I work with younger students who have already been identified as having a disability. Many of them are autistic. They are learning to communicate, but many are still considered to be non-verbal. We use pictures, gestures, sign language, and of course verbalizations to encourage communication. We are also a low-income school where all the children receive free breakfast and lunch. These students are fighting on multiple sides trying to learn - fighting hunger, fighting depressed economic status, fighting to have appropriate school supplies, fighting to communicate, and many others.
I want to provide a way for my students to use simple phrases and short sentences to communicate with each other and their teachers.
This will help them feel empowered. We want them to tell us their hopes, dreams, and what they want right now!
The communication devices are needed to help students tell their wants and needs. These materials will directly teach my students new skills by helping them have a voice to participate in activities. For example, while the class is reading a book about animals, each student can have a one step communicator to name the animal or tell what sound it makes, tell the teacher to turn the page, or tell if they liked the book or not. Students can greet all their friends as the enter the classroom each morning, tell their friends good-bye at the end of the day or pick a center to work in. Each student can have a voice to demonstrate a specific skill.
The donations for this project will improve my classroom by reducing the amount of frustration that stems from not being able to communicate, because we will be able to provide the appropriate communications the students need and want, but cannot voice, due to their disabilities.
With less frustration due to not being able to communicate, we can increase our learning and time on task. I'm looking forward to seeing my students happier and ready to learn.
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