My preschool students have autism and severe articulation problems but I love their special way of interacting with me. One little boy follows me, and only me, around the classroom with a drum. It is his way of asking me to sing the class' welcoming song with his name in it. I must sing it at least 4 times within 1/2 hour. I can not think of higher praise for my awful singing voice.
For several months, we attempted to teach another little boy how to wave to others without success.
He would always wave towards himself (palm facing himself) instead of the other person. Someone pointed out to me that from the boy's perspective, that's what the other person's hand looks like to him (person's palm is facing him) when we are frantically modeling "bye" to him with our hand. As soon as we reversed our hand movement to wave towards ourselves, (our palm facing us) the little boy started waving to us with his palm towards us instead of towards himself. So many wonderful quirky escapades I could write a book. My world is filled with so much laughter because of them.
Give my students voices! I teach a severe to moderate special education classroom of 24 preschoolers. Each child has expressive communication and articulation problems. One effective proven method is using computerized voice output applications which can now be used on an iPad. Technology advances make it possible for speech to instantaneously be express clearly what a child is thinking or wants by selecting programmed icons which "speak" for them beyond one or two words.
My students become frustrated and struggle to be heard and understood.
When reading a storybook about a dog, my students can currently answer yes or no questions or point to a picture in the story. I know one of my students has a dog and this student will babble out strings of sounds and gestures that I can't understand, while I am reading the book. Imagine how this situation could have been if his mother had programmed some information about their dog into the iPad. The student would just have to touch the programmed picture of his dog on the iPad and share his dog in a way that we could all understand.
In activities that I provide choices for the students, having a communication iPad would allow the students to make choices that they can hear and be reconfirmed of their choice. Students with speech problems have been assisted in learning speech by repetitively hearing words and attempting to repeat them in non-confrontational settings too. This would allow them unlimited chances to practice and refine their efforts to say a favored word. This would include names of teachers and peers that the student can then appropriately call over for assistance or just to say.
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