks like and copies this image from mind to paper.
  4. The motor process in which one remembers a word as a certain sequence of movements of the hand.

Like many other people with dyslexia, my visual perception is dominant and therefore I believe that the process most natural for me to use is the visual process. But still, even using a visual writing method, there is a stage in which the mind has to “translate” the appropriate visual image of the word into letters to be shaped by the movement of the hand. In the case of typing though, some of the translation is saved as the keyboard with its letter lies in front of the writer’s eyes and he must only select it. Having the letter shaped up already saves the writer the need to devote mental resources to the process of shaping the letter and the appropriate delicate movement of the hand as opposed to the much simpler and unchanging movement of the finger when typing.

This fact, as well as the saving of the “translation” stage allows many spelling mistakes to disappear and facilitate the writing process. This theory may or may not be accurate but being based on agreed-upon facts and sounding logical it could suggest that a computer could become the dyslexic student best friend.

In many other ways the use of a computer system facilitates my learning disabilities. Not all can be mentioned in one short article and thus I will leave a few for the future. I can only express my hope that many other learning disabled students will discover the helpful world of computers.”

My hat goes off to you, Yishay.  Let’s hope more people read this and catch on to your ‘Fingertyping’ method!

 

Carrie Shaw is President of Keyboard Classroom Typing Program. For more information please go to www.KeyboardClassroom.com

 

 

 

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