2000 Conference Proceedings

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Pixwriter: Writing Is Just A Button-Click Away

by Jim and Jean Slater
Slater Software, Inc



Producing something in writing can be very difficult or impossible for some people. Children or adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, language delays, or significantly limited cognitive levels often struggle with literacy. PixWriter allows the user to compose written materials even if his/her knowledge of spelling skills, sound-symbol relationships, or alphabet is not fully developed. It allows individuals with physical limitations a way to express original thoughts in written form.

The attendees to this Windows lab session will learn (1) the mechanics of the program, and (2) how students use it. A service provider fills vocabulary buttons, which appear at the bottom of the screen, saves the set-up, and later presents it to the student. The student selects a button or buttons in sequence and the writing appears on the top half of the screen. When a student clicks on a vocabulary button, she sees the word printed, sees the picture paired with that word, and hears the word spoken. Sentences, paragraphs or whole stories can be written, read, saved, and printed.

PixWriter is easy to use by both service providers and students. Everyone will learn all the features of the program--positioning, rearranging, deleting vocabulary buttons; changing pronunciation and voices; changing word and picture sizes; creating multi-word buttons; importing pictures; and more.


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It is, of course, necessary to understand the mechanics of the program. However, the majority of the lab session will discuss how to use the program with students. Strategies for vocabulary selection and arrangement will be discussed as it applies to students with various abilities and skills.

Examples of set-ups which have been created for specific purposes will be shown. The participants will have the opportunity to modify the set-ups, write using the vocabulary, and learn about the beginning writers who have used the set-ups. Set-ups will be demonstrated that have been used with students with disabilities in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. The disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, significantly limited cognitive levels, Downs Syndrome, language delay, expressive aphasia and learning disabilities.

Participants will come away with practical applications of the program. They will have seen how students can write daily journals, letters to loved ones, reports for class, sentences using their spelling words, summaries of literature experiences, and original stories using PixWriter.


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