Please note that threads in this topic are removed from the archive 90 days after the thread was started. If you would like your thread to be retrievable for longer than that, please choose another topic in which to post it. Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here.

Computer writer for easily distracted ASD/MLD teen

(6 Posts)
magso Wed 05-Mar-14 17:20:14

Ds is 14 (LD/ASD) is only able to write at a very early level and still cannot write his short name in a readable way. He has at last made great progress reading and is now able to read some short words using phonic principles. He is extremely reluctant to copy letters or write at all, and has become very resistant to writing or drawing (drawing is also very hard for him) at school too.
About a year ago someone on here (was it Polter?) kindly suggested a simple computer writer device,(similar to a simple word processor) that allowed the child to type out their words, then download them, rather than write longhand. School are now interested in helping with a device, but I cannot find the references, I originally suggested to them. He is not allowed on a school computer as he is easily distracted,(he tends to press all sorts of keys in a trial and error fashion which can cause all sorts of chaos) but actually manages to write words and even short sentences very much better on a key board.
Any device he has must be very simple, and not be able to be used for any other distracting purpose!

Does any one know what I am looking for and can point me in the right direction. I would happily buy the right devise.

Are you thinking of the alphasmart? Tried and tested with some of the children in my school!

My other thought though is..does he use symbols (such as widgit/communicate in print ) because of so, something like Grid player on ipad might be very useful!

magso Wed 05-Mar-14 23:12:04

Thank you Madusa, yes it was the alpha smart. I could not remember the name and my searches failed to find the name. Unfortunately they seem to have ceased trading very recently, although there are some second hand ones on eBay. School have always banned electronic gadgets such as a tablet, but I wonder if they would accept something locked into word processor use only. I feel such a dinosaur for not knowing enough about the sort of technology that could support our child.

PolterGoose Thu 06-Mar-14 07:36:09

It wasn't me, sorry, but good luck finding the right gadget smile

School have banned tablets? sad I think that is very poor. Technology has the most amazing potential for children and adults with disabilities!

We have a handful of kids at my school whose only means of communication is via technology, and tablets have made it so much easier.. carry around an ipad to talk to type etc. Two teens have iphones with speech apps, because neither have spoken language but are able to communicate thro the apps (one has pictures, the other can type)

Please push your schoo, for your son's sakesmile It is worth it.
Hope you can find an alpha smart on ebay! (I will ask around too and pm you as I work in special ed)

magso Thu 06-Mar-14 08:47:13

Thanks Medusa and Polter. The rule about tablets and phones is to prevent problems with loss, fighting and distraction I think. The school is more accustomed to more able MLD children (Ds is technically SLD)and is having to adapt to supporting children with more complex educational needs. Its all a bit late for ds cohort I fear. Almost all the other children are more able than ds and can read a little, so written work is part of their teaching and assessment modes. Ds is reasonably able verbally, and in practical lessons ( although the raw potato in his otherwise tasty curry last night was interesting) so is held back by his inability to put his ideas on paper. Ds has an iphone (old and limited in use, but the touch screen works) but I think we could lock it into word processor mode, (so it cannot be used for games during school time) or get a tablet, with a robust case. He seems to be able to use a stylus (on his Nintendo DS) without trouble but breaks pencils and gets pain in his fingers very fast.

I printed off the information of where to get an alphasmart neo and sent it in this morning, thank you Medusa. If that doesn't work I'll see about getting a second hand one from ebay (would have to come from USA).
If any one else uses the neo - does the school have to have a base station or soft wear or anything special at school for downloading?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now