The elementary and high school that I serve have students with various heritages, cultures, and languages. All students receive free breakfast and lunch. Several come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and many of the adults in their lives have very little education or none at all.
Several of my students, as well as ones from other schools I have been contacted about, have very limited verbal communication.
They cannot express their needs and wants the same way as most people. Often, they are introduced to an augmentative and alternative communication device that speaks for them. These devices allow the students to communicate with others, just in a different way.
Many children are unable to verbally communicate their wants and needs. However, there are many options available that allow these students to communicate with others, even without vocalizations. They are given a new voice - a communication device!
Communication devices are vital tools for children that struggle or are unable to use their voice during conversations.
Some are simple, such as picture cards, while others are more involved, such as LAMP Words For Life. Many devices are purchased directly from the company, but there are also many apps available for use on an iPad. The iPad is used to teach the students, teachers, and families how to use the communication app that works best for their situation. It is often the first step in determining which device will be the most beneficial.
As stated earlier, not all students learn at the same level; therefore, having access to several different communication apps on an iPad is beneficial. I am able to transport the iPad across many school locations. The iPad is used as a tool to demonstrate to the teachers and families how to model and teach language to the student that struggles to communicate verbally. The student is given the opportunity to participate in class lectures, converse with friends, and tell his/her parents how much they are appreciated. It is amazing to see a child initiate a conversation with others now that he/she has a voice. Frustrations are reduced and replaced with joy when others can finally understand what the child wants and needs. It is truly a fantastic feeling to provide someone with the ability to communicate!
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