As I collected Mac from school yesterday one of his classmates came up to me.
“You know, Mac is a VERY good friend to me”, he told me.
I smiled . “He tells me you are an AWESOME friend to him, you guys are lucky to be in the same class.”
What is most amazing is that this young boy is the same boy who, in week one of Kindergarten last year, proclaimed he “didn’t want to sit near the stinky baby!”
This boy had just repeated Kindy and I knew he was feeling a bit out of sorts, so I made sure I always put Mac (aka stinky baby) on the other side of the group to him.
Because the class was 50% of Mac’s peers from pre-school and daycare noone else would succumb to the ‘stinky baby’ line – Mac was their friend. It only took a few weeks and he was interacting and enjoying Mac’s company – courtesy of some fine modeling by his classmates.
I never worried about it at the time – because someone told me a long time ago that…
“often your greatest protagonists become your greatest advocates… if you just give them time”.
How true that insight was.
He is a ‘base 2’ boy.
He has a number of “viable two switch locations” ie two feet, two hands, two elbows, two cheeks. So far, his feet are proving to be the most successful and also the most discreet.
It is official… Mac is a binary boy all the way.
We are currently using Mac’s feet to access choices and information.
So this year our focus will be on improving Mac’s ability with Auditory Scanning.
We are trialling his Macaw with two switches. One for step scanning through the choices (left foot) and then he has an option of either waiting for the time lag for the selection to be made or he can use his ‘yes’ foot to select that answer. We will see which one he prefers over the coming weeks.
Our second priority is to teach Mac his alphabet via Morse code using two switches. I have designed an Excel form to allow him to do this in the classroom with auditory feedback and training informtion. I will provide a copy in my next post.
Finally, our fall back will be to use the Yes/No switching option as a convenient, quick way to get answers.
These three options to my mind are complementary to one another and should provide him great opportunities to alongside the other students with congruency to what they are doing.
Numeracy is still my stumbling block. I will see what ideas Vision Australia come back with when we see them next month. I have been reading up on ‘finger binary‘ which allows you to count to 31 using the fingers on one hand. This might be a concept we could explore using tactile feedback on fingertips perhaps, it is just a thought – I haven’t heard of anyone doing it so… I will let you know.
I think this year should be an interesting and exciting year for Mac – his world opened up significantly since our visit to Rosie last year – this year is where we can start putting all these ideas into practice.