Providing quality writing instruction for students with intellectual disabilities may seem challenging. The key is to make instruction fun and meaningful. Writing instruction should focus on composition: the expression of thoughts and ideas, and not on drilled handwriting exercises. Here are some tips to help your students enjoy writing and see themselves as writers.
1) Find Each Student’s Pencil
Some students can successfully write with a standard pencil or pen. Others may do better with adapted writing utensils or a keyboard. Students who communicate with gestures, eye gaze, or augmentative communication devices such as switches may do well with alternative pencils.
2) Understand the Developmental Stages of Writing
Many times, as teachers, we begin writing instruction by asking students to write words such as their name. Writing begins long before students have any concept of letter sounds or spelling. If a student is developmentally a scribbler, then it is important to encourage this. Here is an (broken link) online module to guide you through the stages of writing.
3) Offer Meaningful Writing Prompts and Activities
Writing should provide fun and personally meaningful opportunities for your students to communicate. Your kids may enjoy writing to or about people they know or about areas of interest such as music, sports, food, or lessons learned in class. Visit ttaconline to query some great writing activities that are referenced to specific ASOLs.