This week is going to be a really busy week so I’m going to make the first entry for the blog now, on Monday, as opposed to waiting until next week. Some would argue I’m just writing the entry today because I’m procrastinating doing other homework, and that’s actually kind of true. But anyway, Monday I went with a teacher in TUSD and helped in the Adapted PE class at an elementary school. I actually met this teacher last week when I was helping with a kids capoeira class at another TUSD elementary school, so it was very convenient networking. The capoeira class actually has a few students with high incidents diagnosis, the noticeable one when I knew to look for it was ADD. For capoeira, even being as interactive and high energy as it was, this student needed a bit more interaction, so I started helping her focus on not sitting down. She was sitting and scooting all over the room, so I explained that in capoeira it is only appropriate to use your hands, feet, and head when touching the floor. This helped a bit for her and I’ll work on more techniques this week to keep her engaged and interested.
Anyway, back to adapted PE. Below are some pictures of the class and the setup. There were 4 stations and each group of kids had to go through each station twice. It was a neat concept and what the teacher called, “reverse inclusion” because she taught not only the kids with IEP’s and other classifications, but also their peers in the general education classrooms. There were 19 students total for the class and it ran almost an hour in length. The teacher used music and approximately timed each group to 3 minutes, or the duration of a song. One station which I didn’t think would be very exciting, but which turned out much better than expected was where each student had a top to spin. This was the time where being Jewish was a huge advantage for me, as we play with dreidels (like tops, but with 4 sides) every year at hanukkah. So I’ve had years of practice spinning them and even spinning them upside down. After the students looked bored spinning the tops I showed them how to spin them upside down. After that we got a book out and starting spinning it on the book and seeing if we could transfer it to the ground. A few spun the tops on their hands too, and we even tried it on one student’s head. That didn’t work as well, but it was entertaining. I could see implementing this in a capoeira class, encouraging the fine motor skills of spinning the tops, and then while the tops are spinning, having the students do a handstand against a wall, seeing if they can stay in a handstand longer than the top spins. It’s a stretch, but it could be entertaining and we may try that out in the capoeira class this coming week.
After Monday, the next big event was going to Ann’s old school and meeting her students. We are going to go back in a few weeks to help one student in particular with environmental controls and possibly help setup access for his communication device. He recently received a new wheelchair, so that corrected positioning should make everything easier. We then went on to Nogales to do an AT demo for a large group of teachers, SLPs, OTs, and probably a few parents. It was well received and I demonstrated voice commands on a computer and accessibility features in the ipads. I feared a good amount of the information went over their heads, but most seemed to follow along and ask questions when they were confused. We also looked at some simple editing features for videos in preparation for teaching about video modeling.
Friday and Saturday I was in Tempe for the Arizona Speech and Hearing Conference. I had a booth there as part of Saltillo, which confused some of the people who had only seen me working at my internship with Ann. Gus was there too, and with Ann and Mary’s help and supplies, we were able to make a quick, but effective AT adaptation for Gus. His new Pathfinder is slightly smaller than his old one, so the mounting area on his laptray does not fit it correctly. By adding a 1 inch binder below, it provided a more solid surface for the Pathfinder and stopped it from slipping. An ideal solution would be the same concept, but not as wide so the pathfinder is not propped up as high. It created a little bit of a problem for Gus in getting used to the new, higher location of the device, but it was still far better than it slipping everywhere and falling into the chair. Pictures are attached below.
Otherwise the conference was uneventful, but I met many new people and have some new contacts which should lead to some fun and educational experiences helping people setup their AAC devices in the homes and schools