NCIP Staff, 1994
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What to write? How to word it? While these questions are familiar to everyone, students with disabilities often confront unique challenges when they write.
Many students with learning disabilities are often referred to as "reluctant writers." These students may have trouble generating ideas because of gaps in their background knowledge, or, they may have vivid ideas and solid information, but have trouble finding the language to express them. In either situation, it becomes a challenge for these stu-dents to stay focused on the topic and task.
Increasingly, teachers throughout the country are experimenting with instructional practices that incorporate a variety of media to stimulate and support writing. The media may be as simple as photographs, objects, videos and tape recordings -- or as sophisticated as computer software which can link text, visual imagery, sound effects, and music in a hyper-media presentation. These practices, which capitalize on students' unique abilities and interests, can be particularly powerful for students with disabilities, many of whom experience repeated failure with "mono-media" -- pencil and paper.
Students with learning disabilities can benefit from using different kinds of tools that stimulate and support the writing process. Pictured is a group of students writing a multimedia story using Hypercard software.
Multimedia can support writing in a number of ways. It can help students deepen conceptual understandings. It can engage their prior knowledge and help them form mental images. It can also provide tools for composing and publishing. Perhaps most importantly, it can ease the transition from concepts and images to words.
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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013. Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information. If you do so, please cite NCIP. Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government. This site was last updated in September 1998.
ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.