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The process of written composition consists of many components that create barriers for students with disabilities. This module highlights and provides guidance for assessing the numerous challenges inherent in the writing process. The information presented in this module should be used as a guide only. When dealing with children, especially children with disabilities, many variables must be taken into consideration. This guide is meant to assist you in developing an area of focus and work out where the writing process has broken down for a given student. Written composition involves cognitive, sensory, and motoric components. Tools to assist the student with written composition will follow in the second module in this series, Writing: Composition - WATI - Part II. The motoric and sensory components will be addressed in the ATIM modules Writing: Motor Access - WATI - Part I and Part II. This module includes additional supporting articles, forms, case examples, and strategies for instruction and assessment of assistive technology (AT) for written composition.

Estimated Time to Complete: 1 1/2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 29 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $15 certficate
  1. Identify 3-5 components of the AT assessment process for written composition.
  2. List and describe 4 elements that are essential in the writing process.
  3. Create 2-4 questions that are essential to ask the team to identify and articulate the barrier(s).
  4. Explain 2-3 barriers that are interfering with the learner's ability to be successful with written composition.

Module Authors

Kathy White, ATS

Kathy White is an Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist and has been working for the School District of Janesville for 32 years. She directs the AT program at Janesville and provides technology solutions for students with disabilities. She trains faculty and staff to use AT tools, with a particular emphasis on Universal Design for Learning. Mrs. White is a well-known speaker at regional and national conferences. She is SmartBoard Certified, a Google Educator, and an Apple Teacher. White co-authored the Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM) on Writing Composition Part I and Part II. Mrs. White holds a master's degree in Assistive Technology from St. Norbert College.

Kathy Sween, OTR/L

Katherine Sween has been an OTR for 28 years. She has worked with students of all ages and disabilities in school systems and various organizations in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. She has been a member of the Assistive Technology Team in the School District of Janesville for 10 years as well as a member of the district's Autism Support Team. She has been a co-presenter at national and regional conferences. Katherine co-authored the Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM) on Writing Composition Part I and Part. She is also a co-author of an article featured in Closing The Gap Magazine, Fall 2019.

Amy Garwell, MSE

Amy Garwell has been a Cross Categorical Special Education teacher for the past ten years. She currently works in the School District of Monroe and prior to that worked in the School District of Janesville. She has also worked as a Behavioral Therapist providing in home therapy for students with Autism. Mrs. Garwell received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California. She received her Master's in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has presented at the Reaching High Expectations: Success for All Conference and the UDL- IRN Summit.

Module Content Provided By

This module was developed in collaboration with WATI and provides updated content from the Assessing Students' Needs for Assistive Technology (ASNAT) - IDEA discretionary grant #: 9906-23. 1992-2009

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