We have discovered these products in our journey and can recommend them to you.
Maths Games from Cheeky Parrot
Granny Wars and Raid the Pantry are great for classroom use.
Dragon Cards - great for Statistics
Reading Literacy Intervention
See and Learn
Purchase from DSE International
Handwriting Without Tears
Purchase from www.hwtears.com.
Follow the links to GET SET TO SCHOOL.
There is also an app for iPads and tablets- wetdrytry and more from this company in Android and Apple
You will find many ideas to support skills including handwriting.
Using HWT with Children Who Have Disabilities
Handwriting Without Tears® is the program of choice for children with disabilities because it makes it possible for them to learn how to write. Here are a few activities that you might incorporate into your therapy of children with disabilities.
Fine Motor Activities
For children with fine motor delays, use the first 15-20 minutes doing a fine motor task. Chances are if they are delayed in fine motor skills they will need extra help with handwriting. Spend the last 10 minutes forming letters.
Autism. Be very repetitious. Prepare the child ahead of time for what you are going to do and what letter you will work on. Photocopy the workbook page so the child can practice the page more than once. (HWT allows photocopying from a workbook for each child for whom a workbook has been purchased.) Children who have autism and are high functioning tend to relate well to hands-on materials because they are tangible. Use the "Magic C bunny" to incorporate socialization and interaction. Let the child explore and use the bunny. Use as many multisensory experiences as you can. Children who do not respond well to verbal cues (language) tend to do well with the HWT program. Many of the teaching techniques can be demonstrated with few or no verbal cues needed as the child visually attends to the task. Teacher demonstration and child imitation are the keys to successful handwriting.
Down Syndrome. If the child really struggles with writing because of low tone, have them write in all capital letters. Some children will require a modified pencil grasp. Use several multi-sensory activities and repetitions. If the child has a classroom assistant (teacher aide), work in extra time for the child to practice handwriting. Set the child up on a programme to do 15 minutes a day at school. Because the child may be easily distracted, you may want to schedule extra time so you can take several breaks. Adapt seating in the classroom and at home if the child has low tone. Raise the slant of the writing surface with a small wedge. Make sure the child is seated comfortably with feet flat on the floor. Work on fine motor activities to strengthen the hands. Be sure to assess the child's comfortable size of writing. It may be necessary to experiment with several sizes of paper (lines) before finding the one with which the child is most comfortable. To accommodate the needs of individual children, HWT provides three sizes of paper. Frequent review of the letters will be required through all the years of primary school. Older children may find the cursive style easier to manage. Keyboarding skills are also important to teach.
A special pencil from Stabilo has found to be very effective. For older students, a pen also from Stabilo is available. Contact Jenni at Read Auckland
Low Vision. Adapt the wooden lines and curves with puffy paint. Paint textured bumps on them. Use bright colored paints with a bright contrasting mat (black and white works well). Enlarge all of their workbook pages. Use a larger slate (11x17). Provide hand-over-hand assistance to help them feel the lines and curves. Use a window guide to grade the size of handwriting. Have them write with a bold black marker. Using the wooden pieces and a modified smiley mat on a light board is a great activity.
The double lines can work well with children with low vision. The lines may need to be thickened with a marker, or enlarged until the child is comfortable with the chosen size. Providing a texture on the lines will also help the child locate the line position.
Cerebral Palsy. You first want to establish good positioning for your child. If your child is in a wheelchair, you may want to use a lap tray during writing time. This helps with support and stability of the arms and shoulders during writing. It also improves head control by having the arms lie comfortably on the lap tray. If your child only has use of one extremity, clamp down paper, or materials using a clipboard clamp screwed into the lap tray. You can also try Velcro or tape to stabilize these. If your child has problems with muscle tone, you may want to try an adapted pencil grip. This gives your child more control of the pencil. Children with Cerebral Palsy may do better to initially write in all capital letters first. Developmentally they are easier to read and write because they are all the same height. If your child has perceptual or visual problems, it may help to enlarge the worksheets and darken the print. If your child currently uses a computer for written assignments and you want them to learn how to write, start out by gradually increasing the amount of writing time. As they become more proficient with handwriting, have them start out by choosing one assignment a day to write.
Asperger's Syndrome. Children having Asperger's Syndrome can easily become too focused on specific topics. If you find it difficult to lead the child into a different topic, use the focus as an opportunity to practice handwriting. Be very consistent with the child. Remove distractions from the room or area that may interrupt handwriting. Give frequent breaks and have firm, consistent rules. Be careful when using abstract teaching strategies; these children tend to take things very seriously. Many times, concentration, staying on task, and compliance are greater issues for children with Asperger's Syndrome. Because of these difficulties, there may be reluctance to use handwriting or fine motor skills, or perceptual delays may exist.
Dyslexia. These children typically have trouble with understanding and using language effectively, as well as overall difficulty with organizational skills. Many times this leads to a struggle with written language. The formation of letters is not an automatic process for these children. The HWT teaching techniques help the child develop good habits from the beginning, such as starting at the top with letter formation, learning a left-to-right flow in the sequence of reading and writing, and learning consistent, child-friendly terminology when learning letter formation. Help the child with dyslexia in the following ways:
- If a child has trouble with letter and number reversals, use the slate and the gray blocks to correct these. The smiley face visual cue is important for the child with dyslexia. It is a consistent reminder of the starting corner and the left side of the slate.
- The wood pieces are concrete manipulatives that help children master the strokes (lines and curves) of all capital letters.
- Use the double lines to teach consistency in placement of letters on the lines. Consistently using the cue "bump the lines" will lead the child into correct letter placement every time writing occurs. Consistency is very important for these children.
- Teaching the letters in groups of similar strokes, as recommended in the workbooks, develops consistent writing habits and leads to mastery of letter formation.
- Give the child many opportunities for review and mastery of what they have learned.
Dysgraphia. Children with dysgraphia have trouble producing written language due to poor motor planning. They struggle with organizational skills and movements that need to be in an automatic and specific order, such as the formation of letters for writing. Children with dysgraphia can be very "scattered" in their writing habits. You can help organize these children in the following ways:
- Teach the shapes (parts and pieces) of the letters using the wood pieces and the smiley mat.
- Use the slate and gray blocks to correct capital letter and number reversals. The smiley face will become a consistent reminder of the starting corner and will orient the child to the left side of the slate.
- Provide visual models for the child to follow; refer the child to the pictures in the workbooks that give additional visual cues for letter formation. The picture prompts in the workbooks will help the dysgraphic child remember the letters.
- Provide many practice sessions for the child to develop patterns for letter formation.
- Teach the letters in the recommended groups of similar strokes to help develop consistent patterns of letter formation.
Give them many opportunities for review and mastery of what they have learned.
Fine Motor Skills Activities
Hand skills are crucial to successful handwriting. Small movements of the hand are referred to as fine motor skills. If you feel your child is in need of extra activities to strengthen his or her hands or fine motor skills, here are a few suggestions:
- Have your child cut pictures out of newspapers or magazines. You can take a large black marker and draw a line around the picture to give a guideline.
- Have your child put together small beads, Legos, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and the like.
- Knead Play dough or clay. Build objects with them.
- Hide small objects in the Play dough and have your child find them.
- Play pegboard games.
- Gather small objects from around the house (small buttons, beads), place them in a container, and have your child pick them up off the floor with a pair of tweezers and place them back in the container.
- Play with any toys that contain manipulation of small pieces.
- Let your children squirt water bottle outdoors on the sidewalk. Coloured water looks great on the snow.
- Use a meat basting tube, or large straw, and have a cotton ball race across the table with your child.
- Finger paint with Jell-O or Cocoa on a paper plate.
- Use small marshmallows and toothpicks to form letters.
- String popcorn, buttons, or beads to make necklaces.
- Using a hole punch, let your child create a design on a piece of paper.
- Have your children clip clothes pegs to a container.
- Play tug-of-war with a (coffee stirrer) swizzle stick, holding it with the thumb and index finger only.
Sensory Integration Activities
Incorporate handwriting into multi-sensory tactile experiences (writing on the mirror with foam soap, drawing in the sand, and the like). Have the child reach for wooden lines and curves while positioned on a swing.
Hide all the wooden pieces in a bag and throw in some other objects. The child is directed to pull out the one requested. Do a word find where the children have to write the words as they find them. Do a visual memory game on the board where you give children a few letters, let them look, and then erase them. They have to remember the letters on the board and write them neatly.