Friday, July 27, 2012

Literacy for People with Complex Disabilities

Too often we fail to provide high quality literacy instruction for people with more complex disabilities. Research is beginning to focus more on this. Students with more complex disabilities often have significant access issues which are to often misinterpreted as a more permanent barrier to literacy. This is of course a myth. Many teachers, professionals and parents have come to know just how capable people are when given the right instruction, access and high expectations. Literacy begins at birth with exposure to books and other materials including scribbling/writing all made accessible through a variety of means. It is a life long learning process which must be met with dense exposure, practice and varied experiences. Technology has assisted in opening up this door with more advanced augmentative communication systems as well as very simple ways to modify materials. Tar Heel Reader is a site many people are familiar with. It has thousands of adapted books which are accessible across grades and interests. These books are available free of charge. Beyond using this resource to make materials available to your students, it is also a wonderful opportunity for your students to create accessible materials for others. Students, adults, professionals and families can all be a part of  creating these books. What a wonderful way to teach literacy! Don't forget to use your core vocabulary!

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