I had a student like that and we allowed the student to go through kindergarten with her peers learning
the letters. She wanted to be like everyone else so bad and that was motivating to the student. Then in
first grade, during spelling tests, she could write them like her peers, and then she would take the test on
a word processor in a quiet room in special education. The team determined that she needed to learn the
letters incase she did not have a word processor but for assignments that required her to process
information, summarize etc, the word processor was used so she wouldn’t forget her ideas.
Kristine L. Dooley,
Occupational Therapist, Registered/Licensed, MSEd,
Assistive Technology
O.T. Related Interventions for Teachers
Does it have to be an either or situation? He probably needs to continue to work on
handwriting and on keyboard familiarity skills. Then according to the activity and possibly
time of day, the teacher can determine if he should write or type.
Hindie Becker Dershowitz
Diagnostic Specialist for Assistive Technology
Office: 281-237-4375
Cell: 281-642-7422
MRHS E-T6Of course a kid with CP could be so different from one kid to the next so this is a
very general answer but, You could provide both. The main thing is you do not want to hold him back
in school because of a lack of handwriting ability. You could provide multiple forms of support,
letter magnets, magnetic words, numbers, a portable word processor and allow him to use what
works for the situation. Maybe he practices his handwriting when he is doing a spelling test, or fill
in the blank worksheets but when he is needed to provide a sentence, move to using a portable word
processor (or adapted computer set-up.) Just don’t hold him back, that is the main thing to
consider, I think.
Hi Jennifer,
This is a complicated issue from a couple of different point of view. CP: because he has CP, he will
probably not acquire smooth coordinated movement that will become automatic. Often times, people with
CP need to ‘think’ about motor movements that have become automatic to ones peers. This could be why
your student tends to keep writing letters in sequence, because the motor skill is learned and is not
becoming automatic (internalized). I don’t know that all people with CP have these difficulties, just what I
consider most of the time. Kindergarten: This is a time for all kids to explore and master new skills. Your
student may want to handwrite because it is what everyone is learning to do and he is learning as well
and wants to master these skills. This needs to be considered in the plan. Writing Process: If your
student spends so much cognitive energy on handwriting, he may have little left for writing skills, the
reason to type or handwrite! It is quite a problem to work through. I usually recommend a combination of
typing and handwriting and the team can guide when the student should do either.
I have attached a document that I use when explaining to staff and family why we should consider
alternatives to some physical tasks.
Faith Paradis
Assistive Technology Services
6 Blackstone Valley Place (Suite 109)
Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865
As an educator, I would say that keyboarding does not pre-empt handwriting and both can be done in
concert. The last thing any of us wants to frustrating a child or turning him/her off to the joys of written
I work with a young child that we have determined that keyboarding was
the most effective method of written expression. We do not limit his
written expression to keyboarding. We use low tech methods to enhance
his writing such as bingo markers, stickers, crayons and magnetic
letters. It all comes down to the tasks that the student is working
on. There are some tasks that the student likes using writing. I would
suggest that you may want to do a task analysis of the tasks that he
can do writing and then things he needs assistance from various tools.
It is not black and white so many shades.
Jeannette Van Houten, M.ED, ATP
Special Education / Assistive Technology Specialist
Assistive Technology Services
1005 Whitehead Road ExtensionSuite 1
Ewing NJ 08638

I had a student like that and we allowed the student to go through