Alternatives for Handwriting at School
- Students with handwriting difficulties have ideas but can’t write effectively.
- Simple alternatives to writing: recording, scan to PDF, pictures, speech-to-text apps.
- Occupational Therapy improves penmanship.
- Writing programs and apps allow for great composition.
Alternatives to Writing: Students can express the quantity and richness of ideas with common devices. Instead of copying notes or info from a chalkboard, take a picture of notes, text, or the board. Use a digital writing program that turns your speech into text in a word processor with graphic organizers, word prediction, clip art, timelines, mind mapping, editing, and publishing features.
Any paper can be scanned to PDF and completed in a PDF Editor or can be photographed and typed upon in an Image Editor. Record yourself speaking questions and answers and send the audio file to the teacher and yourself. The digital editions of textbooks contain onscreen review questions, practice exercises, and tests that substitute for paper. Teachers can supply notes, or a para pro can scribe for you.
Alternative Assessments are different ways to show mastery. Teachers use a rubric (a checklist of requirements with a point system) to grade the product. Any topic can be explained in in a variety of ways: a poster; a science project display; a story; a presentation; a movie; an animation; a musical composition; a drama or skit; a poem;a model; artwork; a dance; an audio recording; a newscast or podcast; a lesson, study guide, or test; or a timeline.
Assistive Technology Assessment - Should be done for all students with learning difficulties, in order to match them with tech tools to help correct problems and compensate for difficulties.
Assistive Technology (AT) Lending Library - If your school lacks the AT you need (ex. an iPad), they can borrow it from the school district or the regional AT Lending Library. Some schools allow students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or can let them BYOD.
Remediation Apps and programs can help students develop these micro skills necessary for penmanship: focus; attention; visual discrimination; tracking; directional awareness; memory; tracing; letter and number formation; drawing skills; map skills; procedural memory; visual-spatial memory and reasoning; sequential memory; and working memory. Just search the app store on your device to find apps for each skill.
Occupational Therapy - employs these ergonomic strategies and tools to make handwriting easier: posture assistance; pencil grips; supported writing instruments; wrist weights; raised-line, embossed, highlighted, and color-cued paper; directional cues; and slant boards and aides to angle and secure the paper.