Betsabe is a young lady with autism. She never had a voice of her own before. When she discovered the world through her iPad, she was released from her "prison" of silence. I am thrilled that she wants to share her discovery with others that are challenged with communication.
While we were running a quilt raffle to raise funds to get iPads in the classroom, Betsabe expressed an interest in supporting projects to help her younger peers get the needed technology. When she was presented with the opportunity to develop a student lead project she was eager to jump on board. She decided that she wanted to get an iPad Air for our classroom and pass one of ours on to the middle school for a student that did not have one for communication. This way she is helping more than one student. The students in our class need an iPad with SIRI technology to dictate writing too and the students at the middle school need them for communication. This provides for two needs with one project.
The use of the technology that the iPad offers students will allow them to improve their academics and will help them gain skills that will help them in the adult world. Giving students their own voice will allow them to be part of the team that plans for their future education and transition to the adult world. Rather than having others plan for them they will be part of the problem-solving team that will help to meet their real-life goals. They will better their chances of gaining employment and for some it will open the doors for post-secondary education. This technology will help them improve their writing skills and link them with peers through the use of their communication system. They will be able to work on their social skills. If we give students a voice of their own, it will help them with integration into the general student population and promote empathy with neurotypical peers. I will make the opportunities for these students endless.
In Their Own Words
I want to help the students in my class get the iPads they need to learn to be better writers. I also want to make sure the students in my brother's class at the middle school have the
ability to have access iPads for communication. I want them to be able to listen to audio books like I do. Through audio books I discovered that I am not the only one with autism that was trapped in a world of silence. I want them to have the same opportunities I have had.
I can be a leader by setting an example to the younger students, showing them how to use the iPad for communication. They don't have to act out, they can tell others what they need or want. I can take lead by emailing my mom, her friends and family, encouraging them to support my project. I can ask them to to spread the word. I can use my iPad to be an advocated for those with autism. I plan to write a book using my technology to promote autism awareness.
When I came to Mrs. L's class, they believed in me and gave me my voice. They opened up my future to learning. Recently I had a mom of a boy with autism ask me what she could do to help her son. My advice to her was to find him a way to communicate. Communication is the way to break out of the solitary confinement of silence. My project will help those who are challenged in learning and communication by providing them the technology they need to speak out for themselves. It helps them learn.
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