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Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Light Tech Backups for High Tech Devices

How are you handling light tech backup systems for individuals who have high tech devices with complex language systems such as Unity or Word Power?  I am especially concerned about how to provide supports for students who use:
• Eye gaze or head mouse systems
• Switch scanning

When not well-positioned, these devices are typically just not available.  I know this is NOT a new question, but I feel like the gap between 'in-the-chair' and in other positions such as on the floor, relaxing in a bean bag chair, and in bed is getting wider as we are more successful in supporting access.

It seems too much unguided 20 Questions happening.  While PODD systems are amazing language systems, how would they translate for people who are already accomplished users of another language system?

Eagerly looking forward to a discussion and some great ideas!


  1. I have this exact question. My son is 5 and an auditory scanner. He can't be in his chair ALL the time. Sometimes I will set up the Dynavox with a switch at his head and turn the auditory feedback on (not on private speaker) when he is on the floor. He quickly figured that out and will hit the switch with whatever body part he can use, typically his head. Otherwise, we are stuck with 210 questions, smiles for responses. I'm looking into PODD, but realistically, I don't think I have time to figure it out and keep up on the device, not to mention train the school staff and caregivers on all of it. Plus, will it be confusing for my son?

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  3. We work with some students who use auditory scanning with 8-12 items per page. What our vision teacher did to help us was brilliant. She typed (just the words) from each board into a word document (in chart form). Then she cut apart the chart (making cards), laminated them, and put them on a ring. Now we can flip through the rings and ask yes/no questions. It also works great for modeling the structure of the pages without taking away the student's communication device.


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