Monday, May 18, 2009

Sequencing steps in a task

Learning any task that has a series of steps which must be completed in a specific order can be difficult. That's because you must memorize the sequence of steps, and often, there is no logic in the sequence.

These tasks are usually challenging for people with dyslexia:

* Tying shoelaces: this task not only has a series of steps, but many steps have directionality as part of them. Many children do not master this task until they're teenagers.
* Printing letters: the reason they form letters with such unusual beginning and ending points is that they can't remember the sequence of pencil strokes necessary to form that letter. So they start somewhere and then keep going until the letter looks approximately right.
* Doing long division: to successfully complete a long division problem, you must do a series of five steps, in exactly the right sequence, over and over again.

They will often know how to do every step in the sequence, but if they get the steps out of sequence, they'll end up with the wrong answer.
* Touch typing: learning to touch type is an essential skill for people with dysgraphia. But it is usually more difficult (and requires much more effort) for a dyslexic child to learn to type. Not only are the keys on the keyboard laid out in a random order (which requires rote memorization).

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