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Assignment Guide: Using Pressto to Support Students with Disabilities
Assignment Guide: Using Pressto to Support Students with Disabilities
Emily Donnelly avatar
Written by Emily Donnelly
Updated over a week ago

This guide was written by Marina Shallcross, a Pressto contributor.

Read Marina's blog post, in which she details her experience with working with people with disabilities and the benefits Pressto brings to this community of learners, here.

This guide contains suggestions to help you structure Pressto assignments for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

We recommend using the Personal Narrative writing plan to start. This helps students find individual meaning in their writing and engage with personal memories, thoughts, and interests to craft a story.

Students can write a Personal Narrative using two different Pressto formats: the classic Doc or the Zine.

  • The Doc functions as one scrollable page and is broken up by different sections and placeholders to insert pictures. The page expands as students write, so they do not feel pressure to fill a page with more writing than they anticipate adding for their story. We recommend the Doc template for students who prefer to see all of their writing on one page and want to limit clicking and navigating to other pages.

  • The Zine functions as a mini story book. It has 8 small pages that, when printed, can be folded into a booklet that can be shared with friends and family. The writing blocks on each page vary from text-only pages to text and image pages, and teachers can change the format of each page depending on students’ needs.

Both the Doc and Zine Pressto formats can help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities engage in the process of crafting a personal narrative.

Below are research-based strategies for writing instruction for individuals with IDD.

  • Scaffolded writing: It is important to create scaffolds to guide individuals through the writing process. Pressto provides scaffolds with writing Blocks that show students how to structure their writing. Additionally, Signal and Important words can be used to scaffold ideas and sentences. Educators can add their own sentence starters to support students as they write.

  • Motivation: Motivation is a key component for getting individuals with IDD interested in and excited about writing. Using Pressto’s prompt generator, teachers can personalize prompts for students by entering keywords related to that student’s individual interests.

  • Multimedia support: Adding multimedia elements to writing can help increase motivation and interest. Instructors can add more sections for pictures, or insert pictures prior to the assignment based on students’ interests to guide their writing. Also, students can change the text font, size, and color and upload their own drawings and photos.

  • Social connection: Social connection through writing helps individuals with identity development and inclusion. They can publish their Presstos and present them to others.

  • Flexible, low-pressure environment: Presstos are easy to make and edit. Students can focus more on the process of creating Presstos and learning elements of writing rather than the final product.

  • On-demand support and feedback: The ability to ask for and receive support instantly can help individuals who struggle with self-advocacy. Pressto’s Writing Buddy provides an accessible way to ask for help and guide students to develop their ideas and instructors can leave comments to support individuals with their writing.

Ready to try Pressto?

Check out this personal narrative assignment, ready to use in Doc or Zine format. You can make a copy and adapt the assignment as needed for your students.

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