Tag Archives: auditory scanning

choose your own adventure…

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.

Image shows the text window of a communication device screen with the text "Dragonflies gracefully
flew above the quiet garden.
 Tarn dressed in her favourite yellow eyed dragon shoes and yellow clothes jumped ".  It is the raw text with no punctuation.

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.

blue background with swirls and dragonflies with the chalkboard style text showing the punctuated writing "Dragonflies gracefully
flew above the quiet garden.
 Tarn, dressed in her favourite yellow eyed dragon shoes and yellow clothes, jumped."

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’.


Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, Inclusion... straight up!

the ‘season proper’

Football season is here.  In Australia you are spoilt for choice with the amount of sport and number of ‘footy codes’ to choose from.

In our family it’s Australian rules football and the AFL (Australian Football League).

Mac has consistently maintained he is a Sydney Swans supporter (which is my team 🙂 ) yet his dad is a very loyal Carlton Blues supporter.  I have let Mac know he doesn’t have to ‘truly’ commit to a team until he turns 10 😉 but he has been solid on the Swans for a good few years now.

Mac: championing the red & white
SWANS v GWC with 38,230 of our closest friends

We were reasonably organised this year, even made it to the opening game of the season in Sydney last Saturday.  An historic moment being the first game ever for the new Great Western Sydney Giants (GWS).  I’m not sure he doesn’t love the pre-game frivolity and post-game celebrations a little more than the actual game… that’s probably not that unusual for an 8yo – particularly one who can’t really see what’s happening on the field courtesy of his cortical vision impairment.

While Mac has had a lovely time over the years snuggling with his Dad, usually in front of the fire, for the couple of hours it takes for an AFL  game to take place he hasn’t really been that engaged.   He’s been to a couple of live games in the early days but they seemed to ‘freak him out’ a little with the crowd roar and the whole ‘lack of vision’ thing.

This year Mac has joined his ‘first ever’ footy tipping competition with his Dad and some other Dads’n lads.  Great practice for AAC (either with auditory or visual scanning) and we have found some time for him to select his tips at school.  This has a couple of benefits… it helps the other kids see him doing the same stuff (or cooler stuff) than them and it saves me one job at home.  It does help that his Learning Support person this year is an AFL supporter (although there’s no explaining him being a Richmond supporter).

At the moment we have each of the rounds set up on the computer for visual scanning, but might (time permitting), load them into a Dynavox share page for easy updating each year.

I am looking forward to seeing how Mac fares in his first ever tipping comp… ‘carn the Swannies!

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Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!


It was an interaction full of sincerity.  Mac’s newest aide “M” was on her first full day working with him.  She had been learning about his equipment, how he uses his foot switches and trying to find out more about him, from him.

M was explaining to Mac how he might have to “bear with her while she learns all about the equipment and promised she would work hard to master it quickly”.

“M” then asked him  “what she might be able to do that would help him the most?”

Mac started his auditory scan.

C – H – O – C … then up to word prediction:

C H O C O L  A T E

Yep, all “M’s” sincerity wasted – this kid is in it for himself, cheeky little bee-bop.

Although, I have to admit to been secretly impressed by his answer – to me it says so many things…

I am can spell…
I am a smart alec…
I have a sense of humour…
I am cheeky…
and, well,
I actually do like chocolate.




Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, things that make me go "glll"

best ever headphones

For an auditory scanner, comfy headphones/earbuds are a necessity.  So, after a year or so of searching I have finally  found some headphones for Mac that we LOVE.

Headphones or earbuds have always been a bit of a problem for Mac.  Earbuds tended to fall out, headphones never fit properly, the hook on variety hurt his ears and the headband variety often ended up covering his eyes and ears at the same time.

Airdrives earphones sit outside the ear.  They are discreet, they allow you to hear everything else going on around you and they don’t pose a risk to your ear if the sound is turned up too high – something Mac can’t do anything about if the volume is accidently turned up.


Here’s what ours look like…

Now for the slightly disappointing news.

I haven’t been able to find them in Australia.  I purchased ours from Amazon in the USA and had  a friend to send them to me for Mac in time for Christmas.   A bit of fiddling around but SOOO worth it.

We have added an extension lead to Mac’s airdrives so he can be a fair way away from his device.  It is just a Smiggle headphone hub we had ‘kicking around’ the house – but works a treat.  The Smiggle hub has two audio outlets so he could have his communication partner listening in to his auditory cues with their own headphones to check they are all working if needed.


Now, I just need to have some sort of transmitter to make them wireless to his communication devices…  I know, I know… I am never satisfied.


Filed under Access all Areas, Accessing the Curriculum, Inclusion... straight up!, Technology - things that help, things that make me go "glll"