• June 12, 2014

BrandynWhat happens when a motivated student with a speech challenge is paired with two enthusiastic peer mentors? Success for all.

Brandyn is an enthusiastic Kindergarten student in Nanaimo who has a lot to say but his speech is difficult to understand. His school based team support his communication needs with a no tech solution called PODD, Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display. PODD allows Brandyn to communicate with a partner assisting him.

To encourage a move toward independent communication, Brandyn’s school team explored technology solutions and chose an iPad with an app called LAMP Words for Life. The app is based on Minspeak. Because learning Minspeak is very similar to learning a language, the team came up with a way to creatively support Brandyn. They recruited, 2 bright Grade 7 girls, Jayden and Megan to learn Minspeak along with Brandyn.

Before the technology arrived, the classroom teacher, Mrs. Pettit, and Speech and Language Pathologist, Amy Fleming, scheduled regular times during the week for Brandyn and his peer mentors to work together on literacy and numeracy activites. Brandyn has made steady progress and has had fun along the way.

In early April, Brandyn received an iPad with the communication app, LAMP Words for Life, from SET-BC. Brandyn and his peer mentors have been practicing short sentences to describe various characters. For example, “She has funny hair. He has a police hat. She has a straw hat.” Together with the help of his peer mentors, Brandyn took pictures of familiar people in the school (e.g. peers, EAs and teachers) and added them to his school page.

Brandyn’s team is really excited about the potential opportunities that LAMP Words for Life is going to offer. The app will allow him to participate in the curriculum so that his teacher and peers will understand what he is communicating.

This collaboration between Brandyn and his Grade 7 mentors has turned into something very special. This newly forged relationship has facilitated a connection for Brandyn that has been meaningful in his school community. And, for the Grade 7 mentors, Jayden and Megan, they have enjoyed this opportunity to be leaders and have recorded this experience in their portfolios.

Brandyn, Jayden and Megan love working and learning together. Brandyn has become a motivated and happy communicator with the support from his peer mentors. We are all looking forward to hearing all the wonderful things Brandyn has to say now and in the future.