Disability of Written Language and AS: Phone a Friend

08 Sep

Most individuals with ASD struggle with writing. Issues with letter formation, spacing, reversals, a preference for printing or cursive, holding the utensil with an appropriate (even if not effective) grasp are well-documented and responsive to treatment. But, there are steps before all of that — the thoughts that float around in our brain that almost magically travel from our brain down to our arm and out of our finger tips onto paper — that receive less attention, less treatment, and less credence.

This issue has plagued a client for his entire school career and my level of frustration with the school district’s inability to understand the collateral impacts of his learning disability of written expression is reaching a breaking point. The challenge is almost as untenable as the solution, so, in part, I can understand the school district’s struggles. But, year after year, a now-sixth-grade student whose IQ is average, whose state test scores are approaching standard, and whose verbal expression of knowledge is a strength, can only write a THREE WORD SENTENCE.

He was just assigned an essay.

I ask you: How much money would you bet on this not going so well? (Yes, he has an IEP, yes the school works hard with him, yes his parents work harder).

I will be honest, I don’t have the answers to this issue. I have NO idea how to teach someone to slow their thoughts down, to organize their thoughts, to think about the appropriate topic in general. I’ve suggested verbal transmission of knowledge (i.e. oral answers, tape recording answers) and the use of graphic organizers to help put thoughts in order.

I’m not asking for a solution, I’m asking for help. How do I communicate this issue to schools more effectively? I’m failing in this regarding, and I’d love help any way it comes.

So would Noah.


Posted by on September 8, 2010 in ASD in the Schools


2 responses to “Disability of Written Language and AS: Phone a Friend

  1. Liz Ditz

    September 9, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    Found your blog through a tweet, looking forward to getting to know you better.

    One thing that others have found helpful: videotaping the child’s struggle to complete the assignment.

    Another thing I did with my NT-but-dyslexic girl before her voice had matured enough to use Dragon Naturally Speaking: she would dictate to me and I typed (Mommy Naturally Speaking). Then I’d print out the dictation, cut it up into “ideas” & use our 6 foot sliding glass door as a space to arrange the ideas. She would use wipe-off markers to draw connections etc.

    Hope both of these helps.

    • jholverstott

      September 10, 2010 at 2:37 AM

      Thanks, Liz, I am very familiar with Dragon Speak, so thanks for the reminder. More and more ways to chip away at reducing one of the struggles of written output are always good for me to gather!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: