My students need a laptop computer, as many of them are non verbal and do not have effective means to tell us their needs, wants, and feeling.
Imagine the frustration students with special needs who are also non verbal must feel when they have a basic need that is not being met but do not have words to express themselves. Technology now exists to give these students access to highly adaptable communication systems that can generate speech.
Our school is home to an inclusive autism special education program.
All of my students are integrated into their grade level general education classrooms. They are supported throughout the school day by myself, instructional assistants, the general education teacher, and their classmates. My students have a wide range of abilities. While some are verbal, others use alternative or augmentative communication(AAC)to interact with people throughout their day. This means that some are able to point to pictures of the things they need or want, while others have electronic devices, such as Ipads, which they can use to construct sentences by selecting icons, and then generating speech. These AAC systems give my students the ability to communicate with teachers and peers, allowing greater academic achievement and helping to build relationships with their peers.
A laptop computer now comes equipped with a wide variety of programs and applications that are specifically designed to promote communication for students with special needs. Programs like Boardmaker and ProLoQuo contain over thousands of picture/word combinations that can be selected to create sentences, and then be spoken through the speaker. The great advantage of having these apps on a laptop is the mobility it provides the user. The student has a voice that they can take to various settings throughout their school day. Additionally, laptops are cool, and other kids love to come and interact with students who have them.
I have several students who would benefit from this technology, but a limited number of computers. When I have used communication programs with students, they are able to have meaningful interaction with their peers and teachers. They are able to make requests to meet their needs and wants. They are able to ask questions about their daily schedule. Most importantly, they know that they are being understood.
Many classrooms use technology as a supplemental learning tool.
My students utilize technology as an essential vehicle for their learning. Without the ability to communicate, how can anyone feel like they are truly part of their classroom community?
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.