Our classroom serves 7-12 grade students ages 14-22 with multiple special needs. The students are hard working and bright from a variety of ethnic, economic and family backgrounds. They are bussed from many surrounding cities and towns in two different states because local programs could not provide for their unique combinations of special needs. Most of the students are wheelchair users, many are hearing and/or visually impaired and all have some level of communication impairment.
My students use highly specialized technology to learn and complete school work and to communicate. Much of this technology is access by a switch. In this case a switch is a button or other device that can send a signal to a computer or other device to indicate a student's response. Switches allow my student who have only one reliable movement such as a head nod, an eyebrow raising, a finger twitch or a large leg movement to scan turn adapted devices on and off, to scan through choices in specialized software and make choices and to run computers and communication devices.
The more specialized a switch the more expensive it is and the more likely it is to break. Even simple, sturdy switches are expensive and break from time to time. Beyond that different students with different needs require different switches. We need to build up our classroom library of switches so that we have back ups for when switches break and choices for students who require specialized switches.
Your donation with do more than provide some materials to a classroom. It will provide students with significantly disabilities with a chance to control his or her world and have a voice.
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