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Special Needs - Semantic Pragmatic

Semantic Pragmatic Disorder (SPD) is a specific language difficulty that causes complex communication problems. As with Dyslexia and other language disorders, learning to touch type can improve the process of written communication by greatly reducing the need for a linear thought process and encouraging flexibility in word choice & usage.


A letter from a parent.....

Just for interest for you, Jo, I will let you know a little of Philip's history. Philip has had a diagnosis of "Semantic Pragmatic Disorder" since he was six years old (he is now 13). He has had problems with his fine motor skills for which he has received Occupational Therapy. He has hyper-mobile joints which leads to fatigue when writing and his handwriting although very neat is quite slow. This means that it takes him a long time to be able to produce written work.

We as parents have always sought as much help as possible for Philip and we have always tried to look to the future for Philip, trying to equip him with the skills he will need to make his life easier. The Occupational Therapist & Educational Psychologist both recommended to us that Philip would benefit from acquiring good keyboard skills. We managed to get the Education Authority to provide a laptop for Philip to us at school. The laptop was provided when he was at Primary School (when he was 10years old).

The problem was that the Primary School were unwilling to teach Philip to type, they didn't really seem to welcome the provision of the laptop. It seemed as though we had hit a brick wall so to speak. The school didn't seem to have any enthusiasm about teaching Philip good keyboard skills and we knew that it would be a waste of time to pursue this with the teaching staff. The Educational Psychologist & I.T. Adviser informed us that they could only make recommendations to the school & that unfortunately it came down to the school themselves as to how the equipment that had been provided was used. As Philip was in his second Primary School, already having moved from one Primary School because it was even worse at making provision for Special Needs children, changing schools again was not an option for Philip & his brother James who also has a Statement of Special Educational Needs due to language/communication difficulties.

Determined that the recommendations made to us by the Occupational Therapist & Educational Psychologist for Philip to acquire good keyboard skills would be fulfilled, we realised that it was down to us as parents to teach him these skills. This was quite a scary time for us, as both my husband & I had never even touched a computer and had a real fear of using them. There seemed to be so many obstacles, so many mountains to climb, figuratively speaking but the power of love for your child & a determination for them to fulfil their true potential are great motivators!

We bought our own computer, I went on a Learn Direct computer course and we attended a Special Needs North exhibition in Bolton, Lancashire with the aim of tracking down the best software to enable us to teach Philip to type. This is when we first became aware of Englishtype Junior. We purchased a copy and during the summer holidays just before he went into Year 6 at Primary School I set about using Englishtype with Philip. We set aside about 30 minutes each day and worked our way through the programme. This was a most wonderful experience in many ways:

  1. Philip's typing skills took off very quickly. Actually he took to it "like a duck to water", I felt that he would because I knew that Philip had fantastic "Visual Spacial Awareness Skills". I was able to observe this first hand when I sat in on an assessment that was carried out by the Occupational Therapist.

  2. Philip's confidence & self esteem grew as he realised that he could actually do this, he could actually type well.

  3. My confidence grew at being able to support my son with learning this new skill.

Sharing the learning experience together was a wonderful & very rewarding experience. We found that Englishtype was very easy to use, very clear, simple but extremely effective. We would strongly recommend Englishtype Junior to anyone, actually we have recommended your software to both Philip's Primary School & his Secondary School & also other parents.

Our message to other parents would be don't be afraid to try to teach your child to touch type yourselves. As parents you have the motivation & enthusiasm for your child to succeed. All that is needed is plenty of patience & great software to use like Englishtype Junior.

I hope that by taking the time to share our experience with you Jo in some way it will help others. Thank you for creating such a wonderful programme. It has made a significant difference to our son's life.

Sandra, Philip's Mum


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