Christopher is a grade 2 student living on Saltspring Island. He is in a grade 2/3 classroom, and is part of the grade 3 reading group. He uses a Dynavox V for communication, and has been exploring its use for school work as well. He has tried a number of different methods such as eye gaze and an Intellikeys (external customizable keyboard). For school work, the most effective solution he has tried is the Dynamic Keyboard in combination with Open Office.
Prior to using the Dynavox V and Dynamic Keyboard, he was completing the same curriculum as classmates. However, he accomplished this by spelling out answers using a laminated alphabet and having an educational assistant scribe or help him to print answers ‘hand over hand’. His teacher sometimes prepared sheets where, rather than printing the entire sentence, he could print keys words on the blanks. All of these methods were challenging and required full support to complete his work.
The use of the Dynamic Keyboard with the Dynavox V has been very positive for Christopher. It has given him much more independence as a student – he is now able to answer questions and express ideas without having to rely on his educational assistant (EA) all the time. Now an EA can make sure that he is set up with his programs open and the document he is working on on his screen and he is able to work very independently.
As well as feeling very independent and being able to show what he knows, he also now has avenue where he can make mistakes. Before when he worked as a team with an EA, his work was always correct. Now his work is just like the other students. Chris not only answers the questions, but needs to edit his work for capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.
Chris is an extremely hard worker, and very proud of the work he is doing. He recently used the Dynavox V and Dynamic Keyboard to connect to the internet for the very first time and was able to independently complete an internet search. He was so excited when he could finally get to the Canucks page!