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Digital Recorders and Handwriting

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:01 am
by Regina Hogsten
My 13 year old has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and schleroderma. The schleroderma has damaged his right arm including hand and fingers. He just can't master writing with his left hand. The writing with the right hand is slow, laborious, and sloppy. He does not take notes of any signifigance in his co-op classes. I bought him a digital recorder last year, but I was wondering if there isn't something else that would be better. He can save the file from the recorder and play it on his computer. But, I would like him to type it all out to have the written information. His typing is great with left hand and slow with the right cause the fingers are bent. Any suggestions?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:22 pm
by Theodore
Does he have something he can type on in his co-op classes, like a laptop?

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:51 am
by Regina Hogsten
He has a laptop he can take to class. This past school year when he was 12, he felt self conscience about taking the laptop and even "discreetly" handed the recorder to his teacher. Sometimes he would "forget" it. He wants to look normal.
At home, when he writes a story, a paper, or plays a game on the laptop, he can take his time. Sometimes he wants to dictate and I'll do the typing. His typing speed is not so slow.

If he would use the laptop in class to take notes, he would get better at taking the notes he really needs to remember and understand the material. We can practice note-taking on laptop at home- I'll dictate and he can type. Along with a digital recorder that would be enough. I'm just always looking for a better way. Maybe, I mean an easier way.

It is tough for any adolescent facing various health issues. He will learn that there is a plan for his life. There are a few things he would like to do, but is not able. But, that is the same with healthy functioning people. Sometimes our talents are revealed and developed out of our circumstances. Anyway, he'll need to take his laptop and use it in class.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:56 pm
by Theodore
I'm handicapped and had to attend classes with a wheelchair (mostly just for sitting in - it's too painful to sit in the regular chairs for long periods of time). I will admit to feeling a little self-conscious about that at times - will people treat me normally, or will I be the guy with the wheelchair? But everyone was generally nice enough to ignore the wheelchair.

Of course, if I could have left my handicap at home (or appeared to do so), I would have :) I sympathize with your son.

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:26 pm
by Regina Hogsten
He had to face the wheelchair issue this past June. His doctor wanted him to use a wheelchair to get around Busch Gardens. This was to keep swelling and pain of the ankles to a minimum. He refused, felt embarrased. He was afraid people would think, what's that kid doing in a wheelchair- just playing around? He paid the price at the park and at home. It took weeks for all the swelling to go away.
Thank you for the encouragement.

Posted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:53 pm
by Dolly-VA
My eldest is pretty dyslexic and quite dysgraphic, so note taking for him had been a major struggle all his life. He's a freshman in college this year, but last year we discovered something pretty good. He was taking a college course and struggling with the entire note process (if he's actually listening and thinking, the writing doesn't work well at all.) Anyway, I purchased from Excellence in Writing their Advanced Communications Series for him (to help him in report writing because I thought that was the problem, not the note taking.) One of the disks includes advanced note taking. He found this to be extremely helpful for him. It shows the student how to take fewer notes, but of greater quality. I certainly wish I'd had it in college!

Hmm, I just had a thought. Are you familiar with T9 messaging input? (Sorry if I mangle this, I'm not up on all the terms.) Basically typing in messages on cell phones using the number (like: 8-4-3 would automatically print "the".) If your son had a PDA that used it, he could hold it in his lap and take quick notes. Combine the advanced note taking skills with a quick input device...? (I can see how it would be problematic though if it kept changing a curriculum specific term with something like "party"... :wink:)