I am a paraprofessional currently in charge of a 13 year old boy with Down Syndrome. Our school district is very eager to use technology in all sorts of ways to make learning easier and more engaging for all of our students. We purchased an iPod touch and an iPad for my student last year. Of course, I looked through all of the apps like everyone else, and landed on MyTalk. It grabbed my attention simply because I could customize the photos with pictures from OUR library or OUR cafeteria (who can tell the difference between a stick figure "principal" and a stick figure "secretary"?).
As for specific ways that we've used our app/workspace, I'll give you a few examples. Last year, in 5th grade, the class was required to recite the Preamble to the Constitution. My friend loves the color red. So we made a board under his Social Studies cell that began with the first line of the Preamble. Then flipped to a board with 4 colors. Red gave him the next line of the Preamble and brought up the next board of the same 4 colors, but in a different order. As long as he followed red, he was able to recite the entire Preamble, just like the rest of the class (any other color flipped to an X and a back cell).
I now love the immediate flexibility of the cells just as much! For example, he has a board of things he likes to do during the day, such as "play with legos", "work on the computer", and "read a book". When he has a rough day and misuses his legos, I might put them on a shelf for the rest of the day. This backfired on me with MyTalk because he would just sit and "say", "I want to play with legos. I want to plaly with legos. I want to play with legos." (Ha! Funny guy!) So I grabbed the iPod while he wasn't looking and changed the cell from legos to a large red X with NO SOUND. He was certainly not happy when he saw the option had been removed, but I took the opportunity to tell him that it would be back tomorrow and he could choose something else.
Most recently, we discovered how comfortable he is in our small school. So we decided to push his comfort level and step outside the school. We took a "field trip" to McDonalds. I created a board with 4 choices and yummy looking pictures of McDonalds food. For example, when he touched the "Quarter Pounder" cell, it flipped to a board with "Fries" or "Apple Slices". And from there, to drink choices, ending with a "Thank You" and a home cell (money/paying will follow soon). I was so proud to watch him walk up to the counter and order his own meal! He was thrilled when they gave it to him just like he had asked! Best bonus: just after ordering, Ronald McDonald himself actually came around the corner and hung out with us! We are in a small town so I'm still not really sure how that managed to happen! But we are already excited about our next trip out and very excited to continue finding new ways to let MyTalk work for him.
As if the app wasn't enough, the customer support for this app is amazing. Aside from being knowlegeable about the app and quick in response, it's his passion for the app and for the people that it helps that is clearly evident. I'm attaching a file of a colleague's blog post about our trip. MyTalk obviously highly impressed him as well!
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