Yesterday the adults in my classroom included myself, my classroom SSO, my 1:1 SSO and my pre-service teacher. The pre-service teacher has a very short prac, this week being her first of two weeks. She is very new to Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) communication as is my 1:1 SSO. I had given them each a paper version in the morning, one core word page for my SSO and a book for my student teacher. (Not for any reason, that’s just what I had). I had been modelling how to integrate both the iPad and the paper version into the school day, but my only expectation of these two very new members of my classroom was that they wear the paper version.
We had six students present out of a possible seven. Of these six, four have their own AAC systems, three being iPads and one being a PODD book. Lately I’ve really been trying to encourage the concept of ‘If you can see the student, you should also be able to see their device.’ This has meant being very obvious with my intention, saying things like “Oh I can see D, where’s his iPad?” If I remember, I will also use “communication system” or “talker” in place of iPad, which is probably preferable.
I just wanted to share a huge win that happened in the morning session. I had just finished working with a student in the work room and had walked back into the front room. My SSO had made sure that the student she supports had access to her PODD book while she was on the floor while at the same time modelling words on the core word page. Meanwhile my pre-service teacher was engaging with a student using the book, commenting that she was impressed with how he transitioned between words and knew where everything was. I observed this lovely interaction:
Student: THINGS THINGS THINGS THINGS THINGS (Core word page)
Pre-service teacher: “Oh things? What things do you like?”
Me, smiling: “He wants to talk to you about animals, which that book doesn’t have. Here, borrow my iPad for a second.”
Student: Things-Animals-PIG, DOG, CAT, RABBIT, COW, HORSE, FISH (iPad)
Student: Makes the sign for fish and attempts to position pre-service teacher’s hands to copy his sign.
Pre-service teacher: “What’s he doing?”
Me: “He’s trying to teach you the signs.”
Pre-service teacher: “What, really?!”