5 Neurodevelopmental Areas of Writing

Ergonomic Keyboard with someone typing

5 Neurodevelomental Areas of Writing researched by Levine in 2002 (See PBS's Misunderstood Minds) are: Graphomotor, Attention, Language, Memory and Higher Order Thinking when writing. What can Assistive Technology do to support the needs in each area?

How does each area affect a student's writing and what Assistive Technology (AT) choices to try?

Graphomotor: fine motor issues with writing, sloppy and illegible handwriting, inconsistent writing, off the line, spacing issues and the like.

What to try? Voice Typing & Keyboarding with Google Docs. Accommodated papers with bold lines, raised lines, and direct instruction to accommodate motor difficulties when writing. Read & Write for Google. See Chrome Extensions Help Guide. Texthelp's Google Read and Write help guide.

Attention: easily distracted, difficulty getting started, poor planning when writing, unable to focus on mental energy required for writing and self-monitor

What to try? Google Forms for writing process plus an add on called, "Autocrat" to create a Google Document, classroom supports such as post it note checklists for areas of writing, i.e. grammar, spelling and using self regulated, strategy development model mnemonic devices such as: TREE= Topic Sentence, Reason, Explanation and Ending. See Autocrat Steps and Youtube Video Tutorial.

Language: may have difficulty with recognizing letter sounds, comprehend words (and their meanings), word order, grammar, roadblocks when constructing sentences, describing/explaining ideas, poor vocabulary, spelling issues, difficulty with sentence structure…

What to try? Grammarly and Google Research/Explore Tab OR Co-Writer with data-driven support for word usage, spelling errors. Read and Write for Google. See Chrome Extensions Help Guide.

Memory: students may have roadblocks generating ideas and with the ability to retrieve vocabulary, spelling and prior knowledge, think about writing topics in sequence. Additionally, students may have issues around conventions and genre writing, spelling and capitalization…

What to try? Google Doc templates or creating presentations using Google Slides. Writing checklists and tips, like those found on Writing Fix.

Higher Order Thinking: roadblocks generating original and creative ideas with grammar, spelling, etc., critical thinking skills with conceptual abilities for writing.

What to try? Google Forms, help students work through genre writing without so much cognitive load. Texthelp has amazing Google Apps tutorials that are free to watch and learn from! TEACH for Google - sign in with your Google account to see free courses.

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