Still Here, or at Least Next Door

No, I haven’t given up Gregg, the dictation program, or the set of files for Simplified, but life’s gotten busy for a bit. All good things, but studying for my voice exam (grade 4 — often taken by 10 year olds) and preparing for a summer storytelling gig (multiple concerts for the same audience, so have to refresh my entire repertoire, including one with a a partner) take priority for a few months.

In more related news, my 11 year old son has started shorthand! He’s a bright kid (qualifies as gifted), but has serious handwriting problems. As near as they can tell, he has problems with muscle memory, converting sounds to higher-level abstract shapes, and he wants his writing to keep up with his thoughts.

When he can express things orally, he excels. When he has to write them down, he doesn’t capitalize or punctuate, and he doesn’t spell correctly. Copying from a board is almost impossible. He doesn’t remember what he wrote, and it’s illegible. However, when he stops composing and just proof-reads, he can fix most of it.

Yes, he’s learning to type, and we’re pushing on the paperwork to get a laptop from the school, with speech-recognition, and will buy it ourselves if necessary, but being able to take your own lecture or meeting notes is still a very useful skill.

He also loves codes and ciphers.

According to the specialist, kids with low muscle-memory usually print, since cursive requires you learn each word rather than only 26 letters. That rules out Gregg. As you know, it takes a few tries to turn the alphabet and rules into a fluent outline. We have to adjust each letter to the ones around it. Pitman, with it’s backwards blends, would be even worse.

I suggested Forkner, since the pen “resets’ on the line after most sounds. He read the first chapter and is intrigued. Yay!

So, my time will be split, but in a good way.

Have a great summer!

(by
Cricket for everyone)

 

3 comments Add yours
  1. It would be nice if Gregg worked for him, but according to the tester, my own observations, and his, (now that he's mature enough to look at it objectively) it won't. He'd have to tackle too many challenges at the same time.

    It's not just poor-muscle control or not committing the right shapes to muscle memory. The problem is further up the brain-motor chain. When writing quickly, he puts the pen down somewhere near the right place, then his hand jerks to form the shape in one motion. It's never the same shape twice.

    When writing slowly, the lines are heavy and jerky, and still not consistent. There's no middle-ground of a smooth, controlled shape that can be improved on. Most of us see an improvement after writing a shape a dozen times every day for a week. For him, the improvement is tiny. Gregg would be a nightmare.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed, though. Something might shift, or he might decide he likes the look of Gregg, or the higher speed potential. If the drive comes from him, he'll learn quickly.

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