I am now starting to think about how she is actually going to do her school work. I have some ideas and I would like to know what you all think.
I am currently thinking Ashlea needs the following:
- a computer with either an intellikeys keyboard or large accessible keyboard of some sort. I don't want to waste time with handwriting - Ashlea is never going to be able to keep up if she has to hand write. She needs some sort of technology to help her record her school work.
- a second computer monitor that displays what is on the smartboard in the classroom. With her vision impairment there is just no way she will be able to see and take in what is on the board - she will need it right in front of her.
- a CCTV book reader thingy (don't know the correct terminology on that one yet) - basically it is a camera hooked up to a monitor - you place reading material under the camera and it magnifies it onto a screen. Ashlea would be able to access many forms of printed material that way and it would mean the teachers wouldn't have to constantly enlarge print materials for her. Actually I think we need one of these for home as well for doing homework.
So, that is my basic 'must have' list. I am curious to see a dynavox in action just in case that would be an option for her. She doesn't really need it for speech output though, but I have heard that it can act as an accessible computer???
Any other thoughts on what might work? The key things the technology needs to help with are her physical limitations when it comes to writing, and her visual impairment. We are going to organise a technology assessment at the RIDBC in the coming weeks so we can try a few of these things out - then will come the fun part - finding the funding for them! I am also going to make an appointment with the school to see what they already have in place. What I have heard from other parents though is that it is a very slow process for equipemnt to arrive - so I want to start the funding and ordering now in the hope that we will be ready to go at the beginning of the school year.
Any other suggestions? Things I should check out? Things that I should avoid??? What does your child use at school? What works / doesn't work?