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A Teacher's question for her student
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Replies: 2 - Pages: [1] - Last reply: 2021-04-04 22:18:42 - By: Maura Silverman
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(Member)

Posts: 2
Registered:
2022-01-01 00:00:00

Hello,

I teach high school biology. Currently I have a student who has nearly no nerve or muscle ability to form speech. She lost the nerve and muscle control on her right side when she was an infant, she is now 16 years old. I have learned to recognize certain intonations and grunting patterns; as have her friends. She earns average grades. She is non-participatory in classroom discussions and group interactions and who would blame her – only a few can understand what she is saying. When I do not understand her she writes it down; she has to use her left hand so it is hard to read. Typing has really helped her communicate at the level of cognition that reflects her real self – but it takes a very long time.

She has little to no use of her right arm and hand; it is pretty much held close and the fingers are useless. She drags her right leg around but it does flex at the hip and hold her weight so she gets around with any assistive device.

Here is my question: What skills or techniques can I build into my classroom experience that will help her in life after high school? So far she remains cheerful and accepts whatever accommodations are made for her. She has been in the same community and school since kindergarten, so many who are around her just “know” how to help out as needed. Whether it is making a microscope slide, holding a test tube and removing the cap, typing in the computer lab, holding her books….but, as she gets older her parents are asking, as am I – what will happen to her? What can she “do” in college, work and independent living?

There must be assistive devices… or a sign language for one armed persons…or a device that can speak for her, if she types it in…there just has to be something out there for such beautiful young woman…on her behalf, I am searching for hope.

Most sincerely,

A Concerned Teacher

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Maura Silverman
(Member)

Posts: 48
Registered:
2021-04-26 00:03:56

>Hello,

I teach high school biology. Currently
>I have a student who has nearly no nerve or
>muscle ability to form speech. She lost the
>nerve and muscle control on her right side when
>she was an infant, she is now 16 years old. I
>have learned to recognize certain intonations and
>grunting patterns; as have her friends. She
>earns average grades. She is non-participatory
>in classroom discussions and group interactions
>and who would blame her – only a few can
>understand what she is saying. When I do not
>understand her she writes it down; she has to use
>her left hand so it is hard to read. Typing has
>really helped her communicate at the level of
>cognition that reflects her real self – but it
>takes a very long time.

She has little to no
>use of her right arm and hand; it is pretty much
>held close and the fingers are useless. She
>drags her right leg around but it does flex at
>the hip and hold her weight so she gets around
>with any assistive device.

Here is my
>question: What skills or techniques can I build
>into my classroom experience that will help her
>in life after high school? So far she remains
>cheerful and accepts whatever accommodations are
>made for her. She has been in the same
>community and school since kindergarten, so many
>who are around her just “know” how to help out as
>needed. Whether it is making a microscope slide,
>holding a test tube and removing the cap, typing
>in the computer lab, holding her books….but, as
>she gets older her parents are asking, as am I –
>what will happen to her? What can she “do” in
>college, work and independent living?

There
>must be assistive devices… or a sign language for
>one armed persons…or a device that can speak for
>her, if she types it in…there just has to be
>something out there for such beautiful young
>woman…on her behalf, I am searching for
>hope.

Most sincerely,

A Concerned Teacher

Dear Concerned Teacher,
I am impressed, as I am sure all that read this are…with your compassion and attempts to offer assistance this this young lady. Know that there has been considerable advancements ( and there continues to be daily!!) for individuals who have motor impairments impacting ADL’s, communication, school and career options. You did not mention where you are located, but there are likely resources nearby that do provide evaluations, planning and trial options for individuals re: assistive technology. I would start with the website for the RERC, which is full of nationwide resources and will refer you to centers in your area. We have a local organization here in NC… the NC Assistive Technology Project that is an amazing resource for all of the things you mentioned in your email/question. I encourage you to see if there is a similar organization in your area.
Barriers to communication as it relates to an individuals life participation goals, allows the speech pathologist a great deal of creative opportunities to help you as well.
More soon.
Maura
Maurs Silverman
[email protected]

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