Research Update: Disability and Autism

New Research Suggests Possible Direction for Treatment of Autism This exciting study, completed by researchers at USC-Irvine, and published in Behavioral Neuroscience, looked at the impact of a treatment called sensory-motor or environmental enrichment on the behavior of boys with autism (ages 3-12). The treatment involved twice-daily, parent-led sensory enrichment sessions, where the boys were encouraged to explore and manipulate a variety of sensory stimuli. The materials were low in cost, and addressed the senses of touch, sight, sound, and smell. Benefits were measured in behavior, cognition, and parent report of symptoms. It was interesting because this is considered a new therapy for autism, while being similar in activities to many "sensory diets" that are used in occupational therapy!

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More on keyboarding

So now that we know how to collect information about our students' ease and speed of keyboarding, as it compares to their handwriting speed, we can look at how to improve keyboarding.

Keyboarding is a motor skill, requiring recall of learned movements for greatest efficiency. As always, when performing seated work requiring skilled use of the hands, positioning is the foundation for building skills. With keyboarding, the position of the lower body and back in the chair, the position of the monitor in relation to head, neck and eyes, and then the position of the fingers on the keys. Touch typing is the method preferred for achieving the greatest speed while keyboarding. This method requires that the user utilize each finger to hit the keys, with the keyboard split into vertical rows. For example, the third finger on the left hand is responsible for hitting the keys e d and c, as they fall in a diagonal row on the keyboard. The index fingers are responsible for the following keys: left hand: r f v t g b, and the right: y h n u j m. The thumbs hit the space bar. This is the method that students should be encouraged to use.

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