Tag Archives: morse code

Tandem Master is on its way…

NSW DET have funded the Tandem Master USB keyboard for Mac. It is ordered and soon will be in the classroom. Happy days Macco, happy days.

which in Morse code is:

-. … .– /  -.. . – /  …. .- …- . /  ..-. ..- -. -.. . -.. /  – …. . /  – .- -. -.. . — /  — .- … – . .-. /  ..- … -… /  -.- . -.– -… — .- .-. -.. /  ..-. — .-. /  — .- -.-. .-.-.- /  .. – /  .. … /  — .-. -.. . .-. . -.. /  .- -. -.. /  … — — -. /  .– .. .-.. .-.. /  -… . /  .. -. /  – …. . /  -.-. .-.. .- … … .-. — — — .-.-.- /  …. .- .–. .–. -.– /  -.. .- -.– … /  — .- -.-. -.-. — –..– /  …. .- .–. .–. -.– /  -.. .- -.– … .-.-.-

Comparing the above paragraphs makes me realise just how well Mac does with his morse code.  The first paragraph,  if we typed it, is only 138 characters (including spaces).  To type it in morse code Mac would have to enter 504 characters.

To date Mac hasn’t learnt punctuation or spaces – but with the TandemMaster soon to be in his life then I imagine these will be a priority as he moves on in his learning.

During class dictation over the last couple of weeks Mac has only been finishing some 30 seconds after the other children.

Not bad going all things considered.

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Filed under Access all Areas, Accessing the Curriculum, Technology - things that help

mid-year school report


Needless to say we were pretty impressed with Mac’s 2010
mid-year report.
Great insight, very positive…
a great record of his hard work.


Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, first grade here I come, Inclusion... straight up!


Mac wasn’t working very well in class the other day.  He was meant to be doing his work in Morse Code – but just kept kicking his feet, not making any sense with his letters.

R (his Aide) reverted to his Yes/No switches and asked him if he needed to tell her something… “YES” was the response.

R:         “Can you type it for me?”

MAC:  “Yes”

So they reverted back to morse code.
MAC:  ” N … A … G “

R:         “Did you want to write N-A-G ?”

MAC:   “Yes”

R:          “Do you think I am nagging you?”

MAC:  “Yes”

R said she laughed and then went on to explain she is sorry it feels like ‘nagging’ but everyone else has to do their work and therefore, so did Mac.

When Mac got home I asked him if he knew what the word ‘nag’ meant and gave him some choices of definitions.   He knows exactly what it meant.


something strange happened…

I   s t a r t e d   c h a n n e l l i n g    m y    M u m .

All of a sudden these words started spilling out of my mouth – reminiscent of when we didn’t want to eat our dinner as kids and our parents used to pull out the line…

“You should be thankful you have food on the table… there are children starving in Kampuchea“.

Here I was trotting out the line…

“You should be thankful you have someone who WILL nag you.  There are kids with disabilities all over the world who never get challenged, who never get nagged because people don’t have expectations they can do the work.”

Needless to say, Mac agreed with his foot switches that “YES” he is lucky he has people who nag him (even if it was to simply satisfy his mum’s little rant).

I also took the time to remind him, despite what he might believe, at seven years of age he isn’t actually the ‘boss of the world’ and still has to do what the teacher asks.

He conceded to “half agree” with that idea… Hmmm.


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

“budder” wouldn’t melt

We’ve been talking about rude words, swear words, inappropriate language (some of the kids have been getting into strife at school).

I asked Mac if he knew any – a very sly grin accompanied a fairly confident “YES” on his right foot’s button.

Would you tell Mum one you know?   YES he answered (more grinning)

Could you spell it?  (I asked with a hint of trepidation – I think he probably knows more than he should)

So we busied ourselves with the Morse Code option.

B sure, I can think of a couple starting with “B”

U yep, still with you

D hmmm, I checked, was this correct?…  It was, Mac confirmed.

D OK, I am starting to feel a bit lost (or uncool and out of the loop)

E Nup, still lost

R OK, I guess that makes sense, could it be derived from the more familiar bugger?

So, I checked.  Is b-u-d-d-e-r  what he wanted to spell.  YES

And do you hear people saying that word as a ‘swear’?   YES

So, like  “BUDDER OFF”, “OH BUDDER” & “BUDDER IT”   I enquired further…  YES

I haven’t actually corrected his spelling just yet.  If he happens to go to the effort of telling someone to ‘budder off’ I think they will get the message and he won’t seem ‘quite as rude’.

So despite the chequered past and original meaning of the ‘intended word’ thankfully, these days, it is a far more acceptable and less offensive expletive.

I think we’ll let him retain ‘budder’ (and it’s corrected version) in his vernacular.

That being said, I am not naive enough to think that much of this conversation was cleverly manipulated by Mac who is wily enough to know what to say, when to say it and how far to take it.

As I said at the beginning “budder” wouldn’t melt… yeah sure it wouldn’t.


Filed under things that make me go "glll"

morse “the movie”

I finally got around to putting some video onto the computer of Mac learning his morse code.

It shows him on one of his worst days physically – he has that whole ‘pretzel’ thing going on.  Despite the poor quality you can see he pretty much does small ‘toe drops’ to activate the switch.  He rests his feet on the velcro loops attached to the switches and a very small amount of pressure activates them.

This was only taken about two weeks into us starting to teach him morse – I must take some more footage to see the progression.   You can see for the ‘h’ I pretty much left the dash switch out of reach as he had only learnt that letter the day before – it wasn’t an exam LOL.

The computer is plugged into my Dad’s 46″ LCD TV and I think, from memory, that day I had a third switch plugged in for me to use with my foot to tab across the Morse Code program once he completed each letter.

There’s about five minutes of footage – thankfully Mac has got a bit quicker as time has progressed.  He still has some pretty dreadful days physically, those days we don’t push things.  When he is having a great day physically he makes up for it.


Filed under Technology - things that help

morse merit

This is unlikely to be one of the ‘common’ awards given out in this day and age.

But, it is an important award for a number of reasons.  Not only does this show Mac is able to garner an award for something that is essentially an academic award – a great achievement for him.  It also (and more importantly) shows his teacher has absolutely given credibility and authenticity to Mac’s adapted methods to access his curriculum via Morse Code (among other things).


Filed under Inclusion... straight up!

when I grow up…

I finally got round to asking Mac if he knows what he wants to be when he grows up.   I’ve always told him jokingly that he will need to get himself a good job since all the ‘disability’ things he needs are so expensive.

It was a fun conversation, it went like this…

GINA: So, Macco, do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

MAC: yes

GINA: Do you think you could tell me somehow?

MAC: yes

GINA: Could you spell what you want to be using the Macaw?

MAC: yes

MAC: (using Macaw) d – a – d

GINA: Do  you want to be LIKE Dad?

MAC: yes

GINA: So, do you want to be a teacher/ lecturer like Dad?

MAC: yes

GINA: Do you want to be a teacher at school?

MAC: no

GINA: Do you want to be a teacher at University?

MAC: yes

GINA: Do you want to teach the same thing as Dad?

MAC: I don’t know

GINA: Do you want to teach Journalism like Dad?

MAC: yes

GINA: Or, do you want to teach Maths?

MAC: yes

GINA: Is there anything else you might like to teach?

MAC: no

GINA: So, you want to be either a Maths Lecturer or a Journalism Lecturer at University?

MAC: yes

They sound like pretty good choices to me.

We also talked about the other obvious option from the above conversation about Mac maybe wanting to ‘BE A Dad’.  He agreed he would like to be a Dad one day.  He has been very inspired by Tania at TandemMaster who is a Mum who happens to have quite significant CP, and who uses Morse Code for her communication and access.  I used some of Tania’s stories with Mac when I started talking to him about morse code – seems there was more for him to learn than I imagined.  Tania has been a great help to us offering advice as we move forward with the morse code option for Mac.

Here’s a news story just after Tania gave birth to her son Michael

And here’s the TandemMaster in action.  We have applied for a Tandem Master for Mac to use at school.  Hopefully it will get approved, in the grand scheme of disability equipment it is on the ‘cheap side’ at less than USD$500.

As many people have proven to me, not the least of them being Mac, anything’s possible.


Filed under Access all Areas, things that make me go "glll"