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.
The yes/no options with switches are working well – very easy to incorporate.
I know it is only a starting point but this is what I learnt from Mac when I asked him about his day…
- His teacher today was Mrs C and his aide was R.
- They didn’t make planes but they did make ships.
- He did some numbers and he knows that seven is bigger than four.
- He also told me that two plus three (2+3) does not equal four, seven or nine but it does equal five.
- 23 is bigger than seven and 32 is not bigger than 43.
- He does not like the yes/no buttons but he does love them.
- He doesn’t want anything to drink nor does he want anything to eat, but he does want the TV on.
He was consistently pressing the buttons with his feet and because I tend to watch his face, his expressions as I read them were matching his foot answers. I know all except whether they did numbers today were appropriate answers.
The benefit of the physical answers with the switches is that it tends to keep you engaged for a little longer regardless of whether the answers are right or wrong. This is way more than I would ever have managed to drag out of Mac’s cousins when they were his age – but then you don’t tend to ask yes/no questions – maybe we should.
Yesterday in class he was asked by his teacher whether he liked chocolate – she said he used his cheek to quickly hit the yes three times. Still a chocoholic it seems.