Monday, March 2, 2009

Adventures in Juice-making and Routine Building Using Assistive Technology

"This is HUGE!" exclaimed the parents of a middle school boy last Friday as we sat and watched a video of their son using a Big Red switch, Ablenet Powerlink 3 and and a juicer to make pear juice.

The SLP, assistants and myself have been working on getting this boy to be able to learn routines and he gets it! The motivating factor is that he can access practical activities that motivate him. We had to find out what would make him want to follow a routine or use a switch and the first experiment was with music. If you are a regular reader, you may recall my post a few months ago where we had hit a hot button for this boy when he made the connection to use the switch to control a radio and music.

Now after several months, he has learned how to wash hands, wash and dry fruit for a juicer, use a butter knife to cut up the fruit with hand over hand guidance from an adult. He then can put the pieces in the juicer top, press the switch to make the juicer run and push down the pestel pusher on the top of the juicer to feed the fruit through - all at the same time!

As we sat on chairs in front of the media cart in an alcove at the middle school, the parents watched the process. They were thrilled to see him make such progress over the past months. He is moving to a new residential community next month that is associated with a local university special ed program. He will receive top notch care and guided activities. The staff wants a video of his work and the tools we are using so they can continue building on this new skill set being developed. We are sending this student on into good hands!

It is so great when you feel that success of seeing AT and practical application take hold and make a difference for kids.

All the best to you!


Lon Thornburg is an assistive technology specialist and professional development trainer who lives in Oregon and serves 12 districts in 7 counties. He hosts the No Limits 2 Learning Blog and The No Limits 2 Learning Live Talk Show on Blog Talk Radio. He is sharing as a contributing writer on LD LIVE!

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