The writing lives of students with learning disabilities: a multiple case study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
April Corn Whitehurst (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Claudia Pagliaro

Abstract: Adolescents with learning disabilities (LD) often struggle to write well at school, and this can affect their academic, social, and vocational lives (Graham & Harris, 2013). Recently, an abundance of technologies have emerged, changing the process of writing from the manipulation of alphabetic text to include sound, audio, video, and still images (Kinzer, 2010). As the meaning of what constitutes writing has evolved to include skills needed to use these new tools and technologies, the act of writing has become more prevalent in every aspect of life (Brandt, 2001). Adolescents with LD, however, are often taught to write using direct methods that do not encompass the evolution of writing nor take into account student status as adolescents. Consequently, research generally has not considered how these students adapt to and learn the new skills needed to be considered literate. This study used a multiple case study methodology to explore the writing perceptions and experiences of three students with LD. Data collected included artifacts, interview transcripts and observations. Findings showed that students expressed meaningful ideas through writing in their classroom environment with limited success. They wrote more when writing about themselves, when given a choice of topic, and when using digital technology. Peer interactions, the need for autonomy while writing, and time to write were important. Students both consumed and produced writing using social media and exhibited skills learned through social media at school. Implications for teachers and researchers are included.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
21st Century Skills, Learning Disability, Middle School, Special Education, Technology, Writing
Learning disabled teenagers $x Education (Middle school)
Composition (Language arts) $x Study and teaching (Middle school)
Special education $x Technological innovations
Individualized instruction

Email this document to