Dustin is a thirteen year old student who is using Kurzweil 3000 and ARC-BC materials to get ready for a smooth transition from grade 7 to high school. He is been fully included since he started in kindergarten, completing a modified program in the core subject areas. As he has a moderate intellectual disability, his school team has used various strategies to support him over the years. Some of these strategies have included the use of a SETA to scribe and read for him, an Alphasmart word processor, and a school laptop with the Kurzweil 3000 program.
Dustin loves technology – in fact, his school team calls him “Mr. Technology”! He was so successful with his school laptop, his team applied and received a SET-BC laptop with the updated Kurzweil 3000 application in the fall of 2010. Since then, Dustin makes great use of his SET-BC laptop. The learning team at the school, which includes his classroom teacher, Support Services Teacher, SETA and family, felt that, since receiving the laptop, Dustin has become more independent and gained confidence in his abilities. He is now less reliant on adult support and staff have noticed he has increased opportunities to interact with his peers and to participate more fully in classroom activities. He uses his laptop daily to meet his IEP goals in the areas of Language Arts, Social Communication and Lifeskills. Dustin is skilled in using Kurzweil 3000 to scan and read materials needed in the classroom. He also has enjoyed doing novel studies with books downloaded from ARC-BC.
For Dustin, having everything in one place has meant he is better able to complete writing assignments and keep his work organized and he has found that the computer has helped him develop further relationships with his peers as well. He often emails others to make connections and also emails his teachers to ask questions. His team uses those teachable moments to reinforce writing goals from his IEP! Dustin keeps his desktop very neat and tidy with all his folders arranged by subject area. He has a different screen saver each week which is usually a picture he has taken himself.
Being a strong visual learner, and he loves to create visuals to express his understanding. It is easier for Dustin to show what he knows rather than explain it with words. He has created PowerPoint presentations including his own photographs and text to show his learning about the seasons and the community when our school was visited by SET-BC’s own Timmy Technology. This has really helped him express more of his ideas and has raised his self esteem. One of his recent presentations, a project on horses, was based on his therapeutic riding lessons. This was almost entirely his own work, as he explored the various menu options and settings in the program. He loves his computer, and the team loves how he has excelled in his technological skill development.
Dustin will be transitioning into high school in June 2011 and the team really feels that his new confidence as a result of using his laptop will make a huge difference to him in his new setting. Even as Dustin moves on to his next school, to his current elementary school team, he will always remain “Mr. Technology”.