Emergent Writing for Students with Complex Needs

Speaker: Kelly Fonner, M.S.

As students with significant disabilities progress over time, sometimes their development in written
communication is stifled by their reading ability. There is often a tendency to hold off on written expression
until a “certain reading level” is established. Educators may lack the awareness of the advantage that
developing writing skills in tandem with reading skills have the potential of increasing their students’ retention
and motivation in literacy. The more research that is recognized on reading development, the more the field
recognizes that the “more reading a student does, the better reader they become” AND “the more writing a
student does, the better reader they become”. This holds true for ALL students. During this session we will
demonstrate the growing number of writing assessments & implementation tools and strategies. We often
focus so much on the physical act of writing that we forget that teachers need to teach all students the
process of how to write. We will highlight portions through online demonstrations & videos of students with a
focus on how to get started with those who have not written before or those who would rather play with
writing tools than use them to produce print.

Credits: Act 48, ASHA, PSYCH

Audience: Special Education Teachers, Teachers/other professionals who work with students who have
sustained a traumatic brain injury, Speech Therapists, General Education Teachers, Assistive Technology
Specialists, Occupational Therapists and/or Physical Therapists, Parents, Guardians, Family Members,

Speaker Bio: Kelly Fonner, MS, is a self-employed consultant and trainer in assistive and educational technology. Her teaching experiences have been as a teacher assistant, teacher, instructional media specialist, and assistive technology consultant in early childhood, preschool and school-age programs. She worked 8 years as a consultant with PennTech, the statewide technology project supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Since 1986 Kelly has presented and taught internationally at conferences and in school districts on a wide-range of topics including augmentative communication, access to literacy development, writing supports, tablet/computer access, AT assessment and implementation strategies.

Kelly Fonner