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Ready, Set, Write! – Alternative Pencils & Writing for Students with the Most Significant Needs

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From the very start, writing is an unquestioned component of literacy development for children without disabilities. However, for children with complex communication needs, intellectual needs and significant physical challenges, writing is often impossible due to their many challenges. The focus of the workshop will be on implementing meaningful writing activities for a range of beginning writers from emergent writers who have little understanding of print to early conventional writers who are starting to do sound spelling. Individual and group writing activities will be demonstrated, along with teaching strategies, sample goals, informal assessment methods and ways for students to write and scribble using “alternative pencils” that do not require hand use. A range of apps that support writing will be shared along with strategies for video modeling as a method of instruction. Videos and writing samples will be shown of real students with significant disabilities in preschool to high school classrooms.


Gretchen Hanser    
Literacy, Learning & Communication
United States

Caroline Musselwhite    
AAC Intervention
United States

Erin Sheldon    
Angelman Literacy Project


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