The population of students I teach is very unique. They are full of special personalities, tendencies, preferences, and kindness. They are Hospital/Homebound-Community Based students. What does Hospital/Homebound-Community Based mean? Well, my students have their teacher (me!) visit them at their home or the hospital they are located in to have class. My students have fragile health (have tracheotomy, attached to a ventilator, G/J-Tube fed, travel by wheelchair) and are unable to participate in a traditional school. The 'Community Based' part of the title means that the students I teach demonstrate severe cognitive and physical delays due to their medical conditions, which in my case also means none of my students can verbally communicate.
Due to their unique circumstances, I always try to provide the most sensory-driven lessons possible in order for my students to maintain engagement of the content being taught.
Although my students are unable to communicate in a traditional manner, the look of their faces when I am teaching them is what I love about my job. It is at times difficult trying to find methods of instruction that also can be fun, sensory-driven, and informative, but I always find a way!
As a hospital/homebound teacher, I am always traveling to my student's homes to have class. This means my car is my classroom and I need to pack smart. Since my student's do not communicate in traditional methods (talking or gestures), I always try to use my iPad with custom communication boards that I make for each student with individualized buttons and pictures of their family. In addition to communication boards I always help my students complete matching tasks and sensory based activities on the iPad.
The way my student's faces change when we work on an iPad is incredible!
Due to their varying medical conditions, it can be challenging to maintain engagement during our class sessions. I rarely have an issue with my students maintaining engagement when I use the iPad with them, which is a big deal for me! The iPad I have been using is the iPad I purchased some years ago for work. It has now reached the point where it is not working properly and is no longer supporting apps and updates, and unfortunately, I do not have the means of purchasing a replacement device.
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