I am a speech-language pathologist working in a middle school in Northern California and work primarily with students with autism and learning disabilities. I work with my students on their writing skills, expressive language, executive functioning skills including initiating and completing tasks, as well as pragmatic language and social thinking.
I first heard about Crick Software and Clicker Docs last year while at an AAC conference. Often children with disabilities have an aversion towards writing because their fine motor skills can be impaired, therefore they prefer typing. This is where Clicker Docs fits in perfectly. It is a great iPad® app for middle school students because it offers just the right amount of support with a more mature visual user experience.
This year, I have been using Clicker Docs with a few students, but I would like to share the success of two in particular.
Monica* is a 7th grader (aged 12) with dyslexia. It is challenging to get her motivated to do her school work because she hasn’t felt successful for many years. Recently, we have been working on a new project that has increased her motivation and interest significantly. Monica decided to create a book for a family friend. To help her create this book she came up with questions to ask the family friend. After finding out the answers to the questions, she came to school ready to start writing the text for her book. Typically during writing tasks, Monica has trouble sitting still and she is often out of her seat or talking with other students. In addition, she tends to rush through her work. When Monica is using Clicker Docs, however, she appears calm, she stays in her seat and she takes her time crafting her sentences. This is likely due to the fact that after each sentence, she will listen to what she wrote and go back and edit it because she heard the mistakes spoken out loud. Clicker Docs helped slow Monica down when writing while simultaneously building an awareness of the quality and quantity of her writing.
I’ve noticed Monica’s spelling skills are better since using Clicker Docs. If I see her pause on a word and I try to help her, she’ll say, “Oh wait! I’ve got this, I’ve got this,” so that she can correct her spelling independently. Monica uses the enlarged font feature and she is becoming very skilled using the word prediction capabilities. Monica’s favourite feature is hearing Clicker Docs read out loud what she has written.
During Monica’s entire educational career there has been an adult hovering over her for support. It’s wonderful to see her new found independence. The best part is watching her press the “speak all” button to hear her entire piece read out loud. She sits back in her chair and beams proudly.
Gretchen* is a 7th grader with intellectual disabilities. From years of requiring constant support with her writing skills, she had become very prompt dependent. For example, when writing or reading she will often say, “what does that say?”, “how do you spell that?” and “what do I write now?” or she will sit and wait for an adult to come over to her before she will initiate any tasks. With Clicker Docs, she is writing without prompts for the first time and I can see great improvement with her syntax, tense usage and punctuation as well. By using Clicker Docs, Gretchen is experiencing independence that she has never felt before! Gretchen’s parents have also purchased Clicker Docs to help support her outside of the classroom. An additional feature that I love is how Clicker Docs supports online cloud-based sharing.
I highly recommend Clicker Docs if you’re considering writing support apps for your students or for your own children. At the same time, Clicker Docs helps strengthen expressive language skills, including narrative language, grammar, and syntax. It also minimizes writing frustration, helps students feel successful and encourages students to jump on the iPad and start writing.
Clicker Docs will help increase your students’ excitement about writing and confidence in their writing and spelling skills!
*Names have been changed.