At the beginning of the school year, my Speech and Language Pathologist approached me and asked what I was looking for as far as communication for my students. My response was simple: I want my students’s voices to be accessible and functional throughout the school day. In a Special Education classroom, with 13 students, 2 Special Education Teachers, 4 Paraprofessionals, 1 Nurse, and related service providers coming in and out of the classroom throughout one day, it is easy for materials to get lost in the shuffle, so the idea of having accessible and functional communication is essential. Our classroom focus for the year had quickly (and quite obviously) become communication. This year I will be sharing with you the journey of infusing technology and communication in our very special classroom.
My first share is introducing you to one of my 5th Grade students, Naomi. Naomi absolutely loves the television show, Hannah Montana. Using youtube on the iPad, we have made the show an accessible reward throughout her school day. We have been encouraging Naomi to request for the show by using a Bigmack device. The idea behind the Bigmack, although limited to only one choice option, is to encourage her hand movement for requesting, which will lead to multiple options given. We have met as a team with an outside Assistive Technology Consultant, Sandy Chiampas, from LADSE who explained that we need to teach Naomi the cause and effect idea that when she presses the button (the cause), we will respond to her needs and wants (the effect). The video below shows Naomi requesting for “more” Hannah Montana using the Bicmack. You can see how excited and happy she is after being able to communicate her wants to me for more Hannah!