From time to time people write to us asking how they can teach their child / grandchild to read and write, and what method we used.  I wish there was a single magic formula, the fool proof method that I could point them to… but there isn’t.

Jonathan has broken down his campaign into 2 parts:

  1. Has the child’s access to learning been found?
  2. How can that access be used to teach them to read and write

It is harder to give ideas of resources for point 1.  For Jonathan the access to learning is his eyes, but this will not be the case for everyone; it may be a point, a switch, a grunt or it could be a mixture of these things.  Stephen Hawkings uses a muscle near his eyebrow!

However, if I had realised how key finding the access was I would have spent much longer on it when he was growing up (hindsight is a wonderful thing!) So, get in touch with the child’s Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, local advisory teaching service and start experimenting and trying to work out what the access might be for your child.

The following links are a collection of resources around literacy for children with access issues.  They are broken down into Research (finding out more) and Resource (practical applications).  We hope they are useful.


Southern Illinois University Carbondale Open SIUC – “Strategies for Teaching Literacy Skills to Children who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication”

The Centre for Literacy and Disability Studies – “Addressing the literacy and learning needs of persons with disabilities of all ages

Center for Literacy & Disability Studies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill– Research-Based Practices for Creating Access to the General Curriculum in Reading and Literacy for Students with Significant Intellectual Disabilities


ScandLE has a number of resources to support communication and learning.  Amongst them are: CandLE Board; Alternative Pencils; Word Wall Word Packs; Predictable Chart Templates; What Do We Know Templates

The ACE Centre have designed books to help families, and professionals alike, get started with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Four Blocks Literacy Model (Presentation) – This model looks at incorporating different approaches to reading and writing into daily learning

Seeing Ear is an online library for blind or print disabled people

Books for All is a programme of support for pupils with print disabilities, their teachers and support staff