# Tag Archives: AAC

## puzzing intrigue

This kid does impress me at times.

OK, I know i’m somewhat biased and, as his mum, it’s my job to be impressed by him… soooo, at the risk of seeming a little ‘braggy’ i’m going to share a snippet from Mac’s recent school work.

Math(s) is still Mac’s favourite subject, it comes easily to him, he enjoys success with it and it’s easier for output than most literacy/writing based activities… so, what’s not to love?

In class Mac and his and his peers (now in 6th grade) were working on number patterns. Mac was working well and was given the first addition number pattern to complete as a warm up.

## 8, 16, 32, 64, 128

Mac typed “doubling” as his response to the teacher’s aide, ‘M’, to explain the pattern.

He was then required to provide ‘M’ with a subtracting pattern for her to try and work out, and so he typed:

## 100, 75, 50, 25

She easily identified it was subtracting by 25 each time.

But it none of this was really challenging Mac so ‘M’ upped the anti and asked him to create a really hard number pattern for her to do.

This is what he typed:

## 44, 88, 264, 1056, 5280

To quote Ron Burgundy, “well that escalated quickly”.

Seems he followed his brief… it is a tricky pattern.  Mac’s aide, ‘M’, worked on it for quite a while but he had her pretty stumped. None of the other kids in class could get it out – Mac assured them it was a proper pattern, that the numbers were correct.

Mac’s teacher, Mrs M worked it out… eventually… and in the end Mac gave the rest of the class the solution.

But it’s these little snippets and insights that intrigue us about this child.  Mac doesn’t use a calculator, it would be too tedious on this communication device.  When asked about his ‘methods’ for many things he says he “just knows it” and can’t explain his working.  Also, on his device he can only type left to right, unlike many instances in calculations where the rest of use might work right to left. So there’s plenty of times we adults are not quite sure what to do next, while Mac just keeps on doing his things his way, and yes, impressing and intriguing us as he goes.

Well, really I need to give those who love a good maths puzzle the chance to do it themselves.

But be sure to put your solution in the comments, I’ll pop Mac’s explanation he used for the class in the comments too, but don’t peek. 😉

Oh, and just so we don’t get too carried away as ‘braggy parents’, I do love the comment in his school workbook immediately following this entry which said… “Mac then dozed off in his wheelchair for a brief nap after all his work on number patterns”, seems it’s exhausting this math(s).

Way to go on the snoozing at school Macco!

## fridge magnet friday…

Thank you Richard Attfield for these amazing words.

###### IMAGE DESCRIPTION: old fashioned fridge door, cream with silver handle with a blue piece of paper containing the quote “Do not give a child a ‘disability label’ – give them equality; give them an education; give them equal status in society; give them freedom to express themselves by the means of their choice. Do not destroy their humanity. Richard Attfield, Poet”

Filed under fridge magnet friday

## the powtoon portfolio…

A homework assignment saw the need for Mac to develop an ‘about me’ portfolio.  We talked about what he might want to include, what it is that is important to him about himself.

We nixed the idea of a poster and decided to use PowToon and their built in templates.  We picked the template, decided on an image to use and then put Mac’s words into the online program.  Some of the items Mac just gave me single words and we discussed how we could expand those ideas into sentences. We also talked about how to split that information across different slides for visual effect.

So if you were wondering just who Mac is… here’s what he thinks you need to know (audio description available below video).

)

AUDIO DESCRIPTION:
Coloured slides with image of blond cartoon boy.  Text reads:

Hello, my name is Mac Burns, I am 10 years old.
I am a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend.
I’m a bit of a thinker; I like to listen and learn;
but I don’t say much… yet!
I use switches to speak and wheels to move.
I particularly love playing football and handball with my mates.
My favourite subject is maths
In my spare time I like to listen to music and books;
watch movies and TV;
learn new things on my computer;
and swim… I love to swim.
I really like funny things, stuff that makes me LAUGH.
I love my life.

Final text is accompanied by an image of a stick drawing of Mac in a wheelchair and a huge vertical ramp… click the following link to the blog post to find out more about this image.

https://inkyed.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/no-limits/

Filed under Accessing the Curriculum

Today we were given a sneak peek of an assessment task Mac undertook.  A photo and comments from his teacher (Mr B) arrived showing his work in the text window of his communication device.

Mr B was really pleased with his work, but perhaps more excited by the fact Mac was clearly proud of his work.  It’s an interesting development.  For quite some time now, Mac has (regularly) been going ‘on strike’ in class by either refusing to use his switches or going to sleep in an attempt to get out of doing work.  It’s certainly not his finest trait … and is certainly more prevalent when it is work he thinks he might not get correct (or literacy).

However, on two occasions this week he’s completed a task and then been obviously proud of himself.

I wonder if it’s a new level of maturity, maybe that somewhat fixed mindset of his might just be opening up to new possibilities.  Oh how I’d love for him to enjoy working on things, particularly literacy, just for his own pleasure.

So what work did he do today?

Here’s the raw text in the Dynavox window.

And here’s the raw text turned into a ‘piece of writing’ (with Mac assisting with the punctuation) to ensure he can see how all his hard work is worth it.

They are delightful words… I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I love the unusual name he’s chosen for the girl and the “stylin” shoes he’s described.

Perhaps our blog readers can add the next line or paragraph in the comments for me to share with Mac.  He can then decide if he wants to collaborate on a “choose your own adventure” style of writing or perhaps be motivated to ‘go it alone’.

## the problem with scare campaigns…

As the month of AAC Awareness (augmentative and alternative communication) draws to a close I was struck by the amount of times the QUIT Victoria ad from 2007 “Voice Within” has been running on TV.

It frustrates me that we are constantly bombarded by the insidious messaging prominent in this ad, that, if you can’t speak you can’t communicate – something AAC acceptance is constantly up against.

And… not withstanding, that once again “walking” is put out as the great ‘hope’ not “communication” (ugh).

I accept this ad is important in the context of “quitting smoking” but concede it is quite damaging to the ongoing awareness and acceptance of AAC – it’s pretty offensive.

This maybe have been something addressed (by AAC users and professionals) when it first aired back in 2007 but the reappearance of it during my TV watching was just a little jarring – particularly so when Mac is often watching when these ads come on.

I discuss with him why people choose to use that type of fear based portrayal and why it is so wrong.  We lump those people, the “fear mongers” into the same basket as the “pity peddlers” and the “disability charity merchants”… there is no place for them in our world.

Filed under Access all Areas

## i swear…

I checked the battery of the Step by Step Communicator today.

As I pressed it to see if it was working I was thrilled to hear the last recorded message was “put some swear words on it” clearly annunciated by the voice of a nine or 10 year old boy.

So, it appears, the boys have had it out in the playground with them – I am pleased Mac is learning how to be a nine year old boy the right way.

It warms my heart to know he is being taught some inappropriate words by his peers.  And, while not ‘explicit’ in the curriculum documents I have read… I am sure it is implied. 😉

Inclusive Education… what more could you ask for!

## liver la vida

It’s hard to know how much involvement to have in assignments when your child has no chance of doing it on their own.

A lot of the assignments to date have been more about me teaching Mac the concept of choosing topics, researching and then deciding what to include – I guess this is probably much the same for everyone.

That being said… I wasn’t overly thrilled when he brought home the requirements for his assignment on “organs”.  He had been assigned “the liver” and was to present to the class as if he was ‘the teacher’.

Ugh, the liver, I thought.  How are we going to find age appropriate stuff and avoid the obvious drug, sexually transmitted disease and alcohol damage issues that seem to feature ‘way more prominently’ on the internet than any other.

With some focussed searching we did OK.   We watched some cool videos, found some good websites.  Mac had to decide what he wanted to include in his assignment.  I showed him how to change up the information so it sounded like something he might say.

We decided to go with a Powerpoint presentation so he could progress it with his switches while ‘taking the class’.

We created his own avatar using the WeeMee Avatar Creator app (we like it because it has a wheelchair accessory).

We popped his Avatar into his CrazyTalk 2D animation software so it could speak with his dialogue.

We decided to use the Acapela-Box to download the voice.  We had to pay for some credits to use this despite having his Dynavox.  Thing is the Dynavox doesn’t really ‘hold its own’ for long tracts of speech.  It gets crackly and breaks up a bit too much for our liking.  With Acapela Box we can use the same voice he uses on his Dynavox but with greater clarity and no chance of it failing mid-sentence.

I poked around on the internet and found some pictures, bought some stock images to include and created some of my own elements.  I discussed with Mac what his images might look like, what we could include and importantly made him choose the ‘liver’ image he liked the best.  From memory… I think he over-ruled my first choice for making “liver dude”

Here’s the video version of his Powerpoint presentation
(you’ll need your sound turned on & be sure to read on after you’ve watched it).

## THE LIVER by Mac Burns

Did you learn anything new?

Oh, and for those super-observant folk…
Disclaimer: no M&Ms were harmed in the making of this assignment… but, that’s not to say a few weren’t hacked 😉