Aspergers and Writing: Thoughts on handwriting and the curse of cursive — from an Aspie with dysfunctional handwriting who gave up on cursive (and never looked back) and is now a handwriting teacher (to Aspies and others) …

The following was posted to my site as a comment by Kate Gladstone – but I thought it so important and informative, I’d like to publish it as a full post.  The author of this most excellent article has a site and can be found at http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com

Handwriting matters — but does cursive matter? The research is surprising. For instance, it has been documented that legible cursive writing averages no faster than printed handwriting of equal or greater legibility. (Sources for all research are listed below.)

More recently, it has also been documented that cursive does NOT objectively improve the reading, spelling, or language of students who have dyslexia/dysgraphia.
This is what I’d expect from my own experience, by the way. As a handwriting teacher and remediator, I see numerous children, teens, and adults — dyslexic and otherwise — for whom cursive poses even more difficulties than print-writing. (Contrary to myth, reversals in cursive are common — a frequent cursive reversal in my caseload, among dyslexics and others, is “J/f.”)
— According to comparative studies of handwriting speed and legibility in different forms of writing, the fastest, clearest handwriters avoid cursive — although they are not absolute print-writers either. The highest speed and highest legibility in handwriting are attained by those who join only some letters, not all: joining only the most easily joined letter-combinations, leaving the rest unjoined, and using print-like shapes for letters whose printed and cursive shapes disagree.

Reading cursive still matters — but reading cursive is much easier and quicker to master than writing the same way too.

Reading cursive, simply reading it, can be taught in just 30 to 60 minutes — even to five- or six-year-olds (including those with dyslexia) once they read ordinary print.

There’s even a free iPad app teaching how: called “Read Cursive” — appstore.com/readcursive
Given the importance of reading cursive, why not teach this vital skill quickly — for free — instead of leaving it to depend upon the difficult and time-consuming process of learning to write in cursive (which will cost millions to mandate)?

We don’t require our children to learn to make their own pencils (or build their own printing presses) before we teach them how to read and write. Why require them to write cursive before we teach them how to read it? Why not simply teach children to read cursive — along with teaching other vital skills, such as a form of handwriting that is actually typical of effective handwriters?
Just as each and every child deserves to be able to read all kinds of everyday handwriting (including cursive), each and every one of our children — dyslexic or not — deserves to learn the most effective and powerful strategies for high-speed high-legibility handwriting performance.
Teaching material for practical handwriting abounds — especially in the UK and Europe, where such handwriting is taught at least as often as the accident-prone cursive which is venerated by too many North American educators. Some examples, in several cases with student work also shown: http://www.BFHhandwriting.com,http://www.handwritingsuccess.com,http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2009/09/08/opinion/OPED-WRITING.1.pdf, http://www.briem.net,http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com, http://www.italic-handwriting.org, http://www.studioarts.net/calligraphy/italic/hwlesson.html, http://www.freehandwriting.net/educational.html )

Even in the USA and Canada, educated adults increasingly quit cursive. In 2012, handwriting teachers across North America were surveyed at a conference hosted by Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of cursive textbooks. Only 37% wrote in cursive; another 8% printed. The majority — 55% — wrote with some elements resembling print-writing, others resembling cursive.
(If you would like to take part in another, ongoing poll of handwriting forms — not hosted by a publisher, and not restricted to teachers — visit http://www.poll.fm/4zac4 for the One-Question Handwriting Survey, created by this author. As with the Zaner-Bloser teacher survey, so far the results show very few purely cursive handwriters — and even fewer purely printed writers. Most handwriting in the real world — 75% of the response totals, so far — consists of print-like letters with occasional joins.)
When even most handwriting teachers do not themselves use cursive, why glorify it?

Believe it or not, some of the adults who themselves write in an occasionally joined but otherwise print-like handwriting tell me that they are teachers who still insist that their students must write in cursive, and/or who still teach their students that all adults habitually and normally write in cursive and always will. (Given the facts on our handwriting today, this is a little like teaching kids that our current president is Richard Nixon.)

What, I wonder, are the educational and psychological effects of teaching, or trying to teach, something that the students can probably see for themselves is no longer a fact?
Cursive’s cheerleaders (with whom I’ve had some stormy debates) sometimes allege that cursive has benefits which justify absolutely anything said or done to promote that form of handwriting. The cheerleaders for cursive repeatedly state (sometimes in sworn testimony before school boards and state legislatures) that cursive cures dyslexia or prevents it, that it makes you pleasant and graceful and intelligent, that it adds brain cells, that it instills proper etiquette and patriotism, or that it confers numerous other blessings which are no more prevalent among cursive users than among the rest of the human race. Some claim research support — citing studies that invariably prove to have been misquoted or otherwise misrepresented by the claimant.

So far, whenever a devotee of cursive claims the support of research, one or more of the following things has become evident as soon as others examined the claimed support:

/1/ either the claim provides no source (and no source is provided on request)

or, almost as often,

/2/ when sources are cited and can be checked (by finding and reading the cited document), the sources provided turn out to include and/or to reference materials which are misquoted or incorrectly represented by the person(s) offering these as support for cursive,

or, even more often,

/3/ the claimant correctly quotes/cites a source which itself indulges in either /1/ or /2/.

Cursive devotees’ eagerness to misrepresent research has substantial consequences, as the misrepresentations are commonly made — under oath — in testimony before school districts, state legislatures, and other bodies voting on educational measures. The proposals for cursive are, without exception so far, introduced by legislators or other spokespersons whose misrepresentations (in their own testimony) are later revealed — although investigative reporting of the questionable testimony does not always prevent the bill from passing into law, even when the discoveries include signs of undue influence on the legislators promoting the cursive bill? (Documentation on request: I am willing to be interviewed by anyone who is interested in bringing this serious issue inescapably before the public’s eyes and ears.)
By now, you’re probably wondering: “What about cursive and signatures? Will we still have legally valid signatures if we stop signing our names in cursive?” Brace yourself: in state and federal law, cursive signatures have no special legal validity over any other kind. (Hard to believe? Ask any attorney!)
Questioned document examiners (these are specialists in the identification of signatures, the verification of documents, etc.) inform me that the least forgeable signatures are the plainest. Most cursive signatures are loose scrawls: the rest, if they follow the rules of cursive at all, are fairly complicated: these make a forger’s life easy.

All handwriting, not just cursive, is individual — just as all handwriting involves fine motor skills. That is why any first-grade teacher can immediately identify (from the print-writing on unsigned work) which of 25 or 30 students produced it.

Mandating cursive to preserve handwriting resembles mandating stovepipe hats and crinolines to preserve the art of tailoring.

SOURCES:

Handwriting research on speed and legibility:

/1/ Arthur Dale Jackson. “A Comparison of Speed and Legibility of Manuscript and Cursive Handwriting of Intermediate Grade Pupils.”
Ed. D. Dissertation, University of Arizona, 1970: on-line at http://www.eric.ed.gov/?id=ED056015

/2/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, and Naomi Weintraub. “The Relation between Handwriting Style and Speed and Legibility.” JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 91, No. 5 (May – June, 1998), pp. 290-296: on-line athttp://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542168.pdf

/3/ Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Naomi Weintraub, and William Schafer. “Development of Handwriting Speed and Legibility in Grades 1-9.”
JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH, Vol. 92, No. 1 (September – October, 1998), pp. 42-52: on-line athttp://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/27542188.pdf

Handwriting research on cursive’s lack of observable benefit for students with dyslexia/dysgraphia:

“Does cursive handwriting have an impact on the reading and spelling performance of children with dyslexic dysgraphia: A quasi-experimental study.” Authors: Lorene Ann Nalpon & Noel Kok Hwee Chia — URL:http://www.researchgate.net/publication/234451547_Does_cursive_handwriting_have_an_impact_on_the_reading_and_spelling_performance_of_children_with_dyslexic_dysgraphia_A_quasi-experimental_study
and
http://dyslexia.yale.edu/EDU_keyboarding.html
Zaner-Bloser handwriting survey: Results on-line athttp://www.hw21summit.com/media/zb/hw21/files/H2937N_post_event_stats.pdf
Ongoing handwriting poll: http://poll.fm/4zac4

The research most often misrepresented by devotees of cursive (“Neural Correlates of Handwriting” by Dr. Karin Harman-James at Indiana University):
https://www.hw21summit.com/research-harman-james
Background on our handwriting, past and present:
3 videos, by a colleague, show why cursive is NOT a sacrament:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CURSIVE —
http://youtu.be/3kmJc3BCu5g

TIPS TO FIX HANDWRITING —
http://youtu.be/s_F7FqCe6To

HANDWRITING AND MOTOR MEMORY
(shows how to develop fine motor skills WITHOUT cursive) —
http://youtu.be/Od7PGzEHbu0

Yours for better letters,

Kate Gladstone
DIRECTOR, the World Handwriting Contest
CEO, Handwriting Repair/Handwriting That Works
http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com
handwritingrepair@gmail.com

Call Brussels!

Edward Snowden – Encryption and Liberty

Stephen Coughlin CVE interview part II

Young girls is Europe fear going to the grocery store alone

This is a very moving video.  Not translated by one in  our network (we can’t catch them all!) and thus the quality of the translation is not up to our usual standards, but, it does convey the greater point this 16-year-old German girl is making:

 

And what are the ‘Western feminists’ doing to protect these girls from being sexually harassed and even raped by these rapefugees?

By these fake refugees?

Because once they transit one safe country without applying for a refugee asylum, they are legally no longer ‘refugees’ – and the moment they enter the second safe country without applying for asylum they are criminals, according to currently valid international law.

So, in no uncertain terms, Europe is being overrun by criminals who are mostly young, able-bodied Muslim men who are Sharia Supremacists, with no desire to work (international statistics show that only about 20% of Muslims who migrated to Europe or are 2nd generation European Muslims even seek employment) who openly express the desire to kill European natives and rape Europena women.

And they do live up to their threats!

And why would they feel this entitled to take Western European monetary support without feeling obligated?  Because they believe that all European money is really Allah’s money and it is the duty of the Europeans to financially support all Muslims due to their religious superiority.

This is called Sharia supremacism.

Yet, not everyone is buying into it.  (Disclosure – I have done several of these translations.)

So, what are our feminazis doing about all this oppression of women and actual rape culture?

It turns out that they spend their time staring at Batman’s butt:

 

It makes me want to get off this planet!!!

Jodie Ginsberg of Index on Censorship on the Global State of Censorship

Thunderf00t: Feminism: So CRAZY that EVERYTHING is sexist!

Sorry that I have been absent for so long.  Bit of a burnout – plus I was really really really busy with behind-the-scenes anti-jihad activities…and translations of what has been happening in Europe.

But, all that aside:  I’m back!

And, for your viewing pleasure, I shall present the latest from Thunderf00t…but, before I do, there are a few little details I’d like to bring to your attention.

First of all, I would like you to either recall or re-read CodeSlinger’s most excellent guest post on Cultural Marxism (along with its comments).  It is an important primer to understanding ‘third wave feminism’ in general and Thunderf00t’s criticism of it in particular.

OK, let’s-a-go:

Black Son of a MULTIMILLIONAIRE, STILL the SJW victim!

Demonstrators in the Czech Republic call for formation of armed militias, exit from EU

http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=c29ed92a11f4

Oh, how I wish WordPress would support embedding videos from LiveLeak!  Please, do click above…

The video above was translated by yours truly…

A bright young Czech’s perspective on the ‘migrant crisis’ – Part 2: Position of a Small Nation in the Big EU

This is a guest post by a young Czech man whom I greatly respect and whom I had asked for his views on the current ‘migrant crisis’ facing Europe.
First I would like to apologize for “beating around the bush”, but I feel that some more overview is needed to explain what is going on in Europe.
I will start this post with a brief history of Czech. After that, I will explain my (and not only my) point of view of EU and its politics.
If you meet some Czech guy, first thing you will notice is that he looks a kind of “pissed off”.
Yeah, we don’t smile that often.
But I can say that I smile a lot, even though I am Czech. I stick with the saying that “It is good to keep a good mood. You can piss off a lot of people with it”.
We have our reasons. The Czech nation lost its independence in 1620, becoming a part of Austro-Hungarian empire. From economical point of view, it was one of the best guilds of Europe in those days.
But, the Czech language almost disappeared at that time…
Czechs managed to regain their independence in 1918.
Yes, 300 years later.
There were thirty years of peace, until the Munich treaty and, next year, WWII.
After that war followed a forced participation in Warsaw pact – until 1989, the Czech nation was under influence of our “big brother”, the USSR.
In November 1989, we finally gained our freedom and independence. There was plenty of time for us to unleash our “national self-determination”.
Every time before this time, there was somebody to make decisions for us (without our participation) and suppressing our nationality.
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I was in the 7th grade when our teacher said “remember, one of the most important dates of history of Czech Republic is now May the 1st, 2004. This is the day we entered EU”.
When I look back I would like to say “We are f..king loosing our independence once again! Didn’t we learn a lesson from history? No way!”
Yeah, we are repeating the past once again.
There are many Czech people that says it’s not EU, but the EGSR (European Group of Socialistic Republics). Similarity with the USSR is clearly visible.
In 50’s it was “You have to think positive. There will be brighter tomorrows! With our brother USSR on our side!”
Does this sound familiar?
Hell yeah!
It is the same old “vinyl record” now! Just exchange EU for USSR and Brusels (maybe Berlin) for Moscow. Smaller nations joined the EU with dreams of stability and visions to catch up with US economically.
But then, reality struck.
Orders came from the EU, like a winter snow storm.
“You shouldn’t produce so much sugar, we will support economies of the third world countries and import sugar from them”.
That was end of our highly developed “sugar industry”.
For example, sugar cubes are a Czech invention. “You shouldn’t call some things the way you call them, it will confuse the customer”.
WTF?
We have called it that for centuries and no one seemed to be confused by it. This was, and still is, the main role of EU restrictions.
One would say:   “Why do they deal with such unimportant things?”.
I will tell you what Xanthippa told me once. “They must prove that they are worth their salary, so they deal with bullshit.”
So far so good. Czech people are used to deal with such things. When you receive an order that you have to import bananas with a certain shape (yes, there is such order from the EU), you just say “screw it” and you go on.
But then, the Ukraine crisis came.
Everyone in the EU was like “What do we do now?”
If you have a bunch of bureaucrats who are dealing with bullshit, which only makes your life harder, and now they face real crisis, what you expect them to do?
Certainly, you expect that they will face it and do what’s best for EU countries.
What does that mean for the ordinary man in Czech Republic?
First he thinks that his nation will have at least some effect to decisions in EU – but don’t get fooled!
There is a document called the Treaty of Lisbon.
Our former President, Valcav Klaus, was forced to sigh this document even if he had submitted it for examination by the constitutional court.
Why?
Simply because he thought that it is dangerous.
We now see, that he was right.
But, when he was resisting to sign the treaty, he was called a traitor. It is interesting, how media call our presidents traitors, when they don’t do what big brother EU says.
Wth the Ukraine crisis, we all expected some precise information about what’s going on out there.
We got only western propaganda in news…
Some internet servers were bringing a different point of view to all those things. Of course, that sceptic man will read them and think “Hey, it might be a different way, than they say on TV. And what if TV is lying to us?”
And then “independent” media brought a list of 42 web servers which are publishing “pro Russian propaganda”. You see?
Whole 42.
It is just like at least twice as many as “official” (good) news servers.
If the ordinary man sees this, he is like “What the hell should I believe  now?”
My father once said “We don’t have much information about Medieval Times. I was feeling lucky to grow up in 20th century, when we know about anything that happens. But we have no idea about many topics in WWII. And now? We don’t even know for certain what is happening outside of our borders!”
This is the same during migration crisis now.
There is a total lack of solid information.
We cannot trust the “independent media” and we cannot trust in “alternative media”.
What do we get?
On one side, there are people who thinks that “OK, immigrants flee from war-zone and we need to help them. And if we help them they will sure be grateful. They will want to adapt to our way of life. Islam is not so bad. Islamic state (IS) is only bunch of idiots, which are totally different than others.”
These people are considered as good and “true and love”.
On the other hand, there are sceptic people. They don’t want our women to wear burka and be slaves of men. And they fear Islam.
Those people are called “extremists” and “fascists”.
All because they want a good “Islam-free” future for their sons and daughters.
When some leaders of north African states says that there are IS terrorists inside the boats with refugees, I would f..king believe them and I wouldn’t dismiss that information.
Instead, Angela Merkel says that they will greet every Syrian refugee in their country.
It really sounds like a bad joke.
But it is not!
It is reality!!!
There are approximately a half million refugees in Germany at this time. Hungary faces around 10 000 new immigrants a day! And the EU Parliament blames them from building a fence along their borders to prevent everyone to enter their countries.
The most EU countries are part of so called Schengen area, which allows every citizen who lives inside to cross borders within the area without a check at the borders.
This brings additional responsibility to the states that share borders with non-Schengen countries to secure the schengen borders.
But some countries already forgot what is required of them to do.
So when outer borders of Schengen are not secured, there is almost no control of who comes inside. And again, if Hungary builds a fence at the border with non-Schengen country, they are the bad ones…