Students with significant disabilities have always had barriers in receiving the same education as their non-disabled peers. They do not learn the same or at the same pace. These students have been pushed to the side and taught in self-contained classrooms at a slower pace with repeated instruction. The premise of this review is to find age appropriate literacy programs that meet these students emergent literacy needs to develop functional literacy skills. The propositions of the above theories suggest using visuals (pictures combined with text) to develop communication and reading skills using whole language (Goodman & King, 1990). The theories are also imbedded in technology using multi-media (visuals combined with animation and sound) to enhance literacy learning at student individual pace, easily enlarge text for students with visual impairments, and the volume can also be turned up for students with hearing impairments (Fox, 1983).
Multimedia Literacy Programs
Boon, Fore, Lawson, and Martin (2007) discussed the use of curriculum-based measurements (CBM) on the academic achievement for students with mild disabilities. The purpose of the article is to examine the impact of curriculum-based measurement as it relates to reading and writing instruction for students with disabilities. CBM is a standardized methodology for measuring academic performance and was developed to address the effectiveness of a special education intervention model referred to as data-based modification. CBM assessment involves 5 steps for usage that include; identifying a student’s long rang performance goals, creating a pool of test items from the students curriculum, regularly and frequently measuring pupil performance, graphing data, and analyzing results to make instructional decisions. CBM results can help in identifying problems that warrant future investigations for the students in the classroom. The following authors ustilize assessment data to develop a specialized curriculum. The research by Ahlgrim-delzell, Browder, Courtade, Flowers, and Gibbs (2008) evaluated the impact of a curriculum called the Early Literacy Skills Builder on the language and early literacy skills of students with significant developmental disabilities. The authors divided the participants into two groups. The control group received site word and picture instruction prescribed by their individual education plan (IEP). The treatment group was given a team-designed early literacy program. The authors discussed the five essential components of reading as their reference. They include; (a) phonemic awareness (b) phonics (c) fluency (d) vocabulary and (e) comprehension. The authors discussed how most of the studies for this population have focused on site word acquisition with only a small portion targeted comprehension. The authors dices several past studies on this population. An example where students made significant improvement in three reading skill areas (a) reading sounds (b) blending sounds and (c) word reading. The study details how non-verbal students need to be tested in non-standard ways such (a0 finger pointing with a response book (b) eye gazing with response affixed to Plexiglas board (c) pulling the response from attached Velcro cards or (d) pulling the response from a fan of responses displayed in the testers hand. The authors conducted a pretest-posttest study. The eleven students were randomly chosen as long as they had an IQ below 55 with deficits in adaptive behavior. The findings of the study showed indicate that students with intellectual disabilities and autism also can acquire phonemic awareness and phonics skills which help when learning to read. The article by Oldreive, and Waight (2010) evaluates a program designed to improve comprehension and processing of information for students with disabilities. The program evaluated is the Clicker 5 reading and writing software...
References: An overview of the techniques used to develop the literacy skills of adolescents with developmental delays. Lisa Anne Rizopoulos and Gloria Wolpert. Education. 125.1 (Fall 2004) p130.
CBM and students with mild disabilities
Literacy instruction, technology, and students with learning disabilities: research we have, research we need. Donald D. Deshler and Michael J. Kennedy. Learning Disability Quarterly. 33.4 (Fall 2010) p289.
Online instructional materials for students with disabilities: does it work?. Jeanine L. Wilson, Sally Berkowitz, Corina Bullock, Candace Cockrell, Lisa M. Rodriguez, and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie. International Journal of Education. 4.3 (Sept. 2012) p12.
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