Students with language-based disabilities often struggle with the acquisition of written language skills. Writing is difficult because there is no ability to repair a breakdown in communication which we do so often in in oral speech. If a reader does not understand a person’s writing, there is no opportunity to question or revise. When writing the writer is required to infer what someone else needs, in order to, provide enough information, but not too much. Writing draws on many skill areas such as critical thinking, executive function, language, and social skills like perspective taking. Is it a wonder that so much can go wrong?
There are a number of program that offer structured written instruction. There are many types of charts and organizing webs that schools use every day to support the organization and development of ideas. However, if there is a weakness in idea formation charts offer minimal assistance on their own. Identifying where in the writing process breakdown occurs is critical in order to determine the type of intervention. Is the problem with writing, planning and organizing, executive function; is it idea formation which includes critical thinking, applying previously learned knowledge to new knowledge, identifying the main idea, or some other area. For younger students who have yet to develop their writing skills structured programs are very beneficial, but for many older students identifying the error pattern and targeting their specific needs is much more helpful beneficial.