Inclusion with Fun and Functional Tech (Ep 144)Aug 17, 2022
Special Education technology can be both FUN and FUNCTIONAL! Let me tell you all about Hoglets! It's a computer mouse and a fidget- how fun is that!? Lean in and listen to find out how you can snag a Hoglet for Free!
If you've been following me for a while now, you know that I've spent my summer traveling across the country and working with general education teachers to create more collaborative and inclusive experiences in our school communities. Recently, I asked a room of about 300 gen ed teachers, "When was the last time you were involved in an assistive technology evaluation in the last school year?" Three. Three teachers raised their hands. That's not enough. We have to work together — parents, teachers, admin, and therapists — to make sure that we're using technology to provide appropriate education and prepare students for further education, employment, and independent living.
At our VIP Weekend last month, Master IEP Coaches® got an awesome opportunity to take home some Hoglets for their families and students. One coach recently posted a picture of her son holding a bright blue Hoglet with the caption, "Can't wait to bring the Hoglet to his friend's house for gaming!" How awesome that this assistive technology allows her student to have his fidget needs to be supported, and he has inclusive activities to participate in!
Technology has really made a difference in making sure that students have inclusive opportunities inside the classroom. I had the opportunity to shadow a student in Kentucky once who was having issues using his communication device in a particular classroom. Once I saw him in the classroom setting, I realized that this student didn't have a Chromebook like his peers in his general education inclusion classroom, and that was the reason he was refusing to use his communication device. Good for him! He saw that he wasn't getting the level of support that he needed and shut down. Getting him a Chromebook wasn't an immediate fix, but it was a turning point in his inclusion journey. As a special education team, we have to be looking for these opportunities to make sure that our students are included AND supported throughout their entire school day.
Let's look back at this same child's communication device. Who in his inclusion classroom knew how to use it? Who could use that device to have a conversation with the child? The paraprofessional did, but not the teacher. How is that student expected to learn if he can't have a dialogue with his teacher? His peers also don't know how to use it, so this child is IN the room, but not really included in the community. We have to get training for technology put into our IEPs to make sure that all teachers, staff, and even students in the classroom can communicate with the student using some of their tools. This is key to building relationships with peers. Look for the "Supports for Personnel" section of the IEP to get that training included.
My brother, who is 44 and has Down syndrome, recently moved across the country, but we rely heavily on technology to maintain our relationship despite the distance. Texting, video chatting, sending pictures... it's a simple way for anyone to build and maintain relationships, especially for people with special needs. Technology has taken an enormous leap forward in our education system, but it doesn't always feel that way in Special Education. So we have to be on the lookout for creative ways to incorporate technology for our students with IEPs, like Hoglets. It's so great for students who need that sensory element as well as assistive technology. And don't worry, Moms, they're super easy to clean, too!
Want to win a FREE Hoglet? Follow these easy steps:
- Leave a review for the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast on Apple Podcasts.
- Take a screenshot of your review.
- Email your screenshot to [email protected]
The first 3 people to send in their reviews will win a free Hoglet!
Here's a glance at the episode...
[2:30] "Can't wait to bring the Hoglet to his friend's house for gaming!"
[3:21] "Technology has really made a difference in making sure that students have inclusive opportunities inside the classroom.
[6:03] "We have to get training for technology put into our IEPs to make sure that all teachers, staff, and even students in the classroom can communicate with the student using some of their tools.
*Don't forget to leave a review of the episode on your favorite streaming service. They mean more than you know!
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