In my classroom, I have a student who has Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is a disability that can have an affect on the limbs of the body. In the case of my student, the disability has not only reduced the movement in her legs, but has also affected the movement in her arms. Her mobility is rigid, and at times, her arms will pull, creating her hand to make an unwanted movement.
Much of what we do in our classroom is done on a computer. And, while the computer already has voice dictation, which is a great tool to help this student, I believe there may be another tool that could help her in a much bigger way. The Keyboard with Keygaurd is a form of assistive technology that was created with the intention of helping students who have impairments that affect their movements. It costs a very reasonable $150.00. This cost makes this form of assistive technology something that is easy enough to purchase for my class. And, its presence will help this student tremendously.
This form of assistive technology will allow the student to physically type documents, instead of using voice dictation This will help her to learn the skill of typing, as well as have the ability to turn in necessary work. The Keygaurd is a keyboard, with hard plastic guards covering each key. There is a small hole in the top of each guard, where the student can actually tap the key. This form of AT will allow this student the opportunity to physically type, despite the fact that her arm muscles pull at her hands. The shields will help to prevent her from tapping wrong keys, and will help to ensure that only desired keys are tapped.
This form of AT will help this student in the long term. First, it will give her a sense of being able to do things that other students can. Just as she sees other students typing on the keyboard, so too can she. This will give her a sense of confidence, and help to build her pride. It will also teach her the necessary skill of how to use a keyboard, as this is a skill that is needed.
I do hope that, after reading this request, you decide to fund this AT. The cost is minimal, and the effect it will have on this student is great. It will not only help build necessary skills. But, it will also help to build a sense of pride.
I have a student who suffers with . Juvenile rheumatoid “causes persistent , swelling and stiffness” some types can even cause “serious complications, such as growth problems and eye inflammation” (Arthritis Foundation, 2005) I am recommending that the school purchase this device that would greatly improve the student’s educational experience.
I suggested is the voice recognition software. This software will allow the student to “dictate documents or execute commands usually performed through the mouse or keyboard. To achieve efficient voice recognition, the user should receive training. Users need to supply a consistent pronunciation and be in a minimum noise location. These programs help to minimize the joint stress caused by the repetitive keyboard use.” (Orellano, 2010). The cost ranges from $ 50-200
This assistive technology will affect the student in the long term by helping the student stay apart of the classroom and being able to keep up in assignments. The short term would be to minimize the pain and discomfort felt while at school from writing and typing.
I have observed and seen the equipment not being used in the Biology class. I am now a co-teacher and would love to implement the use of this technology in your lectures. The students with the IEP’s as well as the students that do not have IEP’s will both receive advantages from this equipment. The Smart board and ELMO supplied can implement your lectures on the screen Smart board. The board is interactive with a teacher and student pen, and individual handsets for answers. These boards supply the much needed assistance to the students with hearing impairments and low vision. The sound on the board can be made higher and the text can be made larger or smaller. The ELMO can place your handwritten or typed lectures on the board and can view and read text that is in any book. The board is interactive so student can in quizzes that can be displayed on the board, answers input into individual handsets, student output with immediate teacher feedback. Another suggestion would be that we have further training on the usage of the Smart Board through professional development. The boards have to be used by the teacher to implement it into the class. Use it or lose it. Two devices I would recommend for the students with the hearing impairments would be the use of video captioning and captioned . These can be presented on the Smart Board, which is a very large screen, through connecting a DVD player. Here the dialogue of the program is presented on the bottom of the screen so that the student can read what is being said. Two devices I would recommend for vision would be an optical device such as a magnifier for student to make text in their book or on their paper larger and a distant devise such as a large white board. Print can be wrote very large and in different colors. We must provide “multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge” (Edyburn 5.2).
Having At devices such as the Smart Board and Elmo would be of benefit to high school students with disabilities by offering ways to communicate effectively through the course. In the field of science it is very important to have such technology available so that the student can use both cognition and imagination to see the scientific methods take shape. Smart boards and Elmo can be used with many others AT accessories and devices. I think the Victor reader for my students who have visual and auditory impairments is a AT device that allows students to use a handheld Mp3 recorder and media device to listen to visual , and to record notes and voice to be used with talk to text devices. The VR Stream itself is a handheld unit approximately 4.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and slightly over three quarters of an inch thick making it very accessible to carry throughout a productive lesson. I imagine having this available for student in middle school and beyond. It offers a range of capabilities to carry in classroom settings that may have labs, or computer workstations. I also would have an AT device that helped my students with magnification such as Aladdin Rainbow video magnifiers. This magnifier is a CCTV and for students with low vision who benefit from large print, a video magnifier (sometimes referred to as a CCTV,) may provide the best access to diagrams, graphs, maps, math, forms and other print material not stored on a computer, all necessary in a science based curriculum.