Teaching is one of the most important activities for me. Most of all, I like teaching students with severe physical disabilities that are communication device users like me. I’ve been lucky enough to teach such students for several years now, at the Standing Tall and iHope Schools, in Manhattan.
The lessons I teach focus on art projects. I have my students paint, sculpt, and do craft work. But most importantly, I challenge them to be active participants and communicators. Because I know from personal experience, this is what they need. People tend to do things for them, and so it’s harder for them to learn to communicate and do things for themselves.
You may wonder how to create lessons for these students. That’s why I’m sharing what I’ve done. In these lessons, you‘ll see how I encourage my students to communicate, make choices, and share what they’ve done. I also let their facilitators know the students must be doing these things, and not to always do them for them. This may seem very basic, but these things are often overlooked. I live with it every day, so know it well. And that’s why I want to share what I’ve done.
To get a better understanding, you can download a PDF that describes the lessons by clicking here. I refer to examples in My Curriculum, which you can download here. The lessons I’m sharing are for young device users, but I think you can see how these techniques can be adapted for older children who may be struggling too. And feel free to contact me, so we can work on these problems together!
Of course, there are many different ways to teach device users to communicate. For example, they may use switches or 2-choice boards before they use their devices. I discuss some of those in my first pdf. But what I like to do is provide an example as an active device user. It means a lot when they get to see someone doing it! I will post a video here soon, but don’t hesitate to be in touch if you’d like to have me visit your class, or teach a class. And there is Skype and FaceTime if you’re too far away. So be in touch. I look forward to it!