Using assistive technology with SRSD to support students on the autism spectrum with persuasive writing

Published January 2021
Abstract
Children on the autism spectrum often struggle with writing tasks at school. They commonly experience difficulty with two key aspects of writing: the skills required for handwriting (fine motor and perceptual) and the conceptual and language skills required for written composition. Specialist intervention to assist with written expression is, therefore, often needed for students on the autism spectrum to succeed academically. This research evaluated the impact of using self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) in combination with assistive technology on the quality and length of written compositions of students on the autism spectrum. It also investigated how students felt about using the SRSD writing strategy. Eight primary school students on the autism spectrum between the ages of 9 and 12 participated in this single-subject study. An ABAC study design was used to evaluate student writing performance across three conditions. Baseline handwriting measurements were collected during condition A. During condition B students used assistive technology alone; in condition C, students applied their understanding of SRSD while using assistive technology. Results from this study show that, in many cases, the quality and/or length of written compositions and feelings of self-efficacy towards persuasive writing of students on the autism spectrum improved when they received physical and/ or conceptual writing supports. This paper presents the research design, methods and results from this single-subject study followed by a discussion of the results and final thoughts and areas for future research.
Citation
Ozdowska, A., Wyeth, P., Carrington, S. & Ashburner, J. (2021). Using assistive technology with SRSD to support students on the autism spectrum with persuasive writing. British Journal of Educational Technology, 52(2), 934-959. doi:10.1111/bjet.13063

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