Girl pointing with stickAraina is a bright little primary student at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School in Vancouver. There is never a day that she is not smiling. And she has plenty of reason to smile too. She has made many friends and participates in everything during the school day with the help of her iPad and Touch Chat app.

In February 2014, Araina received technology from SET-BC and together with her AAC SLP, Andrea Lynch, and school team (then Grade 1 teacher Shannon Fontaine and student assistant, Jen Prasol) began working on using it throughout the day. She quickly learned how to answer comprehension questions in reading, sing during the morning circle song, and she even use the QWERTY keyboard on the iPad to write out math sentences.

With growing confidence, Araina is now excited to put her hand up in class! She makes comments, asks questions, requests items and generally lets everyone know what she is thinking! With her iPad and communication app, Araina is able to be an active member of her classroom community.

Staff report that “her whole world has opened up”. They are now able to see that “she has certain ideas about certain things” because she can express them and be understood. She has become much more confident in using her “voice” and is even beginning to mouth the words along with the iPad.

Girl with iPad and Touch Chat appHow do the staff manage to facilitate such success? They have worked closely with their AAC SLP. The staff say that they modify Touch Chat to keep up with Arana’s changing needs. Time is spent at staff meetings telling the rest of the staff how they can ask questions to support Araina in achieving her communication goals with the iPad. They have trained Araina’s peers too. They now understand that to be a good communication partner, they need to wait while Araina formulates her answer to their questions. They understand that the iPad is her voice.

Their hope is that in the future, Araina will continue to flourish and become even more independent and self – confident.

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