Basic Computer Skills- Typing
Why Computer Skills are important?
We live in a technical world where almost everything around us revolves around technology .To survive in this world of technology basic computer skills can be defined as essential life skills.
Without the uses of computer, internet in online and offline business, educational services and many other fields or professions it’s very difficult or impossible to do daily life works. This pandemic time has proved that how important these skills are, most of us are getting education, work and able to engage meaningfully just because of the technology and basic computer skills.
Two main Basic Computer Skills:
• Mouse Handling /Clicking
How Computer Skills can help people with special need?
For people with special need basic computer skills are more than a vocational skill.
1. Literacy Skills: – Computer skills are part of the literacy skill in education. Computer literacy deals with being able to use the computer applications rather than writing software. A computer literate uses the computer technology to perform his job more effectively and efficiently. In today’s information age, it is critical to be computer literate.
2. Communication Skills: – For special need people with limited or no verbal speech. Computer skills can be used for AAC communication.
3. Alternate Writing:– For people having difficulties with traditional writing basic computer skill can be used as an alternate way of writing.
4. Attention Skills: – Working on computer needs a lot of attention and concentration.
5. Fine Motor Skills: – Typing and mouse handling are very helpful to work on fine motor areas.
6. Sensory Needs: – Rhythmic typing and sound of keyboard can also fulfill sensory needs of few people with sensory needs.
7. Life Skills: – Everything in today’s world is computerized or app based. From ordering food to doing bank transactions one need to know basic computer skills.
8. Vocational Skills: – Having computer knowledge can of course create more job opportunities.
How can I teach computer skills to my child with special needs?
Every skill need some foundation skills to be achieved before we start. For example, before introducing writing to child we work on fine motor skills and some literacy skills, similarly before introducing keyboard or mouse to a child we need to see if the child is ready for it.
Here are some prerequisite skills we might need to work on.
Prerequisites skills for Basic Compute Skills are
• Sitting Tolerance
• Instruction Following /Receptive Language
• Good Hand Eye Coordination
• Fine Motor Skills
• Gross Motor Skills
• Identification of alphabets
• Random Tracking of alphabets
• Identification of numbers
• Random tracking of numbers
• Concepts Up/Down, Right/Left
Pre-Computer skills are very much similar to Pre-Writing skills. We can do activities for all the prerequisite skills as we do for prewriting skill working on these skills beforehand can make computer learning easy for the child.
Here are few activities that can be done as Pre-Computer Skills.
■We can use dummy keyboards before we start with real keyboards
■We can do matching alphabets and number games on dummy keyboard
■Once the child is comfortable and can identify alphabets and numbers, we can introduce the keyboard. While starting the typing we need to go at a pace child is comfortable with.
Here are few tips to get started
1) Start Easy: – Start with the alphabets typing. As we have already worked on random alphabet identification while working on Pre-Computer skills. Child should be comfortable with identifying the alphabet on the keyboard. We can pick five alphabets practice those and gradually add more. Remember to be patient and consistent. If you find the child uncomfortable or anxious, please step back.
2) Make it interesting and Fun:-Most of the kids enjoy typing their names. You can select alphabets of child’s name and practice that initially. If the child has some favorites like any toy or any character, then practicing the alphabets of that character will build the interest in typing. For example if my child likes Mickey Mouse, I will choose the letters M, I , C , K , E ,Y. Once the child types show him picture of Mickey Mouse and praise a lot for the efforts.
3) CVC words: – After the child is comfortable with random alphabet typing and his favorite words. We can add more short CVC words like is, in , up, cat ,mat, dog etc.
4) Spacebar and Enter Keys: – Once the child is comfortable with simple, typing of words it is time to introduce special keys. We start with spacebar and enter. Do some matching activities for the special keys. We can place a sticker on the keys to visually mark special keys and make the child match the card of special key with real key on keyboard. We can do modelling to use the key with the child and prompt to use the special key. Gradually we can fade the prompts. Verbal and Visual prompts can be given. Remember to do lot of practice around it. You can also find many games on internet that use special keys and are fun for kids.
5) Sentence Typing: – After this we can introduce sentence typing. Start with smaller sentence and if possible give a visual clue . Gradually move from one line to two line and so on.
6) Paragraph Typing: – Once the child is comfortable with sentences, we introduce paragraphs. Again, it needs to be smaller initially and gradually add the complexities.
7) Advanced Typing Skills:-Once the basics of typing are clear we can gradually introduce advance word processing features like formatting etc.
Authored By- Vandana Gautam
Author is a special educator, computer trainer and a certified AAC professional