Latch-On is uniquely positioned to deliver literacy outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities, as its framework has the following philosophical underpinnings:
Everyone is a learner with ideas worth communicating, and
communities of practice create lifelong learning.
The program recognises that like other learners, people with intellectual disabilities have distinct characteristics, behaviours and needs. Similarly they are as diverse as other groups of learners in terms of their interests, previous learning experiences and aspirations.
When Latch-On students and teachers work together to develop new understandings of and about language, literacy and texts, they can be said to be developing a community—a community with literacy links to other social endeavours which assist in the development of lifelong learners. It is important to note that Latch-On is not an intervention program but the continuation of literacy instruction into young adulthood.
The improvements in literacy achieved by students in the Latch-On program have been possible because of the unique focus of the program:
- Unlike other literacy programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Latch-On is long term. The program is sequenced over two years with students attending two days a week.
- The program has been specifically designed for this group of learners and provides a responsive and flexible curriculum framework.
- Latch-On draws on over 30 years of research into children and young adults with intellectual disabilities and has been successfully researched and conducted at the University of Queensland for six years.
- The four semesters of work in the program provide a balanced approach to literacy education and are fully resourced. All strategies and activites have been successfully trialled during the six years the program has been operating.
- The program key teachers are registered teachers who have been accredited through the Latch-On program. Tutors are also trained to Latch-On program standards.
Latch-On has the following aims:
- to develop students’ abilities to communicate in written, oral and visual mediums
- to support literacy as a desirable and valued aspect in the students’ quality of life.
- to provide opportunities for young adults with intellectual disabilities to continue their literacy development in a post-school environment.
- to use computer technology to enhance literacy.
- to enhance self-concept and life opportunities (work placement) through the expected positive outcomes of this literacy development.
- to support concepts of literacy as a desirable aspect of their future quality of life.
- to develop a better knowledge of the progressive development of literacy in this group of young people and apply this knowledge in the program.
- to provide links and foster friendships through literacy and technology with others across our community.