Writing assignments for students with special needs can be one of those activities that creates dread, anxiety, resistance, or all of the above. Writing taps into the creative side of our brain, however, the structured side of writing can be overwhelming, when having to remember the rules for making grammatically correct sentences. So how do we help our children enjoy the writing process and make it more meaningful, so they write with a purpose? Here are a few helpful hints to get you started.
picture of an animal, or a real-life scenario of a community helper. Whichever you and your child think would inspire them. If your child doesn’t like to write or type, have them dictate what they “think” about the picture. You can write/type it for them. Allow them to freely express their ideas about the picture. Once they have a few sentences written down, read those sentences back to them. Ask them if these sentences make sense to them. If not, what needs to be changed. Once you feel you have a small paragraph written about the picture, read it together and let them know they wrote that. This accomplishment boosts self-esteem and will encourage them to continue the writing process.
topic. Let’s say that topic is about building a sandcastle at the beach. The adult would start off by writing the first sentence. Read it out loud to the child. Then the child would write or dictate the second sentence. Continue this pattern until you feel that the paragraph is complete. Each sentence should build upon the other, even though there are two writers. Read the entire passage together. Ask the child how they feel about this paragraph and is there anything that needs to be changed. This type of turn-taking writing reduces anxiety and the overwhelming feeling one gets with big tasks. Plus, I find that the child enjoys the rhythm of this writing activity and the anticipation of what their writing partner will produce.
can hang up their work on the refrigerator, cork board, or on the wall. By asking them for permission, you are giving them control, (which they enjoy), and you are showing them that their thoughts are important. This again will boost self-confidence and demonstrate a feeling that no matter how great or small the final product is, that they produce amazing and meaningful work.