Benefits of touch typing for individuals with dyslexia

The challenges experienced by individuals with dyslexia can make writing and producing a piece of work extremely challenging. The level of concentration and effort involved can be exhausting and can affect the overall structure and quality of work. Additionally, the constant battle can cause frustration, feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Touch typing offers a new way for getting thoughts on to paper. Although there are other options available, such as dictation (using a scribe) or voice recognition software, these options can be very time consuming and difficult to master, especially for individuals with dyslexia who often struggle with short term memory.

Easy correction

A paper littered with crossings out and scribbles can prove hard to read back, interrupt thought and workflow and can cause embarrassment. Touch typing eliminates the need for neat handwriting. Once learned, fingers automatically move to the right keys and instinctively know when they have made a mistake and pressed the wrong key - editing is normally immediately. Additionally, when using a computer, spell checking tools are also available, highlighting mistakes and offering alternatives. Errors can be easily edited without messy crossings out, resulting in neat and presentable work - automatically boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Composing whilst writing

The important aspect of touch typing is not what the fingers are doing but what is happening in the brain.

When you learn to touch type using all your fingers and thumbs, with practice, the physical and conscious skill is automatised and moves to your subconscious. (It’s the same as learning to play a musical instrument.) It reduces mental load and frees your conscious mind to concentrate on more important tasks such as planning, composing, processing, proof-reading and editing (often problem areas). It improves the quality, quantity and overall performance in assignments and exams. It makes life a lot easier and it’s an area where individuals with dyslexia can excel.

A different learning process for spelling

Touch typing uses a different memory skill than that of traditional methods. It offers a very clever way of teaching spelling. With the repetition of touch typing words, spellings are ingrained to ‘muscle memory’ and simply become a series of finger movements and patterns on a keyboard. The stress of trying to remember how to spell a word is eradicated. You simply think the word and your fingers automatically type it (a phrase known as think type). You learn to recognise words by sight, saving the decoding process which often causes difficulty.

Does not overload the working memory

Individuals with dyslexia have a particular thought process. They prefer to work in a non-linear fashion. They jot down their thoughts first as a series of disconnected conceptions and then structure them into an organized answer/essay. Touch typing and using a computer allows them to do this more easily and enables them to work at their own pace.

Increases productivity

Once the skill is mastered, quick and efficient touch typing can reduce the amount of time spent on a piece of work and often increases productivity. When used in exams, subconscious touch typing enables pupils to type quickly and efficiently, allowing them a greater chance of finishing their paper.

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