Apprehension is part and parcel of starting university for all students, but for students with SEND, the level of anxiety can be far more significant. Transitional challenges, such as managing their own schedules and navigating the university system, through to social and peer relations can be extremely daunting. However, concerns about the academic demands of university, including the level of coursework, the need for independent study, and the worry about how their specific disabilities or learning difference will impact their academic performance may cause the greatest anxiety.
Through the DSA and assessment centres, students are assessed and recommended various assistive tools and software to accommodate their challenges. However, what needs to be highlighted is that many of these innovative assistive technologies and software are designed with keyboard input in mind, so being proficient in touch typing ensures that students can fully utilise these tools and access the support they need.
However, touch typing isn’t just the key to accessing assistive technology, it offers several additional benefits:
Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Mastering the fundamental and often overlooked skill of touch typing can be a tangible achievement that empowers students in their academic journey at university and beyond. It can boost self-esteem and confidence, creating a positive mindset to achieve and succeed.
Accessibility and Inclusivity
Touch typing can make the learning experience more accessible and inclusive for students with challenges such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD and visual impairment. It provides them with a practical skill to help with written communication and engage with technology more efficiently at university.
Enhanced Productivity and Efficiency
Touch typing can significantly increase typing speed and accuracy compared to the hunt-and-peck method or with just a few fingers. This improved efficiency can help students complete assignments, take notes, and communicate with peers and teachers quickly, reducing frustration and time pressure.
Reduced Cognitive Load
For students who may already expand more cognitive effort on specific tasks, touch typing can reduce the cognitive load associated with typing. When typing becomes automatic and fluent, the skill moves to the sub- conscious, allowing students to focus more on the content they are producing rather than on the mechanics of typing.
Neurodivergent students often benefit from effective note-taking strategies. Touch typing enables them to take notes more efficiently during lectures, discussions, and presentations, ensuring they capture essential information accurately. Taking notes independently instils confidence and pride and prepares students for the work place where help in taking notes may not always be available.
Teaching touch typing helps level the playing field and supports neurodivergent students having the same opportunities as their neurotypical peers. It enables them to compete academically and professionally on equal terms.
Touch typing is a valuable job skill in many professions. Teaching the skill better prepares students for future career opportunities and increases their chances of success in the workplace.
Teaching university students with SEND to touch type is essential for promoting inclusivity, increasing productivity, reducing cognitive barriers, and preparing them for academic and professional success. It is part of creating an environment that values diversity and supports all students in reaching their full potential.
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