Despite School Closures, Switch User Doesn’t Miss a Beat!

Thank you to CT Tech Act Project and Stacy Fulton, EASTCONN Assistive Technology Specialist, ATP, OTR/L, CAPS for this post highlighting the benefits of assistive technology available for learning at home. Every state and territory has a State AT Program that loans equipment to try at home, school, or work. Find yours.

When school buildings closed in mid-March due to COVID-19, I joined the ranks of Connecticut’s educators, therapists and AT providers who were forced to find creative, alternative ways to provide direct services. One of my biggest challenges was how to provide appropriate services for a student with significant physical and visual impairments who required assistive technology in order to participate in his educational programming. Because this young man would need to work from home, EASTCONN’s AT team decided to offer a crash course in technology to the student’s mother. She was excited and eager to learn how to use his extensive array of equipment; once it was delivered, we established a training schedule that suited her needs.

Every Monday, we presented one new “device” with our student’s mom. We shared videos to reinforce the technology set-ups and functions and taught her how to connect and use them. With this training she was able to support her son’s progress in communication, cognition, participation in virtual class meetings and leisure activities.

Powerlink connecting blender to switch access.

The devices that were presented include an access switch, iPad/talker with GoTalk Now for making choices through auditory scanning, Powerlink to participate in functional home activities, All-Turn-It Spinner to increase his participation in virtual class meetings, Step-by-Step Communicator to share novel information during virtual class meetings, a laptop computer with switch access for accessing auditory books and switch websites, and a switch-adapted Uno Attack game for social interaction and leisure.

The student’s mom quickly mastered each device and was able to utilize them at home with her son on a daily basis. Mom successfully adapted to holding the switch for the student, since he was awaiting the arrival of a new switch mount. Mom happily shared his success with the devices at home by sending videos to our team. Check out the Facebook video to see how well this student used his assistive technology to participate in a food-prep activity with his mom (and see his priceless smile!)

A young boy smiling using a switch with his cheek to activate a blender in his kitchen with his mother.