Glenn is a grade 7 student at Lena Shaw Elementary in Surrey. Right now, he is busy getting ready to make the transition to secondary school next year. Transitions are nothing new to Glenn – he has become used to making transitions over the years using various assistive technologies to support him on the journey towards independence in his learning.
In grade one Glenn started using an Apple iMac, joystick mouse and Clicker from SET-BC. Glenn’s cerebral palsy leads to difficulties in using a pencil and paper to write. Clicker is a software program that uses grids with words and pictures to support writing. He used the joystick mouse to select the words on Clicker grids to complete various writing tasks. He quickly became independent in the use of the joystick and Clicker to write in his journal and to complete other writing assignments.
It eventually became apparent that using a program like Clicker where there was limited choice in word selection was too restrictive for someone like Glenn who had a great deal to express! In grade 2, Glenn began using an onscreen keyboard called Keystrokes. In this program Glenn would write by accessing an onscreen keyboard with his joystick mouse. This program also had built in word prediction – when the program successfully predicted the word he was typing he could select the word to put it into the word processing document he was creating. This increased his independence and speed in writing even more.
Over the years since he first starting using technology, Glenn was determined that he would type directly on the computer. In grade 5 Glenn received a PC laptop with Kurzweil 3000 as his second loan from SET-BC. Using the word processor part of the program, he is now able to type independently and has access to the various learning tools Kurzweil 3000 provides. This allowed him to work away from the desktop work station, again increasing independence in his learning. He is now successfully using Kurzweil in Grade 7 and will be able to use the program as he heads to Secondary school.
All through these changes Glenn has had plenty of company on his journey using assistive technology. Since he started, several teachers, SEAs, SET-BC consultants and other educational professionals have been honoured to be part of this trip.
As Glenn heads to secondary school, it is apparent that he is confident that this is one more transition he will master as he has done in all previous ones. Those of us that have worked with him over the years have no doubts about that!