There are eight motivated, hardworking young people in my classroom and all of them happen to have multiple disabilities. The students range in age from 16-21 and come from two different states, often being bussed over an hour to spend the day in our highly specialized classroom. All of these students have some level of developmental delay in addition to one or more other disabilities, such as vision or hearing impairment, motor disabilities, or being a non-speaking communicator. These students are the stuff inspiration is made of, often beating the odds just to be alive and working everyday towards being as independent and socially involved as possible.
My students use technology every minute of every day. They travel in high tech wheelchairs, communicate through alternative communication devices and depend on medical technology. The only part of their life that doesn't have the technology they need it their education. We do not have the internet in our classroom, our few computers are older and frequently broken, we can go months without ink for the printer and the two out of three of the touch computer monitors that allow these students to use educational software are broken. This means these my students don't have the technology their peers have, never mind the specialized technology that they need to really learn, like touch screens.
Our classroom voted to shoot for the stars on this Donors Choose grant. Instead of asking for one touch monitor or a piece of software we, my students and I, are asking for our dream item. An interactive whiteboard, like those being used at Blue Ribbon Special Education Schools in the USA and all over the United Kingdom in special needs classrooms, would allow these students to truly engage in technology based learning. An interactive touchscreen is basically a huge touch monitor for our students to interact directly with software. Using teacher designed software on the large interactive screen will give students an unparalleled opportunity to learn.
If just a few donors donate just part of their tax return or choose our grant to fund as a give or act of kindness eight special needs students, and all the students to come in this special needs class will be able to have the technology they need to learn and thrive.
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