Welcome to the Louden on Autism Q & A. This week, I’m back to answer a question submitted by a website visitors to shed light on some of the most important questions about autism. I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.
Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.
This week, I received a question about fine motor skills and apps that can help people with autism at school and with their writing skills.
We have a 13-year-old son with autism. In addition to trying to get compliance for his IEP from his Magnet school (health sciences and engineering) and dealing with his daily behavioral slips and suspensions (we’re on thin ice) he struggles with writing. It’s not just the fine motor skills, but the transference of ideas into organized thought/essays/stories, poor spelling and grammar and not understanding space allocation on a page. He also lacks confidence, even though his verbal vocabulary is off the hook. Note-taking is a challenge and he gets dinged for it. Every app I’ve found out there is either concept only or too “babyish” as he puts it. Do you know of anything to help with the motor skills and composition both? He has a voice-to-text device, but that’s not ideal, and unfortunately, they don’t teach keyboarding anymore. Any guidance you could offer would be great. I think this would go far in his self-esteem and help his stress level and grades as well.
One idea that might be interesting is to look into learning programming. There are both typing programming languages and more “visual” ones that allow you to construct your programs out of “blocks” that perform functions.
The reason I suggest this is because programming can become very engaging for people on the spectrum, it’s fairly common for us to end up with an affinity for technology and related things.
But programming also depends on a certain type of “logic.” You are, in essence, “explaining” to the computer what to do. The skills developed from this of thinking things through, understanding the parts, and putting them in an order that makes sense, typically starts very simple and grows in complexity as you learn to program. The same internal mental processes can be transferred to the process of organizing thoughts and ideas into clearer essays and stories. It may be something to look into.
It’s not specifically a treatment for autism, but there are many skills out in the world that can help anyone and there’s no reason not to repurpose them.
Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.