Education for children with special needs is no different than education for other children. The key difference is how it’s presented and the pace at which they learn. When It comes time to teach your child with special needs about writing, it’s important to understand the process that goes into properly teaching them the skills they need.
Let’s take a look at three steps you can take to ensure that your child learns the proper skills and understanding to succeed in all their writing endeavors.
3 Steps to Ensure a Healthy Writing Education For Your Special Needs Child
Your special needs child is going to need additional attention and consideration when learning writing skills. This is to reinforce basic skills and give them the same level of fairness as their fellow students.
Here are three steps you can take to ensure their writing skills flourish:
1. Create a Safe Environment
Writing require concentration, but it also requires balance in how you approach feedback. With your special needs child, it’s incredibly important that you establish an environment where they can focus without interruptions.
In addition, you should focus on highlighting positive aspects of their writing and balance that with anything that needs improvement. The most important thing is to not compare their work to other children. That doesn’t accomplish anything and it could very easily hurt their feelings, which would be a step back in their progress.
2. Spend Time on the Basics
For children with special needs, basic skills are something you should focus heavily on. If you can get them comfortable with the basics, they’ll have the tools they need to continue growing and learning.
Here are the areas to focus on when reinforcing basic skills:
- Handwriting – If your child struggles with handwriting, it will take energy away from other elements of the writing process. This should be addressed through short daily practice sessions (10-15 minutes). Giving them meaningful writing tasks and consistently practicing will give them the ability to master this skill.
- Spelling – This applies to reading and writing. For your child, the focus here should be on emphasizing the sound-symbol relationships and patterns. Allow them to create their own phonemic awareness and work with them using patterns and groups of words that are similar.
- Sentence structure – For this skill, it’s recommended that you start with small or short sentences and allow your child to fill them in with more words that create a more complex sentence. The goal here is to show them how different elements of a sentence fit together.
- Essay Writing – As your child gets older, the required writing they will be expected to complete with grow. Namely, they will be asked to write various essays for their school classes. Teaching basic English essay writing skills is extremely important, and something you should consider early on. Teaching proper structure and flow for essays will give them the proper footing they need to handle these assignments when they inevitably come along.
3. Make Time for Revisions
One thing to remember is that revisions are frustrating for expert level writers. For children with special needs, they can be a blow to an otherwise successful moment. Carefully approach this by giving them time to do the revisions later. That way, they can enjoy the victory of finishing their task.
When doing revisions, be sure to separate content from proofreading. The reason for this involves keeping the balance intact between feedback types. Stress the quality of the content as you critique things like punctuation, spelling, or grammar.
Children with special needs can learn writing like anyone else, but they just need time and consideration on specific skills. How do you ensure your children with special needs get the attention they need? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author
After helping launch several successful blogs, Erica Badino is on a quest to share her knowledge and experiences with bloggers both new and old. You can find her online on Twitter: @ericabadino01