photo of girl with disability working on laptopWriting

The development of literacy skills for students with intellectual disabilities includes Writing instruction. Classroom learning experiences that include writing should enhance and expand communication and problem-solving skills and may be interdisciplinary. Instruction must provide students with access to grade level, standards aligned instruction that is individualized to meet their needs. For a very small number of students with intellectual disabilities, prioritized content, known as alternate eligible content (AEC), may be necessary.

This page provides resources and supports related to Writing instruction and assessment on grade level, standards-aligned AEC. If an IEP team determines a student to be eligible for the PA Alternate System of Assessment (PASA), the student will be assessed on prioritized Writing AEC aligned to the PA Core Standards in grades 3-8 and 11. Stakeholders comprised of parents, teachers, and administrators developed the Writing AEC in 2016. National expert in special education Dr. Diane Browder, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, reviewed the AEC. The Writing AEC was State Board approved on May 11, 2017. PA stakeholders defined writing as a permanent product demonstrating independent thought. Alternate methods of writing may be appropriate based upon a student’s communication. PaTTAN regional training pertaining to Writing AEC and students with significant cognitive disabilities has been provided and is available. 


As an educator, administrator, or parent, the following resources will be helpful in planning Writing instruction.