When Brad first began communicating with his Vantage, he had no idea how important his use of the device would be to another student years later. Brad has been communicating with a speech generating device since 2003 and is about to leave his high school behind for Douglas College. Two years ago he began mentoring Jeffrey, a younger student who was just starting out with his own Vantage. Brad’s team, led by Anya Bayley and Debbie Hardin, placed Brad into the mentorship position with hopes that he would be able to help Jeffrey understand not only how to use his device but also the power of communication in his daily life. Brad has exceeded all expectations! His mentorship experience has helped him create a vision for his own future – one in which he helps other kids regardless of their disability.
Under Brad’s mentorship, Jeffrey has made amazing progress using his Vantage. He has a number of physical challenges so uses a jellybean switch and scans his messages before selecting them. Brad was able to show him, right from the start, how to use his device. This year in particular, Jeffrey has really taken off, becoming more engaged with both peers and adults. His team reports that he is empowered to take control of communication situations now that he understands he can say what he wants.
Brad and Jeffrey’s team have created an environment in which both students have flourished. The team feels that the main advantage of having two device-using students communicate is that they naturally exhibit all the qualities of good communicators – they really listen to one another, wait for responses, ask good questions and are very respectful of one another’s communication.
As Brad leaves Grade 12, we wish him all the best in his new endeavours! And we are sure to hear great things from Jeffrey as he moves through his high school years. Learn more about Brad, Jeffrey and their team by viewing their video “The Power of Communication”.