All means ALL: How to help students with the most complex needs access literacy

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Presented By: Nickie Woods, MA / Katie Pittman, MA CCC-SLP / Caroline Musselwhite Ed.D., CCC/SLP

When working with students who have the most complex needs (ranging from medical & cognitive disabilities, complex communication needs, and complex physical bodies), we often have questions:

  • How do we set expectations so that all of our students can learn?
  • What should literacy instruction look like for emergent learners?
  • What resources can help implement literacy instruction?

These are fundamental questions every teacher asks when striving to provide equitable access to learning to ALL of their students. In this webinar, Katie Pittman, MA CCC-SLP, Nickie Woods, MA from Fletcher Miller School, and Caroline Musselwhite Ed.D., CCC/SLP, share their approach to teaching comprehensive literacy to emergent learners by identifying the just-right behaviors, skills, and targets to meet complex learners.

Since literacy can look very different for the most emergent learners, Katie and Nickie will share and show specific examples of Comprehensive Literacy strategies that lead to their “awesome success” including:

  • Applying instructional strategies from Comprehensive Literacy for All by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver
  • Identifying emergent literacy skills, which look very different from those of conventional learners.
  • Setting up a classroom to support Comprehensive Literacy Instruction
  • Implementing best practices for engaging emergent learners with Readtopia.

About the Presenter

Nickie Woods, MA

is a Special Education Instructional Coach at Fletcher Miller Special School in Lakewood, CO. Nickie has been teaching students with significant complex needs for more than 13 years. She’s been using Readtopia for several years in both in-person and remote instruction. Her passion lies in using Readtopia to unlock powerful literacy magic with amazing emergent literacy learners.

Katie Pittman, MA CCC-SLP

is a Speech Language Pathologist with 15 years experience. She has worked in both Wyoming and Colorado with students of all ages and needs. She has spent the last 11 years in Lakewood, CO working with students with significant multiple disabilities. She enjoys working side by side with teachers and supporting authentic student learning.

Caroline Musselwhite Ed.D., CCC/SLP

is an assistive technology specialist with more than 40 years of experience working with children and adolescents with significant disabilities. She has taught courses at several universities, authored a number of books on educational topics, and presented thousands of workshops throughout the world. She is also a founding member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).


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