Ashanti has a big smile as she shows visitors from the School Board office her new skills. She is able to communicate using her iPad and a communication app to express herself. Ashanti demonstrates how she is able to choose any one of the 12 buttons displayed on the iPad screen using a stylus in her left hand. Ashanti is justifiably proud of her accomplishments because less than 16 months ago she was learning to use single switch for simple cause and effect activities on her SET-BC computer.
Ashanti loves the power of this technology. When Ashanti’s classmates started using iPads in the classroom for learning activities, her Speech and Language Pathologist, Pam Jeklin, and education assistant, Tina Saulsgiver, noticed Ashanti’s increased focus and interest. The team borrowed an iPad and loaded a cause-and-effect app and trialed the device with Ashanti. Something new and quite exciting happened, Ashanti reached for the iPad screen and began engaging in the app.
Initially, Ashanti’s fine motor skills made it a challenge for her to target the objects on the screen accurately with her hands so her teacher, Nancy Fraser, found a stylus that was easy for Ashanti to use. Over the next few weeks Ashanti’s accuracy improved and so did her enthusiasm for interacting with classmates. The iPad has laid the foundation for Ashanti and her school team to build their knowledge of the communication process and to grow in the multitude of communication opportunities in the classroom. Ashanti has made amazing progress from basic switch activities to beginning communicator.
Some say that iPads are magic but Ashanti knows that it has taken a supportive team such as Pam, Tina, Nancy and her classmates to make the magic happen.
The rest will be Ashanti’s story to tell and we look forward to hear what she has to say.