ColtonColten is a grade 6 student in Burnaby, BC. In his grade 6/7 classroom, Colten is well  liked and accepted by those around him.   He is known for his great humour, empathetic heart, and curious nature. Colten loves being the centre of attention,  and never gives up an opportunity to “gansta-pose” for the camera.  Since receiving equipment from SET-BC in the  Spring of 2012, Colten’s social world has opened up as his use of language has blossomed.

Not only is he able to functionally and  socially approach peers and community workers, he is also able to model  excellent use of the communication device so much so that he is the unofficial  Assistive Technology Ambassador at his school and in his community.

Prior to receiving technology support from SET-BC, Colten  had very limited communication.  While  understood by family, and Heather, his long-standing  EA, his single-word utterances were reserved  for responding to prompts, rather than initiating conversation.

Colten would use sentence strips, and  frequent “pulling and pointing” to communicate his immediate needs and desires. When given the opportunity to use an iPad  for the first time, Colten demonstrated not only an ability to navigate the  touch interface, but he is now able to keep focused on tasks for sustained  periods of time.  Now, Colten is able to  make requests from specific people for specific activities during the course of  his day.

Colten will request that new  people are added to his “people” page in TouchChat, and in doing so, has  regular interactions with a wide variety of people within his school every  day.  He was even able to ask the school custodian  to read to him one day!  (And the request  that was granted.)

What is exciting about Colten’s progress, is the development  of his own “voice”.  The varied  vocabulary choice, and his ability to self-select, has opened a wide a doorway  to a very social world for Colten.  Not  only is he able to gain some independence in his communication, but those  around him are better able to understand the dynamic boy that he is.  Earlier this year, when writing a structured  “I am” poem, Colten used his TouchChat to create the following poem:


I am Colten.
I wonder  about home.
I hear,  “What Does the Fox Say” I see the  basement.
I want  Julian (his nephew)
I am  Colten.

I pretend  to play hospital.
I feel  tired.
I touch  cats.
I worry  about the bus.
I cry at  the hospital.
I am  Colten.

I  understand about puppies.
I say I  want a baby boy.
I dream  about Azalia (his niece)
I try to  drill (he has a tool set)
I am  Colten.

Colten’s success using the iPad is not limited to his use of  TouchChat.  His EA, Heather, uses the  iPad to record videos of other students’ activities for Colten to mimic, such  as saying a word the correct way.  Colten  will intensely watch the video on the iPad and work to copy words and  activities as a part of his learning.  His  increased ability to navigate the iPad has led to him being comfortable with  using technology in the school library and volunteering his service.  As Colten approaches his teen years, his support  team is excited to see how he will navigate the many exciting opportunities,  relationships, and even vocational possibilities ahead.

To learn more about the technology used in this SETstory, search for it by name in learningSET.