Friday, 6 November 2009

Top Tips ~ Dyspraxia and nonverbal learning difficulties

Learn good fine motor control and spatial awareness from an early age:

- do lots of pencil/crayon activities like drawing, colouring in, copying shapes, continuing a drawn pattern, drawing the way out of a maze, dot-to-dot patterns, jig-saw puzzles, block building, matching games (with colours, pictures, shapes and letters).

- teach and practise correct pencil grip (see our videoclip on handwriting for a demonstration ) – use a ‘correcting’ rubber pencil grip if needed.

Improve handwriting

- get the mechanics right by choosing a comfortable-to-use pen, a chair that encourages good posture at a table of the right height (and sloping boards to hold the paper are useful especially for left-handers).

- teach correct letter formation (see Prepare Your Child for Starting School or Top Tips for Starting School

- give lots of practice, starting with individual letters and then moving on to joined-up lettering.

What’s the alternative to handwriting?

- teach touch-typing and keyboarding skills from an early age (around 7 years).

- encourage the use of computers for note-taking, projects and homework (but check with teachers first that this is okay).

- encourage your child to use a dictating machine for interviews, stories, descriptions to get their ideas flowing.

- ask teachers to provide handouts for children who are slow or find it hard to copy notes.

Develop organisation, planning and time management

- encourage use of diaries, timetables, lists and post-its as reminders.

- have a weekly session with your child to organise papers and files, and throw away anything unnecessary.

- encourage your child to routinely pack school and sports bags the night before and leave by the front door; use rewards to encourage your child to learn to remember without you having to prompt.

- use a kitchen timer to encourage working and concentrating hard in small ‘chunks’ (for younger children 5 minutes and for older children 15 minutes, followed by a 2 minute break).

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