I've had many interesting conversations about literacy vs. functional skills training in the past few years. Here are a few outcomes from those conversations:
• I firmly believe that all students should be provided with the time, teaching strategies, and technology to support the growth of literacy skills. This will support students in their lives within their families, schools, and communities.
• Literacy vs. Functional Skills is a false dichotomy. Literacy can and must be superimposed on all learning for students with disabilities.
• I recently heard the following from a high school special education teacher of students with disabilities: "Many of my students will live in group homes at some point in their lives. If they need to learn functional skills, that will be a great time. However, it's very likely that they will have less opportunities supports in literacy instruction once they leave school - now is the best time."
• Moving from emergent to conventional literacy is a continuum. Students can benefit from instruction across that continuum. Any growth in literacy can greatly enhance the life of each student.