The benefits of writing instruction for students with intellectual disabilities are numerous. Consider the following suggestions for writing instruction. Each will encourage students to write. None of these tips require students to use a pencil, use immaculate grammar, or perfectly spell.
The benefits of writing instruction for students with intellectual disabilities are numerous. Writing can help children with disabilities learn to read, speak, and problem solve (Erickson & Koppenhaver, 2007). It also allows students to demonstrate often otherwise hidden competencies and to communicate precisely what they are thinking (Koppenhaver, 1992). Providing quality writing instruction to students with intellectual disabilities can be challenging. Here are a few strategies to make your lessons more effective and more fun.
Consider the following suggestions for writing instruction. Each will encourage students to write. None of these tips require students to use a pencil, use immaculate grammar, or perfectly spell.
Write with Alternative Pencils
Do you have students who cannot hold or manipulate a writing utensil? Are there students in your class who have a visual impairment? Perhaps you teach kids who might better express themselves with eye gaze, switches, or an adapted keyboard. Check out this information on Alternative Pencils.
Write Without Standards
Writing without standards means that students are free to express themselves without fear of their spelling, grammar, and punctuation being judged. The goal is for kids to develop a love of writing and an ability to express their thoughts and feelings in print. Regular opportunities to write without standards can help accomplish both of these. The spelling and grammar will come in time.
Try to include a writing activity every day. The best way for your students to improve their writing is to write more frequently. There are many different ways to incorporate writing into your lessons. For some great ASOL-specific writing lessons, request the free Teaching the Write Way TACtic from T-TAC ODU.
Keep Copies of Students’ Work
Publish your students’ writing samples by posting them on a bulletin board or creating an anthology of your students’ work. Another great reason to keep student writing samples is to share progress and milestones with parents during teacher conferences or IEP meetings. Let your students know that their writing samples are important by keeping them around. A confident writer is a better writer!
Teaching the Write Way: An Overview of Writing Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Follow the link to request this free resource.
Erickson, K.A., & Koppenhaver, D.A. (2007). Children with disabilities: Reading and writing the four-blocks way. Greensboro, NC: Carson-Dellosa.
Koppenhaver, D.A., & Yoder, D.E. (1993). Classroom literacy instruction for children with severe speech and physical impairments: What is and what might be. Topics in Language Disorders, 13(2), 1-15.